New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman doesn’t need to fly coach. When you sign a two-year, $11 million contract, you can also afford to sail past business and first class and head to the next level — a private jet.
When Edelman is ready to fly, he ponies up $4,000 (or more) an hour and charters a private jet through Quincy-based Magellan Jets. Think of Magellan as an ultra posh car service for the skies. The company connects customers with private jets that range in price from $3,960 an hour for a standard small jet to $12,800 an hour for a large Gulfstream G450. They can also customize your experience with add-ons. Going to the Super Bowl? They can decorate and cater your flight. Interested in a private jet to the Kentucky Derby? They’ll have the mint juleps ready when you board. Please keep in mind that these extras are not free.
Last year, an injured Edelman chartered through Magellan for his flight to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. The company waived the $28,000 round-trip fare as a goodwill gesture (this year he joined the team on AirKraft). But if you want to fly like Edelman to this year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, all you’ll need is $20,000 for the round-trip flight. You can offset the cost if you have six friends willing to split the bill.
There’s the glamorous celebrity side of Magellan Jets — we’ll get back to that shortly — but according to Anthony Tivnan, cofounder and president, the largest segment of the company’s customers come from the business world.
“A lot of people look at private aviation and they think it’s all Cristal and caviar,” Tivnan said. “But it’s really not the case whatsoever. The ability for a team of executives to get in and out of airports they wouldn’t be able to get through commercially, and also do three, four, or five meetings on a given day saves a lot of headaches. There’s also the privacy factor. They can have meetings and conduct business, so they can maximize their time.”
Tivnan founded the company in 2008 with Joshua Hebert and Gregory Belezerian. According to the luxury travel group Virtuoso, trips chartered through private aviation companies increased 10 percent from 2014 to 2016, and the numbers have continued to climb in the years since. There are also a growing number of jet charter companies which are driving up competition and lowering prices. Lowering, relatively speaking, of course. Magellan added 190 customers in 2018, bringing its total close to 500.
Tivnan stressed that Magellan isn’t simply about arranging flights for people. When individuals buy memberships — which are sold based on blocks of time — the company works with customers to determine what size plane works best and how many hours are necessary for their needs. You can purchase time in blocks ranging from 25 to 200-plus hours. An entry-level membership for a light jet that seats seven starts at $121,000 and can go into the millions depending on the plane size and number of hours.
Magellan doesn’t own the jets. Tivnan said the company works with 90 different management companies that maintain about 2,000 aircraft around the country.
“Our role is to meet with customers and really understand what their needs are,” he said. “We’re not in the airplane management business. What we do is work with customers to make sure that they’re getting the most value on how they are using private aviation.”
Tivnan uses former Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett as an example of how the company tailors experiences.
“When he married his wife Holly, we set up the engagement on the aircraft,” he said. “There were rose petals and there was a teddy bear in the back with the ring. Before they got married, we did his bachelor party. We did a “Hangover”-themed bachelor party, so the movie was playing on the plane and we rented ‘The Hangover’ suite in Las Vegas.”
When Beckett’s wife went into labor, he left a game in Baltimore, flew home on Magellan, and arrived at the hospital 20 minutes before his first daughter was born.
“You can’t treat all of these events the same, and I think that’s where we excel,” Tivnan said. “It’s very different if you’re going on an IPO road show versus going on a 50th anniversary trip with your wife, or, if you’re lucky going to the Super Bowl with a group of buddies.”
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.