Touching down at a temple in the desert sounds like fun – but how does it actually work?
The leave no trace ethos, myriad of fascinating costumes and workshops, and gathering of performance artists from around the world all combine to make the Burning Man festival the ultimate temple to creative expression. To some, the grungy nature of Burning Man outfits and the festival itself might make it seem incompatible with the flexibility, convenience, and personalized service offered by luxury travel.
No so: the dust storms of the Burning Man festival are as open to private jet charter arrivals as they are to those with an emphasis on decommodification and sustainable living, making this a truly inclusive celebration for all. That’s not to say that arriving in Black Rock City via private jet rental is easy, though, as direct flights are limited and air charter services have to navigate some peculiarities and specific requirements in order to land.
There are also certain rules for passengers of private jet charters that have to be adhered to if you want to arrive in Black Rock City Airport, and first-time attendees can often feel overwhelmed by this unique situation. Not to worry – this article will help guide you through the process of arriving in time for burn night via VIP travel, equipping you with all the knowledge you need. Once you’re clued up, talk to Skyllence to arrange your private aviation arrival. All that’s left then is to pick out your Burning Man outfits – or even attend Burning Man nude if you’re brave enough!
Where is Black Rock City Airport?
It might seem obvious that Black Rock City Airport is in Black Rock City, but when you think about it that’s actually quite extraordinary. Black Rock City itself is the home of the Burning Man Festival; a temporary city in the sands that is disassembled after burn night in keeping with the festival’s leave-no-trace ethos.
It’s not just ramshackle huts and tents, though: there’s infrastructure within Black Rock City, and most impressive of all is the airport (perhaps airstrip is more accurate) that welcomes VIP arrivals and private aircraft. Located right next to the city itself, this amenity allows hassle-free travel for those in need of time-saving solutions, making it one of the world’s most unique (and short-lived) private airports.
How Do I Arrive?
First things first: arrivals at the airport are restricted to those with valid Burning Man tickets only. This makes sense, as there’s no reason to fly to this remote area of desert unless you’re partaking in the art installations, fire dancing, and other festivities that take place. With your ticket secured before arrival (they can’t be purchased on site), you’re now able to land.
To book a flight, you have multiple options. You can either book individual seats or entire aircraft – perfect for group travel – through Burner Express, the festival’s in-house airline which handles transfers from Reno, Oakland and Burbank. Alternatively, you can keep it in the family with Skyllence and have them arrange for your premium travel arrival to prevent you from having to navigate multiple providers. They’ll liaise with the airport to secure your arrival, handling the logistics so that you can focus on planning for the event.
What Kind of Aircraft Will I Arrive In?
It’s pretty obvious that the dusty runways of Black Rock City Airport aren’t capable of handling the kinds of arrivals that might grace the tarmac at JFK. Instead, passengers arriving at Burning Man do so inside turboprops and light aircraft – nimbler, more agile private jet rentals that are capable of landing in the rough-and-ready surrounds of the festival.
Direct flights are off the menu, then, but that’s not to say that external private charter providers are without merit. Flying with Skyllence will see you head to Reno or other surrounding airports in your larger private aircraft before disembarking for a short shuttle to the festival in a lighter model. This means you get the best of both worlds: the comfort and convenience of large VIP travel solutions, paired with the flexibility of a turboprop.
Your other option is to organise a Skyllence charter to a nearby airport and then use the festival’s own aircraft carrier for the final leg of your journey. The downsides here are obvious: shuttling between providers can be confusing and time-consuming, so why not let Skyllence handle the whole trip?
What Can I Take?
If you do fly through Burning Man’s exclusive travel provider, then be aware that the Burner Express has stringent luggage restrictions. Because of the nature of the restrictions at the airport that only allow small planes, passengers are limited to just one piece of luggage, weighing a maximum of 25 pounds. That’s just 11.3kg in which to cram all of your Burning Man outfits – attending Burning Man nude is suddenly making a lot more sense! Burner Express Air passengers to/from Reno are allowed up to 3 additional bags not exceeding 30 pounds (13.6 kg) each; to/from Oakland – 1 additional bag. Each bag costs $100, but beware: no additional luggage is allowed for passengers flying to/from Burbank.
For those more sartorially inclined, where radical self-expression takes the form of a huge wardrobe and a suitcase the size of a car, don’t worry. The limitations of the festival’s in-house airline can be overcome quite simply: contact Skyllence. They can organize your arrival on the airstrip at Burning Man, leaving you free to keep seats empty for luggage, revel in the space you’re afforded, and pack the kitchen sink if need be!
What Do I Do When I Land?
The airport itself is situated around a mile outside of town, and there are strict rules that dictate that no personal transport is permitted to pick up or drop off passengers. While it might seem that the luxury travel options here become limited, consider one simple truth: you’ve already arrived. The Burning Man airport is as much a part of the festival itself as its famous temple, so taking your time is no bad thing.
Many choose to simply walk or cycle the short distance to the heart of Black Rock City, taking in the sights and sounds of the hundreds of theme camps through which they pass along the way. For those with mobility issues, who have a lot of luggage, or who would simply prefer not to walk, the airport operates a shuttle bus approximately once every hour that will take passengers to where they need to be.
The final option is perhaps the most in keeping with the festival’s ethos: hitch a ride on a mutant vehicle. Finding a fellow burner with room too spare could be the start of a lasting friendship, or you might never meet again – that’s the beauty of the event. There’s no better way to get into the spirit of things than your first act on the scorched dirt being one of impromptu gathering and service sharing.
What’s Available in the Airport?
In terms of what to look out for in the airport at Burning Man, the list is quite small. There’s no premium lounge, duty-free, or check-in desk here. Instead, there are three main components to the Burning Man Airport: dust, dust, and more dust. The unique nature of the world’s only non-military pop-up airport means that it’s basic, rudimentary and straightforward. In my mind, that’s not a negative, as you can be sure you won’t be sat waiting for hours for your gate to open.
Instead, for your return flight, simply arrive around 45 mins beforehand, wander through the facility, and then board your plane, ready to leave. When arriving, it’s even easier: touch down, disembark, collect your tickets and get your burn on. If only everything were so simple!
How Much Does It Cost?
Ultimately, the principles of radical self-reliance, leaving no trace, decommodification and abandoning commercialisation in all its forms only extend so far. Admin fees still have to be paid, and even a cursory glance at the ticket prices for the event itself indicates that nothing’s entirely free. For arrivals to Burning Man Airport, a small gate use fee of $60 is required to keep things ticking over. A worthwhile sacrifice for the comfort provided by arriving via private air charter.
Get Your Burn On
There you have it: everything you need to know to make sure that your private jet charter arrives at the Burning Man Airport in style, and that you can look forward to a luxury travel service on return after your days in the dirt. Now that you’re clued in, contact Skyllence to arrange the specific details of your trip and get on with the crucial business of selecting outfits, refining your performance art, and working on your fire dancing moves before burn night!
“Burning Man is a unique opportunity for us to help clients by organising custom solutions that can navigate the otherwise tricky logistical problem posed by a pop-up airport” says Vilma Vaitiekunaite, CEO of Skyllence. “We’ve coordinated with the team at Black Rock Airport before, and it’s always a pleasure to assist passengers in landing and enable them to get the most out of what is often a once-in-a-lifetime event. We can’t wait to help you get your burn on by augmenting that experience with the best luxury travel in the business!