Rules that limit the size of gatherings are imposed at the city, state, or national level – and don’t apply to the sky. So if it’s illegal to gather with 20 or 40 of your closest friends because of the global pandemic, why not hold your get together in the sky?
Not only is it a way to hold events that’s legal in places that restrict getting together with those outside your immediate household due to Covid-19, but it’s also a way to look after the safety of your guests and reduce the likelihood of spread.
Planes with HEPA air filtration are one of the safest indoor environments possible, plus air flow from ceiling to the floor. It’s far less likely for someone to spread the virus on most planes than it is inside of a restaurant other other gathering place on the ground. Not all small aircraft have HEPA filtration (though American Airlines is in the process of adding it to their small ERJ-145 regional jets) so you want to find out whether any given aircraft you might consider for an event has it.
One company is offering wedding packages on board private planes. For $28,000 they offer:
- 2 hour flight on a Challenger 850 for up to 16 guests
- Pre-arranged route to fly over “areas of significance to those who are celebrating their marriage”
- Food and beverages, canapes and personalized wedding favors
- roundtrip chauffeur service for the wedding couple
- crewmember to officiate
- in-flight music playlist
There’s also a budget package for eloping at $18,000 on a smaller plane like a Cessna Citation CJ2.
The pricing here seems too high, though perhaps private jet travel has gotten more expensive during the pandemic than I realize. My mental model in very round numbers is chartering a very small plane for around $3000 an hour, maybe $6000 an hour for a mid-size private jet, and maybe $10,000 an hour for a large private plane. So this seems to be not just ‘chartering a plane and having people come on board’ plus the cost of catering. Still, it’s not crazy.