CHICAGO -- Big Game Air is, now that the college football season is underway, a new business venture aimed at making college game day more fun, more luxurious and more time efficient.
You know the phrase, "Time is money?” The new operation capitalizes on that concept by getting people to and from their favorite college football game all on the same day and it’s all done in first class.
Ilana, Paul, Kurt, Jon, David and Jehu Chesson, a Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver, are all Michigan grads and all of them recently hopped a ride with Big Game Air to get to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines’ home opener.
What would be close to a four-hour drive from Chicago is just 40 minutes aboard a 10-seat Falcon 2000.
Todd Rubin and his business partner are behind Big Game Air and he says the objective is fun.
“To make the commitment--a 72 hour commitment - to go to a college town, to drive there, to get a hotel for two nights with the surge pricing, doesn't make sense for a lot of people. This is appealing to people who want to get back to their lives,” Rubin said.
The concept is personal for Big Game Air, or atleast Rubin's business partner. Last year--he wanted to see Iowa play Michigan but there was one problem.
"His wife was pregnant. She was due right around the time of the game. Big conflict, right? He wants to be home for the baby, but wants to see the game also,” he said.
That's when Big Game Air was born. They flew-in and out on the same day.
With tickets already in hand, the Michigan alums admit hitching a ride on a private jet is a luxury. Still, they didn't hesitate. After they landed back in Chicago, they hoped they could still make it to Ravinia later that night.
“Stevie Nicks tongiht, my wife's favorite, so it was like can I go to the game and miss or are you going to have to find someone else to go to the convert with you? Best of both worlds: I get my Michigan football game. Concert, date night perfect,” Jon said.
Roundtrip airfare, on board drinks and snacks, a ride to Michigan Stadium and back, plus a tailgate is all included in the $1,500 price tag. Fliers, and in this case, Michigan fans, get their own tickets to the game, but even that is easy on the Big Game Air website for an additional cost. Two clients upped their package by purchasing field passes too.
The typical price range to travel with Big Game Air is anywhere from $1,200- to $2,500.
“It's for the passionate sports fan. For the family man who doesn't have a lot of time. For the young successful professional. It's for aviation geek and the adrenaline junkie,” Rubin said.
Everyone has their reasons for going. But they all have one thing in common on this flight: They were all Michigan alums and deeply dedicated to the Wolverines. But making it easy to get there was a no brainer, they said.
"Instead of driving four hours, and bringing the kids along I’m there and I’m back and we're having dinner tonight,” Kurt said.
"I'm a huge college football fan. To be honest, not having to drive four hours, how can you say no?" Ilana said.
“I did send a couple of messages out just let everyone know that I am coming in hot on the jet,” Paul said.
Chesson played under former Bear and former Wolverine now head coach at Michigan Jim Harbaugh. This was his first time back to the Big House since he was a player. He was the celebrity guest aboard Big Game Air.
“It's always a little emotional when you go back. They fight to do that,” Chesson said.
It was wheels up from the Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling, Ill., at 7:27 a.m. Touchdown in Ypsilanti, Michigan? 9:07 a.m.
A 30-minute coordinated luxury bus ride to the game and then the real work begins for the Wolverines and the fun begins for these big game air fans. Kickoff is at noon.
The game is over roughly at 4 p.m. and it's back on the bus and bound for the airport in no time. This is when this no hassle, luxury, leather clad private plane really pays off.
"We're going to be on the ground by 5:15. I live 20 minutes from the airport, plans tonight. It just makes the whole thing so easy,” David said.
The Zirin brothers made it to Ravinia that night too. Everybody was happy.
“I would not do anything differently. It was the perfect day,” Kurt said.
That was one of two planes that flew college fans to two different games. And the season is just getting underway.
Their offerings don't end with college football. They plan on booking big pro games, the Super Bowl, concerts and the Kentucky Derby.
Planes headed to the Bears vs. Packers game on September 28 still have seats available.
A full event schedule posted on the Big Game Air website.