Wheels Up Review - Citation Excel
Matthew Bean

People all around the world love to fly. Around six million people fly somewhere each day, with 2.9 million alone flying in and out of US airports. 

To fly, booking tickets at the airport is just one method. If you have the means, another option is to rent or own a private jet via companies like Wheels Up.

In this article, we’ll provide a detailed Wheels Up review so by the end you’ll know if flying with Wheels Up is worth trying. 

What Is Wheels Up?

Wheels Up is a private jet charter company that connects flyers to private and shared jets giving every passenger a personalized flying experience.

It’s been a leading private jet company since its launch in 2013. The company was launched with one goal: reinventing how everyone flies private. 

Wheels Up Review - screenshot

To achieve this goal, Wheels Up launched a revolutionary membership model that provides consistency, high-quality aviation, and a quality lifestyle. Whether you’re an individual or a family, Wheels Up has a membership plan for everyone.

Speaking of achievements, Wheels Up is the first company ever to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker “UP” (NYSE: UP).

Wheels Up Review: All You Need to Know

The Wheels Up Fleet

Wheels Up have four main categories of jets available:

  • Light Jet: Short-to-medium-range flights; ideal for 6 passengers
  • Midsize Jet: Short-to-medium-range flights; ideal for 7 passengers
  • Super-Midsize Jet: Medium range flights (4+ hours); ideal for 8 passengers
  • Large-Cabin Jet: Long-range flights (up to 7 hours); ideal for 10 passengers

And, they offer three premium jet models Wheels up offers you to choose from.

King Air 350i

The King Air 350i is the most economical aircraft Wheels Up has in its collection. The comfort and efficiency of the King Air 350i make it the best in its class. 

Wheels Up Review - King Air 350i

It’s perfect for short to medium-distance travel and boasts the following features: 

  • Advanced noise cancellation technology that lets you converse throughout the flight or get that much-needed nap
  • Due to its small size, it can land at almost any airport, solving the issue of traveling to remote destinations
  • Stable WiFi connection throughout the journey
  • Can carry 8 passengers at a time, perfect for a family or small business team

Citation Excel/XLS

The Citation Excel/XLS provides top-notch speed, comfort, and performance.

It’s one of the best mid-sized business jets. When it comes to taking off, climbing, and cruising, it outcompetes every other aircraft in its league.

Wheels Up Review - Citation Excel/XLS

Let’s look at the features of Citation Excel/XSL:

  • Spacious cabins where you stand up and even stretch your legs comfortably
  • Massive luggage capacity (79 cu ft), so no need to pack light
  • Can accommodate up to 8 passengers easily

Citation X

Citation X has all the features that Citation Excel/XLS has. The only difference is it’s bigger and meant for larger flight times (~5 hours or more).

Wheels Up Review - Citation X

It’s the fastest civilian jet ever made and can cover the distance from Miami to San Francisco in just 5 hours. (The distance between Miami and San Francisco is ~3000 miles! That means Citation X travels at a speed of 600 miles/hour.)

Wheels Up Pros

  • Has a large array of jets to choose from (~1500)
  • Being the second-largest private aviation company in the US, it’s trustworthy
  • Join Wheels Up and get a quality lifestyle experience with the Wheels Down program

Wheels Up Cons

  • You can only plan a trip between major cities in the USA

Lifestyle Benefits with Wheels Up

Wheels Up understands how important it is to have a quality lifestyle–not just while flying but also on the ground, which is why it devised a plan for all its members called Wheels Down.

Wheels Down gives all their members a once-in-a-lifetime experience, allows every member to get to know each other, and has several events planned throughout the year:

  1. Signature Events

Wheels Up plans signature events throughout the year where Wheels Up members can hang out and party, like Super Bowl weekend, Masters Week, and Art Basel in Miami.

All the signature events are exclusively for Wheels Up members.

  1. Dedicated Concierge

Wheels Up collaborates with Four Hundred–a premium lifestyle management firm–to give its members incredible concierge services during their Wheels Up experience. They also partner with Virtuoso travel agency which plans city tours for all its members.

The Wheels Down concierge gives Wheels Up members a feeling of hospitality and unparalleled travel experience.

  1. Meet & Greets

Being a Wheels Up member, you get to meet Wheels Up Ambassadors, including some legendary celebrities, athletes, and music artists.

You also receive exclusive benefits worth $35k throughout the year. Wheels Up makes this possible by partnering with premium brands.

Knowing About Wheels Up Cares

Wheels Up aren’t just about luxury and top-notch flying experience; it also cares about the needy and helps them with an open heart. 

In the Wheels Up Cares program, a Beechcraft King Air 350i is custom-designed to represent the cause of the year Wheels Up will be supporting.

Here are some of the causes Wheels Up cares about, and the colors they use to represent them: 

  • Red Plane: American heart month 
  • Orange Plane: Hunger action month 
  • Teal Plane: Ovarian cancer awareness 
  • Pink Plane: Breast cancer awareness
  • Camo Plane: Honor the military 

Here’s an image of the Red plane customized by Wheels Up for American heart month:

Wheels Up Review - American Heart Month special red plane

Are Wheels Up Aircrafts Safe?

When it comes to flying, safety is the first thing people are concerned about. Here are all the safety precautions Wheels Up takes to make your flight safe and sound.

