Photo Credit: Flexjet
For thousands of people heading to Super Bowl 50, the only way to fly to the San Francisco Bay Area is private. It’s estimated that 1,200 private jets will bring people to the region for the festivities and Sunday’s NFL championship game between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. We caught up with Megan Wolf, Vice President of Owner Services for Flexjet to talk private jets as they relate to Super Bowl 50. This marks the 16th Super Bowl she’s managed for Flexjet.
Are more private jets heading to the Bay Area for the game originating in Denver or Charlotte or other markets?
We see a handful of flights coming from both the Denver and Charlotte markets, but there is no clear leader at this time among the AFC and NFC champion’s cities.
Our strongest demand is coming from Southern California markets followed by cities in the Midwest as well as Florida.
How have the catering requests changed for people flying to the Bay Area for the game?
The onboard catering requests for this weekend are trending as normal. This is a leisure and corporate entertainment trip for many so we do see special requests for particular types of beer, wine and liquors. On arrival, we will be greeting our owners with ‘spirited coffee’ much like the Irish coffee made famous at San Francisco’s Buena Vista Café. After the game, we will send our owners home with a care package to aid in their post-game recovery. Many of our passengers enjoy the benefit of departing immediately after the game – our goal is to help them arrive refreshed and relaxed at the office the next day.
What special services and accommodations is Flexjet making for the influx of fans arriving at Bay Area airports?
The beauty of this region is that there are nine airports within a 50 nautical mile range of the stadium that are accessible by private jet. So, this area is one of the best prepared for the Super Bowl influx we have ever experienced. Our playbook this year is to have small response teams at the multiple locations where our owner’s travel might take them. Given the diversity of the region, travel is even ranging may even range to Monterrey and Napa. This is in contrast to years past, where activity was primarily centered on one main airport. Our goal is to make the arrival and departure as seamless as possible despite the heavy volume of jet traffic. Our on-site team confirms ground transportation and handling in advance of an owner arrival and on departure helps connect the passengers with crew members to board within minutes of arrival. This personal attention provides our owners with the ability to maximize their schedule that is unique to private jet travel.
How has private jet travel to the Super Bowl increased over the years?
We are seeing heavy volume into the Bay Area for this year’s game, equal to and likely surpassing last year’s activity when it was held in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. Year-round, the San Francisco Bay area is one of the top 10 destinations for our owners. Keep in mind that many of our owners book with as little as 10 hours lead time, so we expect this number to jump even higher in the coming days. That is one of the perks of flying privately. If you decide to go at the last minute, we still can get you to the game. The setting lends itself to a great mix of business and leisure travel for owners, given the game’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley, with its close proximity to downtown San Francisco and nearby leisure destinations such as Pebble Beach to the south and the Napa/Sonoma Valleys to the north. We see a significant increase like this in flight activity any time a host region can offer Flexjet Owners, their businesses and their family/friends more to experience than just the game itself.
Why is the Super Bowl such a huge draw for the private jet set?
It’s the place to be, and we expect to see a roughly equal split between business and leisure travel. When the Super Bowl is in a warm-weather location, people tend to do a lot more flying in and out the week leading up to and a few days following the actual game, since there is a propensity by owners to build more of a trip around it, be it for business, leisure or a mix of both. Typically, Super Bowl weekend is the single biggest event-driven travel weekend of the year for private jets after The Masters, which remains our busiest.
Which of your aircraft is most popular among Super Bowl attendees?
Given this year’s game is costal, nonstop range is very important, especially from owners coming from the eastern seaboard. In addition, a comfortable seating capacity is also very important as group travel is very common for private jet travel to the Super Bowl. So, our most popular jets this weekend will be those with trans-continental range and generous interiors including the Bombardier Challenger 300 and 350 as well as our Gulfstream G450 and even Bombardier Global Express.
How will this increase in activity affect the local Bay Area economy?
Warmer-weather host cities generally result in our customers staying for longer. When the Super Bowl is held in northern cities, we see many of our owners fly in on Sunday morning and leave right after the game on Sunday night. This year, with the game being played in California, many of our owners are making a vacation trip out of Super Bowl weekend. For example, many are planning to arrive days before the game and stay on after, enjoying what the Bay Area has to offer. Private aviation creates a more significant economic impact for the host city and its businesses when affluent individuals with significant purchasing power stay in the region for longer.
Photo Credit: Flexjet