Day tripping in style with excursions via private plane

Schubach Aviation can arrange a day at a the members-only The Thermal Club in Thermal, Calif.
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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Luxury these days is all about unique experiences. And that, unfortunately, is also almost always synonymous with far-flung.

Add in travel from an airport with limited connections and you can sometimes spend a whole day just getting across the country, let alone across the world.

Recognizing that not everyone seeking a luxury adventure has the luxury of time, Schubach Aviation in Carlsbad, Calif., has put together a new product called Elevated Excursions, which offers specially curated one-day trips from the traveler's airport of choice.

Whether they want to swim with the whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez, spend a day shopping the designer shops of Las Vegas or navigating a private racetrack, Schubach can put it all together as a single day or overnight outing, depending on whether the flight time is more than two hours.

The concept is the brain child of Schubach Aviation president Kimberly Herrell, who said she "wanted to highlight how much you can do in a single day when flying private."

"We've seen a growing sentiment among our client demographic that experiences are more valuable than things," she said. "There is a sense of freedom that comes with putting miles between you and your everyday life, even if just for a day."

The first trip was launched in March in partnership with Scott Dunn Private Journeys, with an itinerary on Mexico's west coast that included swimming with a National Geographic guide in the Sea of Cortez, a gourmet lunch on a secluded beach and dinner with wine pairings in the culturally rich La Paz.

Newer itineraries a private sunset dinner at the invitation-only, celebrity-favorite Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards in Los Angeles; exclusive access to the world's premier celebration of the automobile, Concours d' Elegance in Pebble Beach, Calif.;  a high-fashion shopping experience at Las Vegas' luxe The Shops at Crystals;  and a high-octane track day at members-only The Thermal Club, in Thermal, Calif.

Harrell says the trips, which are customizable and range from about $3,000 to $5,000 a person, are proving to be quite popular.

"Our guests are impressed at the level of detail that we've gone to," she said. "We have repeat excursionists that seem to bring more friends along every time."

The company says the day trips are the first offering of their kind. It's hard to know for sure if that's true, but they are certainly unique and one of a growing number of packages being assembled by the private aviation sector to tap luxury travelers' demand for new experiences while also helping them avoid the increasingly headache-fraught perils of commercial travel.

And unlike commercial airlines, Schubach pays travel agents base commissions.

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