  1. Wheels Up Aircraft Cleaning 
  • Air Flow: Pressurization system of the aircraft replenishes the cabin with fresh air every three minutes.
  • Anti-Microbial Shield: Wheels Up uses ClearCabin, a product that keeps viruses like Covid-19 out of the aircraft. The product is odorless and colorless, forms a mechanical bond with all the surfaces, and doesn’t cause any harm to the surface.
  • Additional Sanitizers: With a stringent safety procedure, Wheels Up also sanitizes every aircraft after each journey. All seats and interior surfaces are sanitized with a disinfectant grade product on EPA’s list that’s approved for use against Covid-19 
  • PPE Kit: Wheels Up gives all its passengers PPE kits, hand wipes, sanitizers, and masks
  1. Wheels Up Crewmembers
  • Temperature Reading: Every crew member must take their temperature twice a day, morning and evening.
  • Daily Symptom Checklist: All crewmembers complete a daily symptom checklist that consists of CDC guidelines.
  • Mask Protocol: Mandatory to wear facemasks on, before, and after duty.
  • Hand Washing: Washing and sanitizing hands after every contact.
  • ID Verification: To verify passenger IDs, passengers will be asked to place the ID on a clean surface or show it from a distance.
  1. Wheels Up Operator Selections 

Wheels Up partners with organizations including Gama Aviation, Delta Private Jets, and TMC Jets.  Every operator is selected after a rigorous selection process built by Wheels Up.

The process includes:

  • Document reviewing
  • Phone assessment with Director of Operations and Safety
  • Evaluation of operations on-site
  • Undergoing FAA approval
  • Third-party audit registrations and certifications
  1. Safety-Vetted & Verified

Wheels Up oversees evaluations and inspections of all their partner operators and aircraft. 

There are about 2000 operators in the US, out of which Wheels Up has only approved ~90 operators to be its partners. 

Wheels Up Pricing – Wheels Up Membership Options 

  1. Download App & Start Flying 

With the Wheels Up app, you can choose out of 1500 aircrafts, book a flight, and fly away in minutes.

Wheels Up Review - app screenshot

Available for both iOS and Android users, it lets you see and select an aircraft that’s affordable to you by displaying the rent price of every aircraft partnered with Wheels Up.

If you plan on flying private, the app also lets you book a private jet.

  1. Connect Membership

Connect membership is the most popular way to fly with Wheels Up. If you’re a Connect Member, you get the following benefits:

  • Search and book private flights
  • Join other people on shared flights 
  • Start your community and coordinate shared flights with other members
  • Get access to Wheels Down events & perks 

To become a member, you have to pay a one-time initiation fee of $2995. After the 1st year, you will be charged $2495 every year.

  1. Core Membership

When you join Core Membership of Wheels Up, you get guaranteed aircraft availability and can book a flight in less than 24 hours notice.

Other benefits you receive: 

  • Dynamically capped hourly rates for your flights for 300 days a year
  • An account manager of your choice who manages everything from expenses to bookings
  • Exclusive benefits from preeminent brands worth ~$35k

To become a Core Member, you have to pay a one-time fee of $17,500 and then $8,500 per year. 

  1. Up for Business Membership

This membership is for businesses who need to fly frequently for client meetings and conferences. 

With Up for Business membership, you can:

  • Book a private flight with just a call
  • Pay for both business and commercial flights with a single fund 
  • Choose from five different aircraft categories

To get a quote on Up for Business membership, you can contact Wheels Up directly. 

Aircraft Ownership Option for Businesses

With Wheels Up, you can buy, sell, and trade aircrafts. The Aircraft Sales experts of Wheels Up will support you with all the paperwork and finalizing the deal.

If you’re planning to buy an aircraft for your business, you might want to customize the interiors that suit your company’s vision and mission. 

Southern Air Custom Interiors can help you with interior design, maintenance, and repairs. We have over 100 years of combined experience in the private aviation industry. 

Wheels Up Review - custom interior with Southern Air Custome Interiors

So if you ever purchase a jet, you can contact Southern Air Custom Interiors to customize your jet in any way you please.

Wheels Up Alternatives 


Flexjets is a company that operates in North America and Europe. It specializes in private jet ownership for businesses and individuals.

Wheels Up Review - Flexjets alternative

Read this Flexjets review and know if it’s worth trying.


Netjets is a private aviation company founded in 1964 that leverages fractional ownership shares as a pricing model. 

Wheels Up Review - Netjets alternative

It was previously known as Executive Jet Airways and was renamed Netjets in 2002. 

Is Wheels Up Worth Trying?

With over 1500 aircrafts to choose from, Wheels Up is one of the best private aviation companies to fly with, and the safety standards it follows has no match in the industry. 

Overall, Wheels Up aims to make your flying experience personalized, and deliver a quality lifestyle to every member, making Wheels Up a great private jet charter company for all of your flying needs.

Pro Tip: If you want to kick things up a notch, you can buy a jet via Wheels Up and then customize it however you want with South Air Customer Interiors.

Our highly skilled designers and mechanics will ensure that you feel at home even when you’re up in the sky!


Matthew Bean

Sales and service specialist for Southern Air. Providing guidance and scheduling to business owners across the world on refurbishing and upgrading their aircraft

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