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Air Chicago Plans To Take On UA/AA/WN In Battle For Business Travelers

Air Chicago Plans To Take On UA/AA/WN In Battle For Business Travelers

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Old Mar 30, 18, 10:43 am
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Air Chicago Plans To Take On UA/AA/WN In Battle For Business Travelers

Just saw this - and since they are targeting in large part UA and ORD, it seems like this is the most relevant place.

AirChicago is offering a Jet Card that provides single and guest seats on private jets with plans to fly to 30 cities using Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets with 14 executive seats instead of the typical 50 seats...

AirChicago wants to grow its network to 30 of the most traveled routes from Chicago and then replicate the model in other cities. “It’s scalable. I can see an Air New York or Air Miami,” says Stephen G. Wasko, the president and COO. The enterprise is the vision of its chairman, Captain David Koch, a former United pilot and aerospace journalist. By the fall Wasko expects flights to be operated by its own fleet of Bombardier CRJ200s, which regional airlines cram with 50 seats. AirChicago’s version will feature an executive configuration with 14 seats, two pilots, two flight attendants, WiFi and full meal and drink service. An app, in development, will enable members to order airport transfers, book flights with AirChicago and book commercial flights as well. Initially, flights will use private jets sourced on the Part 135 charter market.

Prices for AirChicago’s four Jet Card membership options:

Prime Jet Card

  • For people who take 3+ trips per month
  • Annual membership: $14,000
  • Minimum monthly seat hour purchase: First 14 hours at $499 with additional hours at a 95% discount
  • Bring guests at $499 per seat hour

Preferred Jet Card

  • For people who take 2-3 roundtrips per month
  • Annual membership: $7,000
  • Minimum monthly seat hour purchase: 7 hours at $499 per seat hour
  • 48% discount on additional seat hours
  • Bring guests at $99-$749 per seat hour

Select Jet Card

  • For people who take 1-2 roundtrips per month
  • Annual membership: $3,500
  • Minimum monthly seat hour purchase: 4 at $499 per seat hour
  • 27% discount on additional seat hours
  • Bring guests at $499-$829 per seat hour

Essential Jet Card

  • For people who take 1 or less roundtrips per month
  • Annual membership: $1,750
  • No minimum monthly seat hour purchase
  • No discount on program seat hours
  • Bring guests at $999 per seat hour

Source - Private Jet Card Comparisons

https://privatejetcardcomparisons.co...nch/#more-9435
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Old Mar 30, 18, 11:06 am
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This in no meaningful way will complete with UA.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 11:14 am
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And they're flying out of Wheeling.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 1:56 pm
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Smells a lot like Atlantic Coast breaking off into Independence Air, but with a more comfortable configuration on their CRJs.

(Tongue firmly planted into cheek).
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Old Mar 30, 18, 2:18 pm
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Well, I just did the math based on my historical business flight patterns and hours. I don't live in ORD, but it was interesting.

I'd be a "preferred jet card" client based on their summary. Is it worth if financially ? It's about the same price as flying business class in UAL from my "back of the napkin" calculations, so I wouldn't bother to do it if I did live there. I'd stick with UAL.

Truth be told, they lost me when I read the part that said..........Bombardier CRJ200.
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Last edited by KDS777; Mar 30, 18 at 4:10 pm
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Old Mar 30, 18, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by KDS777 View Post
Truth be told, they lost me when I read the part that said..........Bombardier CRJ200.
14 seat config, like you'd find on a comparably sized bizjet.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
14 seat config, like you'd find on a comparably sized bizjet.
While I've never flown on a Biz/VIP-configured CR2, the CR2 cabin is just so structurally uncomfortable it could be a 1 seat config and you still couldn't pay me enough to take it if there were literally any other options. (for me the biggest issues are window belt placement and window size -- I end every flight on a CRJ-200 with a massive crick in my neck from contorting myself to see out through the tiny window... and wishing there was an airport chiropractor.

