The writer flew as a visitor of the airline on a flight that will have in any other case price $950 one-way. Nonetheless, the writer’s opinions are his personal and this text hasn’t been reviewed or authorised by Aero.
Between crowded airports and decreased airline service, it is not shocking that passengers are searching for a greater strategy to fly. Nonetheless, as anybody who’s seemed into reserving personal flights has discovered, flying personal might be exorbitantly costly.
Enter a Goldilocks center floor: flying semiprivate.
Over the previous few years, a number of startup airways have popped as much as supply flyers the chance to keep away from most of the hassles of flying commercially with out the upper price of flying personal.
One of many newer entrants into this house is Aero. After debuting in Europe in 2020, this public constitution airline launched U.S. flights in February 2021. So, I took a flight on Aero from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to see what the expertise was actually like.
Here is what it’s good to find out about flying semiprivate on Aero.
The place Aero flies
Aero’s U.S. operations presently focus on its hub in Los Angeles, however you will not be flying in or out of LAX. As an alternative, Aero operates out of Van Nuys airport — a public airport positioned within the San Fernando Valley about 20 miles northwest of downtown LA.
From Van Nuys, Aero presently operates scheduled flights to:
Tickets on most routes begin at $1,000 every manner. The one exception is Los Cabos, for which one-way tickets begin at $1,950 every manner. Nonetheless, costs can fluctuate with demand. On widespread routes — corresponding to Los Angeles to Aspen — fares had been practically double the beginning worth final time we checked.
The airline is open to increasing its route choices and is popping to passengers for suggestions, as flights out of Los Angeles are restricted. The airline additionally does not permit passengers to e book connecting flights. So, if you wish to fly from Aspen to Las Vegas for instance — as one of many passengers on my flight did — you must e book two separate one-way fares. But when the curiosity is there, Aero might add these routes sooner or later.
Aero’s European operations differ by season. Earlier summer time routes included flights between London; Ibiza, Spain; Mykonos, Greece, and Good, France. For winter 2021/2022, Aero will function three routes from its base at London’s Farnborough Airport to:
One-way fares on these routes begin round $1,600 — or £1,200 — per particular person. European flights work a bit in a different way from Aero’s U.S. flights. As an alternative of working scheduled flights, Aero requires no less than two passengers to e book the flight to function it. Aero calls this the “threshold to fly.”
Variations between Aero plane
Aero makes use of two forms of plane: Embraer ERJ135 and Embraer Legacy 600. Though comparable wanting on the surface, the interiors are fairly completely different. Aero’s ERJ135 jets have 16 all-forward-facing seats throughout eight rows of 1-to-1 seating. Meaning everybody will get each an aisle seat and a window seat.
The Embraer Legacy 600 plane have simply 12 seats. Fewer seats might sound even higher, however these plane are higher suited to teams than solo vacationers. Moderately than having all-forward-facing seats, the Legacy 600 plane have seats that face one another, together with a conference-style desk with 4 seats.
What it is wish to fly semiprivate on Aero
Here is my full Aero flight evaluate.
The expertise started earlier than arriving on the airport. Every week earlier than departure, I obtained an electronic mail from Aero’s concierge crew providing assist in arranging transportation and helping with any questions or requests. Passengers can use this chance to request a favourite snack or drink be out there onboard.
Due to the notorious Los Angeles site visitors, I arrived on the Van Nuys airport “solely” 46 minutes earlier than departure. That will be an anxiety-inducing airport arrival time when flying any industrial airline. Nonetheless, this was greater than sufficient time to verify in for this semiprivate flight. In actual fact, Aero’s cutoff time for check-in is simply 20 minutes earlier than departure on home flights.
The pleasant brokers greeted me on the door of the Signature Flight Assist terminal constructing. The brokers checked my ID, weighed my carry-on bag and requested if I had any hazardous supplies. That was the complete extent of the check-in and safety course of.
Simply three minutes after arriving on the airport, I stepped into Aero’s lounge. The underwhelming lounge consisted of a room with chairs, a TV and wonderful views of the airfield.
Whereas passengers had entry to the self-serve espresso-based espresso machine, there have been no different drinks or snacks within the Aero lounge. There have been, nonetheless, well-stocked loos.
Aero’s baggage coverage is determined by the kind of plane that you simply’re flying. On Aero’s ERJ135 plane, passengers can verify as much as two luggage weighing as much as 50 kilos every. Plus, you may carry a small carry-on bag weighing as much as 20 kilos that should match beneath the seat in entrance of you (13 inches x 13 inches x 10 inches).
On Aero’s Legacy 600 plane, passengers can solely verify one bag weighing as much as 50 kilos. You may also carry a carry-on bag of as much as 20 kilos. Nonetheless, as there is no cupboard space beneath the seat or overhead, the crew might want to stow your bag for takeoff and touchdown.
