Anthony L. Thurston’s biggest challenge was learning the business of private aviation and understanding its clientele. Without startup capital, he built this company one relationship at a time through strategic partnerships. Today he has clients across America as well as the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. There aren’t too many black professionals in the world of aviation, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any at all. While some have dreams of being flown in a private jet, Anthony Thurston had a vision of owning a private jet company. Mission accomplished.
Dream Flights International, Inc., not only provides private aviation charter services to clientele worldwide. They also offer the most flexible jet card program in private aviation services today, The Plus Card. With a team that places customer service and comfort at the center of your experience with a strong commitment to professional integrity and social innovation. Their Mission – Mission: To fly the world while changing it.
Principle Chairman and CEO Anthony L. Thurston specializes in creating and building programs and services for clients and corporations. In 1999, Mr. Thurston founded Dream Flights Luxury Travel, Inc. which later became Dream Flights International, Inc. Dream Flights International utilizes a network of 4000 pre-qualified aircraft adhering to standards higher than required by the FAA and charter out of 30,000 airports worldwide.
How long have you been in business? We are celebrating our 20th year this month.
Did I always want to own an airline company? Actually, no. Although I have always loved aviation, however, my favorite video game as a child was. My passion for private aviation was truly divinely inspired. Dream Flights originally began as a jet helicopter company. The divine inspiration came when God would not allow me to rest for a period of 30+ hours. I remember writing one line at a time on a legal pad not knowing how is it all connected. Then once He finally allowed me to sleep, when I woke up to read what was written, the business model had changed to private jet from helicopters and seemly everything I need to know at the time was supernaturally downloaded into me. Subsequently, I reached out of one of my first two mentors, the 1st is a real estate mogul who owns properties in all but 6 states; who introduced me to the 2nd who was a former Air Force One pilot who flew President Ford. The rest was history as they say…
How does your family support you as a CEO? My family has been very supportive, particularly my wife of 31 years. As an Entrepreneur? Initially, they thought I was crazy, although polite! LOL Looking back now…I understand their perspective considering I was pursuing something that had never been done before. My grandmother taught me that family was the most important thing. However, I sacrificed a great deal of “family time” with my children building this company. That’s probably why I cherish my time with my grandchildren today…a second chance if you will.
What is the scope of Dream Flights Intl? Dream Flights is a bespoke private aviation company that charters out of 30K airports worldwide utilizing a network of 4K private jets that adhere to safety requirements higher than the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) standards. We also offer chauffeured ground transportation on 70+ countries and Executive Protection Services upon request. Although we charter aircraft on-demand, our Plus Card (our Jet Card) is the most fiscally and socially responsible means to fly privately.
How do you meet the needs of the community? The DNA of Dream Flights is what we call Social Innovation. Our working definition is the strategic use of our time, talents, and treasures towards the increase of civil society. There is a perception that the top 1 percent of earners are disconnected from the remaining 99%. We understand that what is considered a luxury to some is a necessity for the business success of others. Our private jet solutions reconcile this perceived disconnect by providing a luxurious necessity that automatically funds civil society by recycling dollars from the normal lifestyle purchases of the financially elite. We do this in a networked fashion that effortlessly leverages consumer spending that was going to happen anyway. The result is an entire lens of impactful funding that finances organizations and communities before-tax dollars are ever applied.
How do you see the Company changing in two years? We are focusing on creating group experiences that will encourage other individuals and businesses to join our Social Innovation Initiative. This new consortium, will not only change our present circumstance but positively impact the lives of our children and communities in the future. Collectively becoming Agents of Change that will influence our Government, Education, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business in general. Banding together not only to fund philanthropy but seeding entrepreneurial programs, and the higher aspirations of our youth; the scholars, attorneys, physicians, and business leaders of tomorrow!
What CEO’s do you look up too? Chris Gardner (the story from the Pursuit of Happiness played by Will Smith) naturally was and is still an inspiration to this day. Creating something out of nothing through perseverance is always motivational. Gary Vaynerchuk also inspires me. His business concepts provide invaluable insight on how to navigate the digital marketplace.
What is your Company’s Culture and how important is it to you and your staff? Our core values are Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Caring and Faith. We keep these values at the forefront of everything we do.
What do you want young people or your children to take away from your accomplishments? Anything that you want in life you have to work for it. Be consistent and dedicated to your craft. No matter how long it takes to stay the course and you’ll be rewarded in the end. Love unconditionally without judgment and leave the world a better place than you found it.
Listen to our Podcast with Anthony L. Thurston
Contact Dream Flights International
6700 Woodlands Parkway Suite 230-208 | The Woodlands, Texas 77382 | (888) 328-0855
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