Literally every other aircraft I've set foot on - from a Fairchild Metro III, CR7. B732/3/5/G/8/9, and A3X through the MD-11 Flying Eye hospital and 788/9 has had a more enjoyable/comfortable experience than any CRJ-200.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 3:02 pm
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The CRJ200 'executive shuttle' conversion looks like this:



Pretty nice, and I don't doubt there is a market for it. The concept can never compete with airline schedules or flexibility, but there is definitely a cohort of travelers who are willing to forego the frequency for greater convenience, comfort and delay avoidance. It will be interesting to see if this catches on.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 3:09 pm
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I might've missed it, where did it say it was targeting UA?
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Old Mar 30, 18, 3:12 pm
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
The CRJ200 'executive shuttle' conversion looks like this:



Pretty nice, and I don't doubt there is a market for it. The concept can never compete with airline schedules or flexibility, but there is definitely a cohort of travelers who are willing to forego the frequency for greater convenience, comfort and delay avoidance. It will be interesting to see if this catches on.
It may be an optical illusion, but that looks like they lowered the floor at least a foot. Presumably that cuts into cargo space, although with only 1/3 the number of passengers, that may be a reasonable tradeoff.

Still, I'd get Bombardier to retroactively market that configuration as a "Canadair Business Jet" or something. They've got to know that passenger opinions of the CRJ-200 are almost universally negative.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer
I might've missed it, where did it say it was targeting UA?
It's inferred as ORD is a UAL hub......that's all.

Originally Posted by EWR764
It will be interesting to see if this catches on.
An airline here in Canada tried an all business configuration and it folded up rather quickly IIRC. There is a market for everything, but maybe the price point or service does not align here for it to work.

Last edited by KDS777; Mar 30, 18 at 4:16 pm
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Old Mar 30, 18, 4:36 pm
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I really have to ask if the OP did the math for the Prime Jet card. That's a $98K a year commitment for 3 1/2 two-hour trips in a CRJ (oh, CHI-DCA or CHI-ATL) per month. Insane.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
I really have to ask if the OP did the math for the Prime Jet card. That's a $98K a year commitment for 3 1/2 two-hour trips in a CRJ (oh, CHI-DCA or CHI-ATL) per month. Insane.

The way I read it - 14k per year + 7k per month (for 14 hours of flying) x 12 = 98k for 168 hours (14 hours per month x 12 months) of flying, so $583 per flight hour -- For a 2 hour flight, a bit less than $1,200, for 3 hours, just under $1,800. It definitely is more than i pay for typical one-way F fares. RT to NY would be around 2k i suppose. Im seeing a lot of same day RT F on UA, DL and AA for $500-$750, so 3-4x discounted F fares.

I suppose it will depend on the schedules. I would see quite a bit of value getting to the airport at 7am for a 715am flight as opposed to 6-615am, however, it is a pretty big premium. I think the idea is it is cheaper than chartering an entire plane.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
While I've never flown on a Biz/VIP-configured CR2, the CR2 cabin is just so structurally uncomfortable it could be a 1 seat config and you still couldn't pay me enough to take it if there were literally any other options. (for me the biggest issues are window belt placement and window size -- I end every flight on a CRJ-200 with a massive crick in my neck from contorting myself to see out through the tiny window... and wishing there was an airport chiropractor.
People on those Air Chicago flights are probably more likely to stare at Windows than out of windows.

Last edited by notquiteaff; Mar 30, 18 at 5:21 pm
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Old Mar 30, 18, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I might've missed it, where did it say it was targeting UA?
https://privatejetcardcomparisons.co...nch/#more-9435

(link from the OP)

Move over United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Here comes AirChicago, and it’s targeting those business travelers you and the TSA have helped alienate with tighter seats, rude service, nickel and dime fees and of course the hassles of transiting the commercial terminals of O’Hare and Midway.
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