For frequent flyers who'd like to feel wealthy for a day, Delta's got a new upgrade that will cost the shirts off their backs yet still feel like a pretty big bang for the buck. For $300 to $800 a flight, "high-value customers" who've achieved elite or "medallion" status in Delta’s SkyMiles frequent-flyer program will be able to upgrade not to first class, but to a private jet. Though the initial number of said upgrades will be small and only available on select flights mainly in and out of East Coast hubs, the decision to merge some of its commercial traffic to its 66-aircraft private jet unit is a "groundbreaking" move, a Delta Private Jets VP tells Bloomberg. "Nobody else can do what we’re talking about."
The move comes at a time when airlines are looking for creative ways to improve their bottom line. It's no surprise that Delta is targeting corporate travelers who spend at least $3,000 and fly at least 25,000 miles or 30 segments annually; these customers tend to be less price-conscious, and the move helps minimize the number of so-called "empty legs," when a jet has to reach a specific location sans passengers, while also promoting a premium brand image and giving those who might be able to afford it a taste of private travel, reports USA Today. While details are still being sorted out, the upgrade option could be available as soon as tomorrow. (Apparently some wealthy kids now get to summer camp by private jet.)