Kurt Russell needs no introduction. However, you may not know the acting great is also an experienced pilot who has owned multiple aircraft, sometimes clocking hundreds of flight hours per year. In addition to his storied career in Hollywood entertaining us, he is also a rancher and winemaker. He is now the newest A-List Celebrity to join Denver-based ONEflight International as a paying member, not an ambassador. What’s more, he found the company doing his own research and likes what he has seen so much; he is eager to spread the word. In discussion with Russell, like many of you, he flies for a combination of business and personal reasons. Also, not uncommon, as his need for private flights began to fluctuate several years ago, he decided it no longer made sense to own.
Russell says he has been with “a number of programs.” He picked ONEflight for several reasons. He said its sales team was knowledgeable and responsive, as was CEO Ferren Rajput. Specifically, he was attracted to the Colorado jet card and charter broker for the same reasons we hear from its members. Call-out is just 10 hours. And instead of offering boxes of chocolate categories of light, midsize or super-midsize jets like many programs, ONEflight enables you to choose over 75 aircraft from turboprops to long-range Globals. Each type has its own hourly rate, and while that type is not guaranteed, Russell tells us what we’ve heard from others. ONEflight delivers what you book, that’s significant. Within a category, there are big differences in range, seating and cabin size. Russell says he also appreciates that membership includes ground transportation on both ends, so one less thing to worry about. While ONEflight pushes its BAJit.com online booking in television commercials fronted by Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec, Russell says he prefers dealing with a human being who can discuss different aircraft types and help with recommendations to ensure the type chosen best aligns with his mission.
Russell says his focus on choosing private aviation providers is about safety, and he looks to ensure he is using Wyvern-or Argus-certified operators, something ONEflight guarantees. “I hate the headlines and the weather,” sings New Zealand pop star Lorde. He is pragmatic. On the latter, he notes. “Sometimes you’re not going to get to your destination…I’ve said that to my passengers a number of times we’re not going to be able to get to Aspen today.” And while jet cards enable customers to book, cancel and rebook on short-notice, Russell says he avoids changing his plans when possible. “I try to look at it from the operator’s point of view.” He says that means making sure he shows up on time. Back to Lorde. Headlines are often not kind to private aviation. Asked about private jets being a lightning rod, Russell says, “It’s silly to me. Then ride a horse. Let’s continue to progress, burn clean fuel… The concept of not getting somewhere fast where you need to is not the way to grow.”
Spreading The Word
Russell says there is no current plan to become an ambassador or a compensated spokesperson for ONEflight. Asked why he was taking the time to sing the company’s praises, he says it’s his love of the industry. “When I discover something in aviation I think is good, I like to spread the word.” Russell is known for his roles in movies ranging from Silkwood to Miracle. Yet his aerial bona fides are substantial. He is a Living Legend of Aviation inductee. Others include Chuck Yeager, inventor of fractional jet ownership Richard Santulli, Sir Richard Branson, and Captain Chesley Sullenberger.