Alex Skjong

Correspondent

  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Alex Skjong is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent based in Atlanta. The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, nurtured his journalistic foundation and the Internet did the rest, as his interest in new media forms such as podcasts and videocasts has grown over the years. He’s contributed print and online content to luxury and lifestyle publications including Michigan Avenue Magazine and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, and social media content to the guitar website FRET12.com. When Skjong isn’t writing or tweeting, he’s recording music and tightly crossing his fingers for affordable commercial space travel.

  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    Is there a timeshare program for private jets?

    The closest you’ll get to a timeshare program for private jets is NetJets. The company allows you to become a fractional owner of a private jet — giving you all the perks (total privacy, shorter flight times) and none of the headaches (delays, long security lines). The size of your share is proportional to how many hours you fly in a year, but no matter how big or small your ownership, you’ll gain access to a worldwide fleet of private jets at your beck and call.
     
    In addition to supplying a plane that can take you almost anywhere you need to go with as little as four hours’ notice, NetJets provides the entire experience of a luxury flight, including expert pilots, flight attendants and maintenance professionals who ensure the safety of everyone onboard. NetJets maintains more than 800 planes — with 13 of the most popular business jets in the world — and can accommodate seven to 14 passengers at a time (pets too). You have the option of choosing light, midsize or large cabins, so there’s always plenty of legroom — and room for the family to tag along.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    How can I take a private jet on an international trip?

    Sign up with NetJets and you’ll be able to take a private jet on just about any international trip. NetJets has affiliate programs throughout Europe and Asia, which means you can cross the Atlantic or the Pacific on your own private jet, without the hassle of delays and long security lines. NetJets flies to more than 170 countries, so you can get wherever you need to go — whether it’s a last-minute business trip to Hong Kong or a romantic weekend in Paris. And with luxe plane perks like catered meals, a MicroModal blanket from Glen Saxon and in-flight movies, you’ll land in your international destination refreshed and ready to see the sights.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    Can I become a fractional owner of a private aircraft?

    It’s easy to become a fractional owner of a private aircraft with NetJets. The company allows you to purchase an undivided interest in a specific aircraft; the size of your share will be proportional to how many hours you fly in a year. The smallest share you can purchase is a 1/16 interest (about 50 hours of annual airtime). Whether you go in big or small, you’ll have access to a fleet of more than 800 planes around the world — from a 14-seat jet for family vacations to a compact plane for quick business trips.
     
    When you’re a fractional owner of a NetJets aircraft, you can have a personal jet ready and waiting for you with as little as four hours’ notice — a prime perk for frequent travelers. If you don’t travel often but still want the benefits of a private aircraft, you can sign up for a NetJets Private Jet Card, a prepaid card that’s good for 25 hours of flight time a year.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What are the NetJets planes like?

    NetJets’ fleet of planes is made up of light, midsize and large-cabin jets. So the best one for you depends on where you’re going and how many people are coming with you. Are you heading out on a solo business trip to Cleveland or New York? You might want to go with the compact Hawker. Jetting off for a romantic weekend in Paris? Opt for the Cessna Citation X, one of the fastest of the fleet. Taking the whole family on a Florida vacation? You can’t go wrong with a luxurious Gulfstream that seats 14 and comes with a full-service galley.
     
    On board, you’ll fly in new, modern surroundings. NetJets has begun renovating 250 midsize and large-cabin aircraft with Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as refurbishing the interiors of the entire fleet with New Zealand wool carpeting, sleek leather seats and darker fabrics for a cozier vibe. Plus, all NetJets planes feature the same top-notch amenities. You’ll be given verbena-scented hand lotion and soap from L’Occitane, along with gourmet meals (think fresh fish and artisanal cheeses) and more than 20 in-flight snacks (including treats from Dean & DeLuca). Like a little bubbly with that in-flight movie? Not a problem. NetJets serves fine wines and champagne chosen by noted retailer Zachys and updated each season.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What business amenities do NetJets planes have?

    When a last-minute business meeting pops up, you’ll be happy to have a membership with NetJets. The private jet company will not only have a plane ready for you at a moment’s notice, but will also fully stock your ride with prime business amenities. 
     
    Step inside your jet to find refurbished interiors with wool carpeting and sleek leather chairs — a comfortable setting for some pre-meeting preparation. Need to rest up before your arrival? Grab a luxurious MicroModal blanket from Glen Saxon and kick back with some bubbly and an in-flight movie. Need to do some research? NetJets has started adding Wi-Fi to many of its midsize and large-cabin aircrafts, so you can log in and get down to work.
     
    But perhaps the best business amenity is simply the speed. Flying with NetJets dramatically cuts down your travel time — so while a commercial flight from New York to Atlanta can take more than five hours, on NetJets you can make the trip in about two.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    Does NetJets fly to China?

    Stop worrying about delays and limited legroom on a long flight to China — NetJets can take you there in style. The private aviation company has recently expanded its routes to China, allowing both longtime NetJets owners and newcomers to make the trip quickly and comfortably.
     
    Through NetJets, you can become a fractional owner of an aircraft, giving you all the perks of owning a private plane, minus the hassle. To fly NetJets to China — and more than 170 other countries — purchase an undivided interest in a specific aircraft, with the size of your share being proportional to how many hours you fly in a year. So if you’re regularly making the trip from New York to Hong Kong, you’ll likely want a larger share. As an owner, you’ll be able to choose your plane from a fleet of more than 800 — NetJets has everything from a midsize plane for eight to a large-cabin jet for 14. Tell NetJets where you want to go and when (you need to give a minimum of four hours’ notice), and it’ll take care of the rest. Just sit back and enjoy your private flight to China.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What is the service like on NetJets?

