The average Super Bowl ticket runs for about $5,000 and the most expensive ticket costs about $20,000, but that's just the beginning for some fans on football's most celebrated weekend. Private jets, worth an estimated $75 million and packed with all types of luxury amenities, will be flying around northern California by the hundreds on Super Bowl Weekend.
PrivateFly.com, a private-flight services website, estimates between 1,100 to 1,300 private aircrafts will touchdown on the six airports around the Santa Clara area ahead of and after Sunday’s game at Levi’s Stadium. Oakland International typically serves 12 to 15 private planes per day, but instead will see that amount of traffic per hour during stretches this weekend, according to Bay Area television station KRON4 reports.
However, those looking to book at the last minute will have a difficult time.
“The No.1 rule for the Super Bowl is book early,” PrivateFly CEO Adam Twidell told International Business Times in a phone interview Thursday. “We’re having a flood of last minute requests now and a lot of those are going to be disappointed.
“This is the peak of the year for U.S. private jet movement, on weekends like this you’re not going to find a private jet.”
Based off a recent search of PrivateFly, a Broncos fan traveling on Friday from Denver International to Oakland International could book a small jet for $10,970 or even a small prop aircraft for as little as $3,460. But if the fan would like to bring friends or family, the price increases significantly as it’s based more on the overall size of the jet. A medium jet is available for more than $17,000 while a large airliner goes for more than $56,000.
The size of the plane, fuel costs, and the distance it’s required to travel also become significant factors, especially if you’re a Panthers fan traveling out of Charlotte and arriving in Oakland. A small prop runs for $4,250, sitting one passenger, but requires a fuel stop, while a small jet jumps to $22,880, and the bigger jets fall in the $50,000 to $93,000 range but are non-stop.
But similar to how Super Bowl ticket prices start out at exorbitant levels and then slowly drop as the big game approaches, the same could also be said of traveling on a Gulfstream.
Arriving in style to the NFL’s ultimate event is nothing new. Last year, when the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIIII at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, roughly 1,200 to 1,400 private flights, as well as all the commercial traffic, converged on the Phoenix area.
Even if jet setters manage to secure a plane and arrive at their destination, it’s the journey home and making it out of overwhelmed airports that presents the biggest challenges for passengers and their crews.
“[It’s] like playing Tetris kind of,” Marion Delano, US Product Executive for PrivateFly said, “trying to fit everything in different formations and you have a very limited amount of ground to cover. [But] it really comes down to finding a crew and an aircraft available. I think the amenities can be kind of an afterthought.”
The $31 billion private jet industry created a significant logjam at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport in May of last year, before and after Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao's wildy anticipated bout, with photos of private aircraft literally lined up and parked wing to wing littering social media and causing the airport to shut off access to a private aircraft before the fight.
There was also the unfathomable amount of private jet traffic leaving the Phoenix area following New England’s win over Seattle, as tracked by FlightAware.
Yet, considering the amenities, perks, and custom service provided by private flight companies, it’s possible most passengers didn’t necessarily mind taxiing the runway just a bit longer.
Well-known private jet services like Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary NetJets, as well as VistaJet or JetSmarter are offering customers not just a private flight, but packages that also include gourmet meals and party food, tickets to the Super Bowl, and even access to a number of the game’s after parties, according to Forbes. The packages even include concerts, with NetJets sending Maroon 5 out to the stage for a private Saturday afternoon concert in San Francisco’s posh neighborhood of Nob Hill.
But this Super Bowl may not have as much "bling" as some might think. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, suites at Levi’s Stadium aren’t moving quite as well as hoped. Prices for the luxury boxes were in the $500,000 to $1 million range, but luxury box seller SuiteHop has one suite listed for $150,000. The deal includes 16 tickets to the game, as well as food and drinks.
"The original pricing was probably right for most of the suites, but once you get down to the final 10 or so, where I think we are now, companies have to be incentivized by price to make a last-minute decision to send many people to the game," Robert Smith of Dallas’ Sold Out Sports told Rovell.
Meanwhile, limousine service is not completely overrun with business. Fam Lavafani, owner of Nationwide Limousine San Francisco, which can charge upwards of $800 for limo service to Levi’s Stadium, says other limousine and car service companies arrived at the Bay Area hoping to cash in on the Super Bowl crowd but haven’t been overrun with business.
“We have gotten jobs of course for Super Bowl, but not as we expected to be,” Lavafani said. “As a matter of fact we’ve been getting calls from companies from other states even that have brought in cars to the Bay Area thinking that there will be a lot of overflow. So yes we are getting calls, we are having vehicles going there, but no we’re not sold out.
“We thought it would be a sold-out deal. But it’s not going to happen I think because of all the other modes of transportation available.”