Flying private for luxury U.S. travelers is a common practice when looking for more ownership over the flight process—whether you’re after an expedited check-in and security process, heightened hygiene measures, or a way to fly direct to an out-of-the-way destination. We surveyed five private aviation companies, some of whom offer private jet memberships cards, others that facilitate one-off charters, to see where U.S. travelers were flying. Across the board, whether the companies service international markets or specialize in domestic flights, U.S. private jet travelers most often fly within the 50 states or to nearby international destinations in search of warmer weather. While, conceivably, COVID-related travel restrictions are influencing the 2020 data—fewer travelers are visiting Europe in summer 2020, for example—these stats aren’t far off from previous years, because jet travelers tend to fly private in a closer radius and first-class when heading to Europe or Asia. All this to say, here are the most popular routes for U.S. private jet travelers:
Aspen is one of the top three private jet destinations for most aviation companies we spoke to. Across the board, both this summer and in previous years, Aspen is a top getaway for those flying private. Sentient Jet, which reported Aspen as it’s top destination, says the most popular flight patterns are flights from Miami or Houston to Aspen. And NetJets reports that flights to Aspen are primarily personal travel (65%) rather than business travel. While Aspen is the most popular Colorado destination, especially for travelers from the southeast and west coast, Eagle and Denver are also top private jet destinations in Colorado.
Sentient Jet reports Nantucket as its fifth most popular private jet destination—with passengers typically coming from Florida or the Washington D.C. area. It ranks fourth for NetJets and in Tradewind Aviation’s top three most popular destinations. Per NetJets’ data, those traveling to Nantucket do so primarily for pleasure rather than business. In addition to the allure of Nantucket, private fliers travel to Martha’s Vineyard regularly as well—Tradewind Aviation and Air Partner found the Vineyard to be an equally popular summer travel market for the private aviation industry.
Los Cabos, Mexico
For jet companies working with primarily American travelers but who fly internationally, Mexico and the Caribbean are top destinations by virtue of proximity. Air Partner says San José del Cabo is among the top hubs for private jet travelers, while NetJets reports Cabo San Lucas as its fourth most popular international flight destination. Los Cabos (which encompasses San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas) is one of the easiest private and commercial flights for west coast luxury travelers. The other top private jet destinations in Mexico are Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.
West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach is an iconic private jet destination—it is the most flown to destination for NetJets. In terms of travel patterns, Set Jet reports that New York City to West Palm Beach is extremely popular. And Sentient Jet reports that northeast to southeast flights are their single most popular migration pattern. West Palm is a leisure destination for luxury travelers—most private fliers make the trip for pleasure over business.
Travelers from southern California regularly head to Scottsdale, Arizona. Sentient Jet ranks southern California to Scottsdale as their second most popular flight pattern. And NetJets, who cite Scottsdale as their 10th most popular U.S. flight destination, reports that 50% of travelers go for pleasure compared to 17% making the trip for business.
The Bahamas, Caribbean
A leading hotspot for east coast travelers looking for a quick international escape, The Bahamas (specifically, Exumas and Nassau) are a top private aviation destination. NetJets most popular international route is to Nassau, and Air Partner reports private jets are frequently heading to the Bahamas this summer, and called out Fowl Cay and Exumas as top destinations.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Set Jet reports flights from the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas are among the most popular private and commercial flights. And NetJets reports Vegas as a crucial private jet destination also. As migration patterns go, the west coast luxury travelers often tend to stay closer to their coast, opting to fly private to places like Cabo San Lucas, Las Vegas, and Colorado, rather than all the way back to New York City.
Among other non-Bahamian Caribbean destinations, Bermuda and St. Barths take the cake for private jet travelers. After Nassau, Bermuda is NetJets’ top international flight destination. And Tradewind Aviation says St. Barths is among their top three destinations—both among their foreign and domestic routes. Beyond The Bahamas and St. Barths, St. John, St. Maarten, and St. Croix are also top Caribbean destinations for U.S. private jet travelers, according to data from NetJets and Air Partner.