The Fleet Clubs, a collection of boutique flying memberships, is introducing New York Fleet Club, their newest route between the Signature Aviation private terminal at Miami International Airport and Long Island International Airport in Islip, New York, which is convenient to the Hamptons.
The plan is to provide 200 members and their guests exclusive access to custom-configured Boeing 737s. Annual membership packages begin at $50,000 for 20 roundtrips. The offering is designed for private flyers seeking a more environmentally responsible, reliable and sensibly priced way to travel between South Florida and New York.
But private aviation is a tough business to get off the ground (pardon the pun), and though the Miami-to-New York launch had been planned for December 2022, the debut has been delayed until the summer of 2024. Likewise, other than offering service for a few special events, such as the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June, the company’s flights between Miami and Vail, Colorado have been pushed back nearly a year, to November 2023, for the ski season. The club has contracted to use GlobalX’s as its operator before introducing its own aircraft—but that’s several years out. GlobalX’s planes feature full leather seats in a two-by-two first-class configuration.
Once the program matures—it may take a few years—New York Fleet Club will fly on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and holidays. Flight passes can be used by members and their guests, who can fly unaccompanied. Members will enjoy benefits like same-day booking, no cancellation fees, valet and off-site car storage. The Fleet is pet-friendly; animals are permitted to fly onboard.
“I am the foremost expert in the niche field of private flying clubs and have been operating two similar programs on the West Coast for 15 years,” says Michele Sullivan, co-founder of the Fleet Clubs. “I have arranged more than 1,700 private 737 flights—all without a single cancellation. After years considering where to bring the program next, we decided the South Florida-to-New York was our ideal East Coast market, as it is the most trafficked private jet gateway in the world.”
Fleet Clubs co-founder and CEO Bernard Schwartz, who divides his time between Miami Beach, Manhattan and the Hamptons, emphasizes the elite aspect and white-glove service of the members-only flying club: “Our bespoke 737s offer the zenith of shared private travel both in personal space and in-flight service. From Loro Piana bedding to cut crystal glassware, ours is the finest service in the sky,” he says. “We have the highest crew-to-guest ratio in aviation.”
Schwartz is also co-founder of APICII, a national hospitality management and development company with more than 1000 employees. APICII is involved in dozens of private clubs, luxury hotels and residences. Notable projects include the Setai, 432 Park Avenue, the Bath Club, St. Regis and the Montage.
He adds that many members already own their own private plans, in which case the Fleet Clubs will function as a back-up mode of transport when members’ own aircraft are being serviced. In-flight services will include specialty meal planning, rare produce and alcohol procurement and an array of partnerships, including LVMH wines and spirits. “We have [other] different partnerships we’ll be announcing, specific to the food and beverage,” Schwartz says.