Aero accepts odd-sized checked baggage — whether or not it is skis, golf golf equipment or bikes. The one restrictions are that the merchandise must be positioned inside a bag and have to be beneath the burden restrict. Simply make certain to contact your Aero concierge forward of the flight to allow them to know what you are bringing.
Round quarter-hour earlier than our scheduled departure, our flight’s captain stepped into the lounge to introduce himself to the passengers. He famous that the flight would solely take 40 minutes, however there would possible be delays as a consequence of air site visitors congestion in Las Vegas.
Mere minutes later, Aero brokers invited us to begin boarding the Aero ERJ135 plane. Aero airport brokers individually escorted passengers for the quick stroll to the airplane, the place the flight attendant warmly welcomed passengers beginning on the boarding door.
At my assigned seat A1 — notably not 1A — Aero left a private handwritten be aware welcoming me onboard. Earlier than the opposite three passengers boarded, I sneaked a peek on the notes left on their seats. Positive sufficient, every supplied a unique personalised message. Subsequent to every letter was a field with splendidly scented hand sanitizer.
Seating onboard Aero’s ERJ135 plane
On Aero’s ERJ135 plane, all seats are equivalent leather-based seats, every with an influence outlet on the plane wall. The tray desk folds out from one armrest, whereas the opposite armrest serves as a mini storage compartment.
Every seat reclines to a quite extraordinary diploma. On an empty flight, this recline might make for a superb strategy to nap. However on a full flight, this recline might turn into problematic with the passenger behind you.
Aero plane haven’t got overhead bins, so passengers should stow any carry-on luggage beneath the seat in entrance of them. Sadly, the seat’s bodily help system minimizes the under-seat cupboard space, which means you are solely going to have the ability to match a smaller bag.
As I used to be sitting within the entrance row, I could not retailer my bag beneath a seat in entrance of me. For the reason that flight was solely one-quarter full, I reached round and slid my bag beneath my seat. However, the flight attendant famous that she might retailer my bag elsewhere within the case of a full flight.
As passengers settled in, the flight attendant supplied a glass of champagne earlier than departure. And this was no low-cost bottle of glowing wine: The $50-plus Louis Roederer Assortment 242 — served in a stemless champagne glass — set an opulent tone.
As we departed, I explored the varied drink menu left within the seatback. From kombucha and sake to 6 forms of wines and cocktails, Aero gives a powerful choice of drinks onboard.
As with the pre-departure champagne, all drinks had been served in actual glassware.
In comparison with the advantageous wines and spirits, the basket of packaged snacks felt rather less refined. Nonetheless, a small snack was greater than sufficient for this quick flight to Las Vegas.
Regardless of the warning of a possible late arrival, we arrived a couple of minutes earlier than the scheduled arrival time. The pilots taxied and parked the plane at Atlantic Aviation — which is about as near the Las Vegas Strip as you will get.
Passengers might gather their checked luggage proper from the again of the airplane. However, Aero brokers had been available to escort passengers and assist carry luggage the quick distance to the polished Atlantic Aviation terminal constructing. The brokers supplied to assist coordinate a experience for me, however we had been so near my resort room on the MGM Grand that I opted simply to stroll.
Different issues to find out about flying Aero
Free modifications and cancellations: You can also make free modifications or cancellations to flights greater than 48 hours earlier than departure — you simply have to pay any fare distinction. Should you change to a less expensive flight, you will both get a refund or flight credit score for the worth drop. Inside 48 hours of departure, Aero expenses a $300 change charge plus the fare distinction.
No Wi-Fi or leisure: Make sure that to carry studying materials or digital leisure, as Aero does not have any Wi-Fi or in-flight leisure.
Verify-in instances differ by vacation spot: For home flights, Aero passengers solely have to verify in on the airport no less than 20 minutes earlier than departure. Nonetheless, you will have to arrive 90 minutes earlier than departure for U.S. worldwide flights and 60 minutes earlier than departure for Aero’s European routes.
No loyalty program: Sadly, you may’t earn or redeem factors or miles for flights on Aero.
Pet charges: Aero expenses a $300 pet care cost for carry-on pets. Pets have to be beneath 20 kilos and match within the seat in entrance of you.
Should you’re contemplating flying Aero
Aero is certainly one of a number of public constitution airways providing an alternative choice to the hassles of flying industrial and the excessive price of flying personal. Advantages of flying semiprivate embody having the ability to arrive on the airport shortly earlier than arrival, minimal safety screenings and a a lot faster arrival course of.
Aero expenses a lot greater fares than a few of its opponents, however it’s clearly offering a superior expertise. Passengers get concierge providers earlier than and after their flight, together with the power to make particular requests for drinks or snacks for the flight. And Aero serves all kinds of high-quality drinks onboard, with good touches like actual glassware. Onboard, these airways supply rather more house and higher service than you will typically discover even in top quality on industrial airways.
High photograph courtesy of JT Genter.
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