Wheels Up Turns Attention Toward Small-Business Travelers


With new management in place and enhanced financial backing from Delta Air Lines, Wheels Up has shifted market focus in the direction of small/medium-size businesses as a complement to its service aimed at private travelers. The new “Up for Business” initiative, announced this week, targets businesses that spend at least $250,000 on private travel annually, and Wheels Up expects its economy of scale to offer attractive financial options for such customers. Also, Wheels Up management maintains that since its private travel customers tend to fly on weekends, pursuing new corporate customers with weekday business travel schedules would optimize fleet utility.

Robert Bourrier, Wheels Up executive VP for Global Sales, said, “Historically, smaller to medium-size businesses were forced to adapt to either a product that was designed for individuals or a solution that was built for large corporations. We see an opportunity to deliver a tailored product to members rather than a one-size-fits all offering, while capturing the operational and financial benefits of a balanced fleet utilization throughout the week.”

As of Wednesday this week (Nov. 1), Wheels Up is now offering two programs targeting corporate travelers. Its preexisting Custom Enterprise Solutions program is geared for larger businesses and high-volume individual fliers with investments of $500,000 and more annually. The new program, Up for Business, is aimed at small/medium-size corporate customers with annual budgets in the $250,000 to $300,000 range. Also, the new program offers significantly lower deposit requirements, initiation fees and annual dues. It also has an 18-month contract term, round-trip discounts and same-day access to a second aircraft once per quarter.

With backing from Delta Air Lines, Up for Business customers will also receive frequent flyer benefits from the airline and can use funds from their Wheels Up deposit for Delta tickets, as well.

Bob Somers, Delta senior VP of Global Sales, said, “The Up for Business customer is an important segment within the total addressable market for business travel. We look forward to working closely with the Wheels Up team to provide unparalleled service as leaders in commercial and private aviation.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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