How Stars Like Serena Williams and Nick Jonas Are Flying Private for Less -- and You Can, Too!

by Sophie Schillaci 5:00 PM PST, February 04, 2016
Playing How Stars Like Serena Williams and Nick Jonas Are Flying Private for Less -- and You Can, Too!

Being a celebrity has its perks -- but as it turns out, flying private doesn't have to be an A-list-only experience.

As the stars flock to San Francisco to celebrate Super Bowl 50, more than a few will be starting the party early on a flight with Wheels Up. ET got a sneak peek inside the glitzy experience and learned that it's not totally out of reach for the rest of us.

"Wheels Up is a revolutionary membership-based private aviation company that really reduced the cost to fly privately," Miles Rogers, Wheels Up's Chief Strategy Officer, tells ETonline.

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Yes, that "private aviation" label means that Rogers won't spill on exactly which stars use the service, but we do know that Russell Wilson and Ciara are frequent fliers with the program, as are Serena Williams and Erin Andrews. Nick Jonas, Meghan Trainor, the Kardashians, and Bindi Irwin have all jetted with Wheels Up, as well.

"It's sort of the ownership experience without having to do it," says Rogers.

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" #WheelsUp thanks for the flight home 💎" 📷: @meghan_trainor

A photo posted by Wheels Up (@wheelsup8760) on

In addition to the obvious perks -- super comfy seats, setting your own schedule, a stocked bar and easy access to whatever catering your heart desires -- celebs can request flights anytime via an app on their phone, and even opt to share their trips with other members to help cut down on cost.

"The same way Uber pool, you can share flights with other members," Rogers says. "Members can post flights for sharing with each other and it's actually created a type of social aviation, where people are coming together and flying and reducing the cost of their trip. ... So if four people are going to Vegas and another four want to join, it really makes for a nice way to split things up and have a nice time."

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Now for the big question: how much does it cost?

Owning your own plane could cost upwards of $40 to $50 million, plus maintenance and the added cost of having a pilot on staff, while Wheels Up members can join the program (which also includes access to exclusive invite-only events at the Super Bowl and Art Basel, among others) for $17,500. Each flight rings in at $3,950 or $6,950 per hour, depending on which plane you choose.

OK -- we'll break that down for you: Say you want to fly from Los Angeles up to the Super Bowl in San Francisco with seven of your nearest and dearest. You can hop on the King Air 350i for less than $500 per person, or the Citation XL XLS (in the video above) for under $900 per person.

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But if you're in the mood to splurge, you could wind up in the skies with a star.

"Some celebs do post their flight for sharing," Rogers admits. "The ride-sharing is a great part of our program, but you really don't have to share. You can keep the experience as private as you want it to be."

Nick Jonas and his puppy Elvis are ending the holiday weekend the right way! #WheelsUp #WeFlyUp 📷: @nickjonas

A photo posted by Wheels Up (@wheelsup8760) on

For the social media savvy stars among us, expect to see plenty of Instagram action from Wheels Up over the weekend.

"We've seen a significant amount of ordering of Denver Broncos cupcakes or Carolina Panthers cupcakes that are going to make it onto the airplanes," Rogers teases. "We have so many different football players who fly with us, so maybe it's Russell Wilson or JJ Watt who are doing various things throughout the weekend."