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As my flight takes off, I find Delhi smoggier than usual. Thankfully, we quickly rise above the cottoncandy clouds and are greeted by a rich blue sky. I sit on a straightened-up flatbed seat overrun by cushions. Later, I lounge on the wide sofa berth facing a flat-screen home television. The front section has four seats arranged conventionally around a dining table. Down the aisle there is what appears to be a hotel room with a queen-sized bed, and further down is a shower area.
You must have guessed by now that I am not onboard a regular airplane, but a private one reminiscent of Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer The Wolf of Wall Street. The ultra-luxurious Embraer Lineage 1000, my ride for the day, could have accommodated over 100 people in the usual airplane configuration; it was instead designed to be so spacious that it has just 17 seats.
To experience the services offered by EZ Charters, a new air charter venture by Air One Aviation Group, I am on a return charter flight to Jaipur. EZ Charters has been launched as an aggregator of charter airplane services, with access to over 500 aircraft. It services 38 Indian and international cities and accommodates anywhere between a few and 300 people on a flight. Chairman Alok Sharma says the service is a response to the unmet demand for private charters in the country. There are enough private aircraft available, but their owners have been unable to market them. All EZ Charters does is match demand with supply—just what Uber and Ola do for cabs.
The service aims to make charters “accessible, joyful and affordable”. To ensure accessibility, it has an easy-to-use portal, a huge inventory that allows you to book a charter on short notice, and special amenities for emergency, leisure and business charters. As for the joy and affordability, EZ Charters offers specialised packages such as ‘Celebrate@30,000 feet’, where you can book a chartered plane at ₹1,25,000, for a one-hour flight during which you can, say, propose to that special someone, celebrate an anniversary or indulge in a unique pre-wedding shoot. Then there are the ‘Rendezvous Tours’, which include sightseeing, guided trips, and overnight stays at hotels such as Amarvilas, The Leela Palace and Rambagh Palace, in destination cities. Choose among same day/multi-day/multicity options (from ₹3.5 lakh).
And yet, EZ Charters is just getting started. On the cards are international charter holidays, honeymoon charters, and casino charters to exclusive destinations with smaller airports. Frequent fliers will be eligible for a loyalty programme that offers free upgrades, and at times, free flights.
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