Five Things to Know if You’re Planning to Fly Private to Super Bowl 50
How will they handle the challenges and advantages of Super Bowl 50, which will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 7? Here are five things you should be aware of before you leave for the big game.
01. You’ll be Dealing with Crowded Skies
Estimates vary, but airports and operators are expecting somewhere around 1,200 private planes traveling in and out of the Bay Area for the Super Bowl. That’s why Gregory Belezerian, founder and vice president of Magellan Jets, says his company is recommending clients fly into smaller FBOs, which won’t be as crowded as commercial airports. “You don’t want to be sitting on a tarmac for 45 minutes while a bunch of other planes are deplaning,” Belezerian says. “You want to be able to land, get off the plane and get to wherever you need to go.”
02. San Francisco’s FBOs Will Make Flying in Late Possible
Kick-off for the game is at 3:30 p.m. PST, but the FAA has issued a temporary flight restriction for the airspace within 10 nautical miles of Levi’s Stadium. The TFR will last from 2 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the day of the Super Bowl. If you’re planning to arrive or leave within that time frame, it’s still possible to fly in and out, but you’ll need to avoid the airports affected by the TFR: Norman Mineta San Jose International (SJC), Moffett Federal Airport (NUQ), Palo Alto Airport (PAO) and Reid-Hillview Airport San Jose (RHV).
03. You May Want to Make a Long Weekend Of It
Belezerian, who says Magellan Jets has mainly received bookings from corporate clients, says most people plan to fly into the Bay Area on Thursday or Friday, and leave directly after the game Sunday evening or early Monday morning. However, Renee Aivaliklis, vice president of client services for XO Jet, says its bookings are scattered because of the area’s reputation as a tourist destination. “We may have clients who decided to fly into Napa early to do some wine tasting, and then go to the game,” she says. “And then we may have somebody who decides they want to leave out of Monterey because they’re going to the [AT&T] Pebble Beach Pro-Am.” The tournament, a stop on the PGA Tour, will be held Feb. 8 to 14. “They may not even hit the San Jose, San Francisco or Oakland airports,” Aivaliklis says.
04. Your Flight Operator May be Offering Special Promotions
Because Super Bowl weekend is so big for private jet operators, most offer benefits beyond their usual array of services. XO Jet is partnering with concierge service IfOnly to offer clients tickets to Sunday’s game, the invitation-only Bleacher Ball (featuring Zac Brown Band) on Feb. 5 and Rolling Stone Live on Feb. 6, among other events. Most charter companies are also offering tailgate-inspired catering menus and will decorate plane cabins with Denver Broncos or Carolina Panthers colors, depending on clients’ team allegiances.
05. You’ll Need to Plan for Extra Traffic
Car traffic is always an issue post-Super Bowl, but as a major metropolitan area, San Francisco brings some extra considerations. “Knowing the Bay Area and the traffic, I think that’s one thing that everybody is kind of holding their breath on,” Aivaliklis says. XO Jet is advising clients to plan for post-game traffic to airports, and Belezerian says Magellan Jets emphasizes to clients that flying a helicopter into the city won’t be an option. San Francisco is notoriously strict on maintaining a no-helicopter zone over the downtown area. “When the Super Bowl was in New York City, even though it was in the Meadowlands, you could land at Teterboro and take a helicopter into the city if you were staying there,” he says. “After a six- or eight-minute flight, you were there. This is definitely more difficult.”