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October 9, 2015

Private Aviation

Flying High

Scouring the Net for Deals
Massachusetts-based CharterAuction.com, which shops private reservation requests for the cheapest fares on its internet auction site, is popular with Florida's upscale frequent fliers. "Florida is our most popular destination," says company founder Nathan McKelvey.

How It Works: Fliers must join CharterAuction's membership program and set up an escrow account.

A User: Florida resident and CEO of New York-based KM Enterprises, Kevin Messina likes the fact that although private air travel is expensive, he can get the best pricing deal possible with CharterAuction.

Savings: "CEOs make hundreds of dollars an hour," says Messina. "To take me out of pocket for four to five hours a day for business travel is not an effective use of my time."

Fly-In Community
The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo is one of the largest fly-in communities in Florida. The more than 200 member-resident aviation community has a private 4,500-foot runway and a busy Flying Club for recreational fliers.

A Resident: Chicago attorney and Ocean Reef homeowner Tom Flanagan flies in regularly, ferrying his wife and one or more of his six kids to the club for R&R, summer fun or holiday celebrations. "The capability to fly in and fly out was very important when I was looking to buy," says Flanagan. He pilots his own Cessna CJ-II, which he purchased three years ago for $5 million. Flight time from work to play: Three hours.

Filet Mignon to Go
Charles and Linda Dekranis of Sarasota cater to a lofty clientele, wining and dining air travelers on private jets. The couple cater any kind of meal a flier could want.

A Niche: The Dekranises used to own the Foodies Center Market on Longboat Key but think they've found their niche in catering to private air travelers. They do all the shopping, cooking, packing and delivering of the meals to the aircraft. They work with several charter companies from Venice to St. Petersburg/Clearwater, most notably Dolphin Aviation at Sarasota Airport.

Tags: Around Florida

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