    You’ll receive top-notch service with NetJets. That’s because everyone on staff — from the flight coordinators to the pilots — is trained to give you the prime NetJets experience.
     
    The private aviation company operates 24/7, so whether you call for a plane at 2 p.m. or 2 a.m., someone will be ready to help you and set up a flight as soon as possible. Once the plane is ready and you’re on board, you don’t need to worry about a thing — NetJets chooses the pilots and crew. In addition to their commitment to safety, NetJets pilots are incredibly flexible and ready to take off at a moment’s notice. And if you have a plane with flight attendants on board (this is usually offered in the large-cabin models), they will help you feel right at home with a glass of champagne, an in-flight movie and a warm MicroModal blanket from Glen Saxon.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What’s the benefit of being a NetJets owner?

    As a NetJets owner, you will experience all the benefits of owning a private plane — minus the hassles. Forbes Travel Guide editors love that you can take off at a moment’s notice (NetJets can have a plane ready for you in as little as four hours), as well as the on-board perks like movies, gourmet snacks and, on some planes, Wi-Fi.
     
    Of course, you can’t beat the decrease in travel time. NetJets owners can get just about everywhere a little bit faster. This seamless travel starts at the airport, where you won’t have to deal with check-in, security lines or pre-boarding procedures. And once you reach your plane, it will be ready for takeoff. So while a commercial flight from Chicago to New York can take up to five hours total, on NetJets you can make the trip in just under two.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    How many passengers can fit on a NetJets plane?

    NetJets planes can hold anywhere from seven to 14 passengers. If you’re taking a solo business trip, you might want to opt for a light-cabin plane; the best-selling Cessna Citation V Ultra jet, which covers business hubs like Atlanta, Chicago and New York, can accommodate up to seven passengers. For a little more legroom and seating capacity, request the sleek Cessna Citation X; it seats up to eight passengers and is one of the fastest jets in the fleet. Finally, if you’re traveling with your whole family or business team, ask for a large-cabin plane like the Gulfstream G450 (seats 14) or the Dassault Falcon 7X (seats 13).
  • On September 25, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    How much notice do I need to give to fly with NetJets?

    You don’t have to give NetJets much notice to fly on one of its private jets. The aviation company can have a plane waiting for you with just four to 10 hours’ notice — and it doesn’t even matter what time of day you call. Since NetJets is available 24/7, you’ll get the same service whether you’re requesting a plane in the middle of the day or at midnight. So when last-minute business meetings or personal matters arise, NetJets helps make the trip go smoothly. And you can forget the typical travel delays; with NetJets, you skip security lines and check-ins. Just hop on your private jet, grab a glass of bubbly and enjoy the flight. 
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What bars does The Raphael Hotel have?

    Those in need of festive cocktail or stiff drink should head to Chaz on the Plaza inside Kansas City’s The Raphael Hotel. With an extensive list of regional wines, liqueurs, scotch, whiskeys and classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, the restaurant and lounge offers a cozy, clubby atmosphere and a cocktail menu to admire. Monday through Friday, the lounge hosts a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. featuring half-priced appetizers (popular with visitors and locals alike). You can also check out local musicians playing anything from jazz and classical tunes to the blues and rock-n-roll six nights a week.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What restaurants does The Raphael Hotel have?

    The historic Raphael Hotel has a top-notch restaurant to match its charm — Chaz on the Plaza is a sophisticated but inviting restaurant serving modern American regional cuisine. The interior’s warm blend of crimson and gold hues creates a cozy, clubby vibe. A custom mural of historic Country Club Plaza honors the neighborhood’s landmarks, while the restaurant itself welcomes local musicians to its small stage six nights a week. The Forbes Travel Guide recommended restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; a few standout dishes include the lobster eggs Benedict, banana foster French toast, braised shrimp and grits, the Chaz burger and the signature rack of lamb.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What’s the best time to visit The Raphael Hotel?

    While Kansas City is enjoyable all year round, our Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest booking at room at The Raphael Hotel during the spring, summer or fall. All of the area’s biggest attractions, such as the Kansas City Zoo, the myriad museums and the boutique shopping, are best experienced in the warmer months. Likewise, sports fans will have a choice between catching a Kansas City Royals game at Kauffman Stadium or a Kansas City Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium.
     
    You can count on The Raphael Hotel and the surrounding Country Club Plaza neighborhood to be lit up and beautiful during the holidays, too. When the snow falls, the brilliantly lit path near the river is a spectacular sight. However, much of the neighborhood’s charm is found in the ability to walk to nearby shops, restaurants and nightlife, which can be hampered during the chilly winter months.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What is the average price of a room at The Raphael Hotel?

    The room prices at The Raphael Hotel in Kansas City don’t fluctuate much — chances are you’ll find rates starting around $230 for a 290-square-foot guest room with a king bed. The 480-square-foot suites at the Forbes Travel Guide recommended boutique hotel start at around $250. And you can expect the 640-square-foot Presidential Suite to top out at around $310 a night. (These rates reflect days when there are no hotel special events or citywide special events.) During the holidays, the hotel is usually booked solid, so be sure to book early to ensure a room.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    Where is The Raphael Hotel located?

    Located on Ward Parkway in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza district, The Raphael Hotel is an ideal spot for those who want to be in the city’s buzziest neighborhood. Surrounding cultural attractions include the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Crossroads Arts District and Kansas City Repertory Theatre, while hip shops, restaurants and nightlife venues (within walking distance of the hotel) populate the neighborhood.
     
    The Forbes Travel Guide recommended hotel is five miles from downtown Kansas City, about five miles from the Amtrak trains at Union Station and about 24 miles from Kansas City International Airport.