Well this is new. We've heard of helicopter parents, and now there are private jet college tour parents. That's right, an increasing number of parents are spending as much as $150,000 to take junior and juniorette to visit the colleges he or she is interested in attending. No more do the kids of the one percent have to endure grueling five plus hour road trips from Las Vegas to the University of San Diego or Philadelphia to Oberlin. Just hop on a private jet and knock out five to nine colleges in a handful of days all in the luxury of a Gulfstream.
Do you remember touring colleges with your parents? Chances are it was in a beat up station wagon on an extended road trip. Yeah. They don't do it like that anymore. Today's well to do high school seniors tour their potential colleges via a curated tour on a private jet with more amenities than—well than most of us will ever see on a plane—including hoodies from the colleges they are visiting, independent admissions advisors, full service catering from top restaurants such as Nobu, and your own personal butler. This gives new meaning to flying the friendly skies. When they arrive at a local airport an Escalade or Town Car will whisk them off to campus and back to the airport when the campus tour is concluded.
Industry leading private jet charter company Magellan Jets organized one 12-leg, $150,000 trip across America tour for the son of a California based financier in August of 2014. Magellan Jets President Anthony Tinvan said "It's becoming a bigger part of our business. Dozens of families are taking advantage of the convenience of visiting colleges this way."
In fact, this new service is so popular that Magellan introduced a new package last month for the more budget minded parents of incoming college freshmen. Mom and Dad can now purchase 10 hours of flight time on one of Magellan's college-bound private jets for the bargain price of $43,500. This deal includes the aforementioned hoodies as well as matching notebooks, and tips from Top Tier Admissions on what to do before, during, and after every campus tour. As they jet away from the campus, flight staff will prepare an easy-to-read report combining the thoughts of each family member about what they liked and disliked about each campus.
Money buys influence—even in college admissions. Magellan also offers introductions to high profile alumni including businessmen and women and athletes.
"We take care of everything," Tinvan said. "Many commercial airlines don't have direct flights into airports near the universities, making it difficult to see multiple colleges in one day. Fly privately and you can visit as many as five or six colleges in the space of two or three days."
It goes without saying that the types of families who use private jets to tour colleges are the one percent. These are the kids of parents in investment banking, real estate, and hedge funds. The kids whose parents cannot be gone from the office for an extended period to visit a bunch of colleges. Magellan aims to make the entire college tour happen over one weekend, simplifying the hectic schedules of these families.
All it takes is $43,000–IF your child isn't set on attending college on the other side of the country, that is. Ten hours of flying time only gets you so far. If little Susie or Johnnie is intent on a college a six-hour flight away, the Bank of Mom and Dad will have to buy more flight time. Think of it as a bonding experience.