Business Treaveler logo

Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

Delta, Wheels Up Shake on Partnership with Benefits

The groundbreaking transaction gives travelers greater and more affordable access to private aviation options

January 31, 2020

Wheels Up, a known name in private aviation, and Delta Air Lines have firmed up a groundbreaking transaction and partnership agreement that allows Wheels Up and Delta to benefit from cross-platform benefits.

The closing officially combines Delta Private Jets (DPJ) with Wheels Up, pairing Wheels Up’s membership programs, innovative digital platform and world-class lifestyle experiences with Delta Private Jets’ renowned reliability, safety, service and scale. Existing and prospective Wheels Up Members and Delta customers that cannot be found anywhere else within the private aviation industry can now be linked.

The combination creates one of the world’s largest owned and managed fleets of private aircraft, totaling nearly 200 planes ranging from the King Air 350i to large-cabin jets. With this expanded private fleet and access to Delta’s global network, Wheels Up is strategically positioned to fulfill travel demands stemming from its 8,000+ members and customers.

In the weeks ahead, the two companies will be communicating directly with customers to roll out partnership benefits and other program features. For example, Wheels Up Members will be eligible to earn Delta Medallion Status, accrue miles in Delta’s SkyMiles® loyalty program, and use their Wheels Up Fund program balances to pay for Wheels Up private and Delta commercial flights. Likewise, Delta Private Jets customers will have the opportunity to receive exclusive Wheels Up membership offerings, experiences and access to the Wheels Up fleet.

“Together, Wheels Up and Delta will democratize the industry to make private flying and the private flying lifestyle accessible to many more individuals and businesses around the world,” said Wheels Up Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter. “By adding Delta Private Jets and partnering with Delta, our membership platform has evolved to one that can fulfill a vast range of flight needs on a very large scale.”

As part of this transaction Delta’s COO Gil West has joined the Wheels Up Board of Directors.

The Wheels Up and Delta Private Jets teams will be working together to ensure a seamless transition for all DPJ employees and customers. DPJ employees will continue to operate out of their current location in Cincinnati, OH. Over the next year, Wheels Up and Delta will continue introducing exciting cross-platform benefits and features, all designed to add more value for their members and customers.

Financial terms of the transaction will not be disclosed, and there is no expected impact to Delta’s 2020 financial guidance.

Wheels Up gives members access a very large owned and managed fleets of private aircraft — totaling nearly 200 planes — as well as the Program Fleet, which includes over 1,250 Wheels Up safety-vetted and verified partner aircraft in the Light, Midsize, Super-Mid, and Large-Cabin Categories. Many of these options can be booked instantly.

Connect Members receive access to all aircraft on an as-available basis. For Core and Business Members, access is guaranteed on the King Air 350i, as available on the Citation Excel/XLS and Citation X, and guaranteed at the category level on the Program Fleet. Core and Business Members enjoy aircraft availability with real-time dynamic pricing backed by capped hourly rates for time flown only, up to 365 days a year and with as little as 24 hours’ notice.

Popular features such as Shared Flights, empty-leg Hot Flights, Shuttles, and The Community, an online platform of members-only forums to facilitate flight sharing, enable members to further reduce their cost of flying private. Through a groundbreaking partnership with Delta Air Lines, members have unique access and exclusive cross-platform benefits. Renowned events and benefits from among the world’s preeminent lifestyle brands make up the company’s Wheels Down program.