ML - Vegas Magazine

Vegas - 2015 - Issue 7 - November - Natalie Dormer

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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photography courtesy of las vegas news bureau N ecessity—namely the lack of commer- cial fights in early yea r s — m ay have been the mother of the private fight to Las Vegas, but you can credit our love of showboat- ing for keeping it alive. Decades before McCarran Inter- national Airport was planning its latest $51 million expansion, high rollers were landing on badly marked airstrips in the middle of nowhere or right on the golf course at the Desert Inn. You wanted to be seen at the Copa Room at the Sands, but the ultimate midcentury selfe was your disembarkation from a private plane. Not surprisingly, Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me," became the anthem of the jet set; after all, his own Learjet 23 was the main shuttle for his buddies from LA, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas in the mid-1960s. Even Elvis Presley borrowed it for his Vegas wedding to Priscilla Beaulieu. Presley later caught the fever, of course, tricking out his own Convair 880 with seating for 29, a bedroom, and a gilded bath, then taking the inaugural fight of the "Lisa Marie" into—you guessed it—Las Vegas. Still, it's travelers' love for a bargain that may propel private fight into Las Vegas's future. (Treat as an anomaly the "crisis" that arose when so many G5s packed into Vegas for this summer's May weather v. Pacquiao fight that McCarran shut its runway. Most of those fiers were paying full fare for fight and fght.) A growing number of upstart companies are offering annual memberships that let you charter private jets or even snag a single seat on certain routes. Take JetSmarter (, an app funded by, among others, Jay Z and members of the Saudi royal family. For an initiation fee of $3,000 and annual membership of $9,000, you can book a one-way pri- vate fight, schedule a customized chartered jet, or fy its JetShuttle service, which lets you hop on an empty seat at no additional charge on one of its regular routes. It just added a Las Vegas–Los Angeles round-trip; a Vegas to San Francisco route already existed, and the company says more Vegas fights are on the way. But it's the convenience that beckons high fiers to private aviation's door: No waits in security lines or pat-downs by cranky TSA agents. We recently tried the new service from Vegas to LA, rolling in to park free at Signature Flight Support about 20 minutes before our scheduled fight, where we were greeted by two improbably beautiful hostesses, the bulk of whose responsibil- ity seemed to be making sure we had enough refreshments and telling us how awesome we were before sending us on our way. By Las Vegas standards, that service alone is worth the annual fee. Our trip door-to-door from the parking lot to the Beverly Hills Hotel lasted a grand total of two hours. But it is the fight back—soaring over the hours-long traffc snarls on the I-15, circling north over the Strip for a close-up view of Wynn Golf Club (on the site of the old Desert Inn)—that will remind you why this town is for jetsetters. And no one needs to know you didn't pay retail. V The New JeT SeT "I don't care how you get here, just get here If you can," Isn't really a lIne that applIes to las Vegas. we care how you got here—and gettIng here rIght just got a lIttle easIer. by andrea bennett Beautiful landing: Brigitte Bardot and Gunter Sachs arrived in style at McCarran International Airport for their 1966 wedding. LIVING LAS VEGAS 112

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