Interview with Willard Witham Sr. of Las Vegas Party Jets

by Marc Jay
07.16.2010

Marc Jay: Now if you’re like me, you come to Vegas probably about 150 times a year and every time you’re at LAX, queuing up with the rest of the world. I’ve discovered an incredible way of traveling to Las Vegas from Burbank with my friend Willard of Las Vegas Party Jets.  Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a millionaire to rent a private jet now because there are some companies that offer some amazing deals. So tell us a bit about what your company does.

Willard Witham: The company is called Las Vegas Party Jets and we work in conjunction with Aaron Aviation. Primarily what we do is pick people up with chauffeured service from Burbank and Orange County and transport them directly to Las Vegas without any of the hassles of going through the security check points and dealing with all the hassles of the airport. Basically you get dropped off, or drop your car off, get straight on the plane, get to Vegas, get picked up by a limo, get taken straight to your hotel or straight to a club to start your adventure here in Vegas.

Marc Jay: Now people think that if they’re going to rent a jet for ten or fifteen people that it’s going to cost tens and tens of tens of thousands of dollars. But actually, your rates are very competitive because you can buy per seat, is that correct?

Willard Witham: Yes, you can. Currently we have 30 seats available on our Dornier 328 Jet. You can either get the air package, or you can get the air and hotel included for less than $1,000.

Marc Jay: What sort of schedule do these aircrafts follow and where does the plane take off from and land?

Willard Witham: We fly from Orange County on Thursdays, come into Vegas, and we depart from Vegas back to Orange County on Sunday. We also fly on Friday nights from Burbank coming to Vegas and fly back to Burbank or Orange County on Sunday.

Marc Jay: What are some of the new programs you’re offering clients?

Willard Witham: We’re doing a “Hangover Package,” where you come in, say as a Bachelor party with a group of your friends, and we take you in a chauffeured limousine to a few different clubs within the city. We give you the time of your life, take you and drop you off at one of the adult entertainment venues within the city, and then pick you up again, and possibly on Sunday, send you over to a pool party. You have a good time there, and then we send you home all... hungover [laughs].

Marc Jay: I imagine people must thoroughly enjoy it [laughs]. Do people ever go missing on the way home? Will you ever fly someone there and then see that they don’t make it back to the hanger?

Willard Witham: I mean, that happens all the time. You gotta try to keep people in tune with what we’re trying to accomplish. But, I mean, this is Vegas, and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and people go off all the time and do their own thing. We haven’t lost a passenger yet, but there’s a possibility that we could. I’m sure, with a little help from our friends, we’ll get them tracked down and put them where they need to be.

Marc Jay: Do you offer in-flight beverages? What other entertainment do you have on the jets?

Willard Witham: As you depart from either Orange County or Burbank, currently, we pick you up at the airport, we get you on the plane, we have premium in-flight beverage service when you’re on the plane, which, you know, we provide the alcohol and the regular beverages.  Once you get here, you pull into our private hanger at our private terminal. Your limo is waiting for you in the hanger and it picks you up, takes you to your hotel, lets you get G-ed up to get ready for your night, then we come back and pick you up, take you to the club that you want to go to, pick you up again, take you to another club… We provide the whole package; you can encompass your whole weekend with us, if you’d like.

Marc Jay: Do you work with any particular hotels or nightclubs?  If so, which ones are you working with?

Willard Witham: Currently, I have negotiations with Haze, LAX, Pure, and Gold Lounge. We’re working on Minus 5, Sapphires, we’re looking into Surrender, the Encore Beach Club, Blush, XS… there are several clubs that we’re actually looking into, but currently the ones that I work with directly are Haze and Gold Lounge.

Marc Jay: So if I’m a bachelor, and I’m going to have my big bachelor party in Vegas, and I’ve got 20 of my friends coming with me, basically I can come to you and you can really fix my whole weekend?

Willard Witham: What I’d like to do if you had you and your friends is I’d like to pick you up in a stretch Excursion, take you by the Vegas sign, get a couple photos, take you over to Minus Five, give you a couple drinks, pick you up again, take you over to Pure, have a good time there, drop you off at Sapphires, meet a nice lady, and who knows what happens after that.

Marc Jay: Well it is Vegas, I suppose. So tell us, how did you fall into working and running this private charter?

Willard Witham: I came from a marketing background. I had my own publications, a few magazines that I worked with—Where At? magazine, Secret Networks magazine, Channel Islands magazine, The Excitement Guide, Las Vegas 411. I also did my own promotion company out in Ventura and LA County, and I also had my own entertainment companies in the adult market. I worked with several girls that were actually in the adult film business. Then I came out here, discovered a niche market with this private plane service. There isn’t anybody doing what we’re doing and I want to be able to give that to the general public so they can feel the VIP service that I believe they deserve.

Marc Jay: When I’ve looked into renting jets for friends of mine when we’ve actually come from LA, and I’ve done it a couple of times, I remember paying ten to fifteen thousand dollars. How do you keep your prices so affordable?

Willard Witham: The reason we are able to do keep the rates we have is that we spread it across the whole plane—we have 30 seats available. You’re speaking of the smaller planes—a Hawker or a Beacher—which primarily only holds about eight people. Our plane actually carries 30 passengers. The reason we can keep our cost down is because we can spread those cost among those people and then we have negotiations with the various different hotels and clubs to where we’re putting business into their hands, so they’re giving us a particular special rate.

Marc Jay: How are you marketing this in LA? Because I would imagine it’s much more appealing to the Southern California market.

Willard Witham: We have a couple different websites you can go to. Primarily you can go to www.flyaaron.com. You can also go to www.lasvegaspartyjets.com, www.lvpartyjets.com, or www.aaronaviation.com and find us. Our 1-800 number is 1-800-516-1939.

Marc Jay: So this company is growing on a daily basis; I think you’re up to three planes now, with more to come in the future. What’s coming up in the future?

Willard Witham: Actually, in the future, we’re looking at a Reno product: Reno to Vegas. We’re also looking into San Diego to Vegas, which would possibly be out of Carlsbad. We’re looking at Mesa, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona, Merced, California, San Francisco, possibly even Texas. I know that we got a plan to get flights out to Rocky Point to get people to go see the Mayan resorts out there and we’re also looking at Catalina Island.

Marc Jay: Now another question: if there are all of these groups coming into Vegas, what about the people that live in Vegas who want to go out? Is there anywhere they could go? And if so—I know you have to refuel—how far can this plane travel?

Willard Witham: Actually, our plane can travel anywhere within a thousand mile range without having to make a fuel stop. One of the things that I’m looking into that I think is very interesting is going out to, again, Catalina Island. I think it would be a beautiful market for people in Vegas because we deal with so much heat, and everybody likes to go to the beach. I’m trying to look into an island product and a beach product.

Marc Jay: If there are groups in Las Vegas that fancy doing a trip somewhere else, they can contact you as well, and your reservation hosts will help them with that?

Willard Witham: We’ll do our best. If they can’t travel on our plane, we’ll look into another possible charter and see if we can get them onto another plane to get them to whatever destination they desire.

Marc Jay: Well, I think I’m going to wrap it up because I’m heading off to Burbank in your lovely plane with your beautiful hostesses. So I’m going to sit back, have my cocktail, and enjoy my smooth flight to Burbank.

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