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Private plane flights not just for celebrities anymore as consumers seek to avoid airport aggravation
January 12, 2011
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  • By Philip Potempa

    January 10, 2011

    Inefficiency by commercial airlines costs our country about $32.9 billion a year, according to a study conducted jointly by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley, University of Maryland, George Mason University and Virginia Tech and MIT.

    I’ve always found it interesting which celebrities over the years opted to avoid major airports and commercial airliners while traveling to appear at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.

    While in recent years, large tour buses have become the norm, it wasn’t uncommon for performers such as Bob Hope, Roy Clark and John Denver to fly in small private planes and land at the Porter County Airport in Valparaiso to avoid the hassle of Chicago as a commercial airline destination.

    If you’ve ever been past the tiny Porter County Airport off U.S. 30, than you can understand how much easier it would be to arrive on that landing strip and step out of a small plane and into a waiting limousine for transport to the theater, just 20 minutes away.

    Of course, Clark and Denver’s back-up bands and Les Brown and his orchestra that performed with Hope, would still travel by commercial airline or bus and just meet at the theater.

    I recently received an interesting media alert explaining how more and more “everyday folks” and businessmen are turning to private airline travel to avoid the security scrutiny and long lines at large commercial airports.

    Among the leader in this venture is Avantair, a fractional ownership private airline.

    As the concept is explained to me, becoming a fractional owner especially makes sense for people who typically fly first class or companies that fly their employees first class, since the difference in price is marginal, and it’s much more luxurious to fly private as opposed to waiting in long security lines, luggage hassles and the like.

    After all, there’s a reason Oprah Winfrey keeps her own personal private plane on “standby” at one of the smaller hangars at Midway Airport in Chicago.

    As for Avantair, this service flies to 5,000 destinations, and many of these airports are places where commercial airlines can’t fly because commercial jets are too large.

    And yep, Porter County Airport and Lansing Airport are ideal examples of airports that are the perfect fit for this Avantair service.

    So according to what I’m told, this option is great for people who don’t want to show up at an airport two or more hours ahead of their flight.

    Essentially, it’s the luxury of being able to show up “five minutes before take-off.”

    The pricing is dependent on which membership a person or business chooses.

    Avantair is also the exclusive provider of the Piaggio Avanti aircraft, which boasts a whisper-soft engine and luxurious interior, along with having the lowest fuel surcharge in the flying industry, a remarkable 60 percent less than light business jets, so it passes on its savings to its customers.

    And by becoming a fractional owner, the cost is said to be significantly lower since guests only pay for flight hours based on the individual membership program.

    Avantair, tagged as the exclusive North American fleet provider of private flight hours, is a publicly-traded fractional ownership airline. Using the oxymoron motto “Frugal Luxury,” it promises “the lifestyle of the rich to more people by keeping an eye on costs.”

    For complete details and price points, visit

    THE TIMES (Munster-Hammond-Merrillville-Valparaiso, Ind.) 2011-01-10false