November 28, 2016
Aviation mobile application Blade is giving passengers on its scheduled flights between New York to Miami more personal space by reconfiguring a commercial plane.
For the second season of its Bladeone service, the company has retrofitted a Bombardier CRJ 200, which typically seats 60, into a 16-passenger private plane. Creating an entire lifestyle around these flights, Blade has partnered with a number of fashion and hospitality brands for complimentary additions.
Bladeone’s plane seats a single traveler on either side of the aisle. This contrasts with the usual setup of private planes in which seats are grouped in clusters to allow for interaction between passengers.
With this choice, Blade affords passengers the ability to be alone or to gather in a common space if they so choose.
"With the absence of awkward seating configurations, such as benches or seats aside office-style tables, our aim is for Bladeone flyers to have an experience much more reminiscent of the MGM Grand of yesteryear than typical shared private jet shuttles,” said Melissa Tomkiel, president of fixed wing operations, Blade.
Coinciding with the start of Art Basel, Bladeone will begin service on Dec. 1. For this weekend, a complimentary Blade Bounce helicopter will fly passengers from the company’s Blade Lounge West in Manhattan to the plane in Westchester.
After Art Basel, passengers can still reserve this shuttle service for a fee.
Following the weekend of Dec. 1, flights will take off each weekend through April 16, leaving New York at 9 a.m. on Friday and returning from Miami at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
As an added perk, those who book a round trip on Bladeone will receive a free room at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. This includes ground transportation between the hotel and Blade’s Miami lounge.
For this season of flights, Blade tapped Cynthia Rowley and Sarah Jessica Parker to design uniforms for its crew. Developed in partnership with the Blade team, the apparel and footwear will be worn by flight attendants and customer experience employees working in Blade’s lounges in three states.
Select items from this apparel and footwear collection can be purchased through the Blade app or Web site.
Inside Bladeone's plane
Specialty retailer The Line has decorated Bladeone with a number of home, fashion and beauty items. The Line also curated the items featured in the Henri Bendel-designed dopp kit for passengers.
Other aviation brands have extended their offerings beyond transportation.
Private aviation firm Magellan Jets is spurring sign ups from new members through a custom gift with purchase.
Working with Passavant and Lee, Magellan designed a special version of the brand’s No. 25 briefcase that caters to its clientele. Through the end of the year, new clients who book a 10-hour holiday jet card for a midsize or large plane will receive the briefcase as a thank you for booking, giving an added incentive to join (see story).