Private jets are no longer just for the rich and the famous. With options becoming increasingly accessible, flying by private jet is slowly becoming a preferred option for those who want to avoid the crowds and fly quickly and comfortably with their loved ones, even their furry family members. Read on to learn the pros, the cons, and a few of the many ways you can fly by private jet on your next family vacation.
Seriously. Fly By Private Jet?
Ah, the uniqueness of travel…Some of us like large cruise ships while others prefer sailboats. Some prefer resorts with all the bells and whistles while others like boutique hotels with little to do but be well taken care of. But, it doesn’t matter what you like, we all have to get there first. But, here, too you have many options to choose from.
Do you drive, take the train, or fly? For us, it is all about comfort. We believe that arriving ready to relax or play is a must. Not one minute should be wasted on the ground. Which means, getting there is something we believe is worth the investment. And one way to do that is via private jet.
When you think about actually flying on a private jet, you most likely think of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But, that’s not necessarily how it is today. We’re not talking about commuter seats on private or small planes. And we’re not talking about “charter” flights.
We are talking flying by private jet today.
Pros to flying by private jet
- You have many options
- Most of the time you stay out of major airports and avoid crowds
- You avoid the usual airport security
- You get where you need when you need to
- You can fly with your four-legged best friend
- Cushy seats and plenty of legroom
- Having the size plane that fits the job
Cons to flying by private jet
- Not much people watching at the airports – okay, I’m stretching here just to find another con.
THE MANY WAYS TO FLY BY PRIVATE JET
Owning your own jet and crew is a truly large investment and has its own constraints. Except for an elite few, actually owning your own jet doesn’t make sense cost-wise. The expense for a used plane may start at $500,000 and can run you up to $10 million, not to mention management, upkeep, maintenance, interior, and so much more. Then, add the cost of getting up in the air by having a crew, fuel, and landing and airport fees. For the average traveler, the cost and crew flight regulations often alone do not make it worth the full cost of owning your own jet.
But that doesn’t mean you have to rule out flying by private jet!
Private jet charter or hire is booking a specific aircraft for a specific journey. The price you pay is for the charter of the whole aircraft, not per passenger. Chartered flights are becoming more and more popular given that there is no upfront commitment. You basically pay as you go.
Pick the right plane for the right trip and pay for exactly what you want. Except when you luck out for those fortunate flights when the private jet needs to move aircrafts around and you get a larger plane with a flight attendant unexpectedly. It’s like getting a business class to first class upgrade on an international flight..only better.
How much is a Private Jet?
Again, the cost is dependent on the flight hours and type of plane requested. You can expect to pay between $1200 to $8500 per flight hour. Remember this is per hour and NOT per person, so you can split the cost between a group of passengers. (What a way to splurge for your multi-generational family vacation, right?)
This is the most frequently and popular type of flying private. Fractional ownership is exactly like it sounds like. The consumer buys a percentage of the plane and your ability to use it is based on the number of hours based on the percent you own. Think of it like a private jet “timeshare.” There is a contract that must be sold ahead of time and you pay for your ownership before your contract starts.
What is difficult about fractional ownership are the restrictions. Restrictions include the type of jet which may restrict the number of passengers that fly with you as well as some peak time restrictions. Be sure the contract matches what you want.
For example, making sure you can have a jet within 4 hours and usually 2 days for international. In addition to your initial ownership cost, you will also incur annual management fees and flight costs based on your contract.
Companies like NetJets and Flight Options are some of the most popular fractional ownership options.
A couple of things to consider on fractional ownership. On many of the shorter legs and smaller jets, the policy is “serve yourself.” Yes, you have the plane to yourself and everything is there, but there is no flight attendant. Also, the upfront costs are not all-inclusive, and many people buy a couple of fractional ownerships to meet their flying needs.
So, what Does Factional Ownership Cost?
The most frequently purchased share is a sixteenth (or 50 flight hours), and the plane generally comfortably seats 6-7 people. This type of arrangement will have a contract starting at $350,000. In addition, the monthly management fee is over $7000, plus an additional fee per flight hour, generally starting at around $1,500 per hour.
We see the contract plus monthly fee as a convenience fee. For 3 years, this is around $600,000. The flight time is realistic when you think about a family of four who prefers to fly first class, and due to work and other reasons change the flight days and times. A three-hour flight for 4 to 7 passengers, estimated cost is $4500.
Jet Cards are similar to a fractional ownership but are available in smaller amounts. This is more like a jet hour debit card. Pay an initial ownership fee for the year, which will includes your flight hours. Generally, Jet Cards start with 25 hours.
For newcomers to private jets, this is often a good test to see how you like it as the contract is generally just a year. Often Jet Cards carry more restrictions on flight availability based on your contract. A newcomer to Jet Cards is Delta Private Jets. They offer a 10-hour package with a ton of flexibility.
Credit Card Jet Services
We are thrilled to see that many elite credit cards are offering Private Jet Programs. American Express, for example, partnered with the Delta private Jet Program. Private banking credit cards have even gotten in on flying private. These elite credit cards offer partner options for both purchasing a Jet Card and/or using the private jet services.
Jet Sharing and Empty Legs
More and more companies are selling what they call empty seats or empty legs, basically flights scheduled to fly empty, usually back to their home base. Unfortunately, this really only works if you are flexible in your travel plans. Finding a flight specific to your journey can be difficult and it is only one way. Plus, if the flight is delayed or canceled, you no longer have a way to get to your destination.
That said, more and more apps and websites are getting in on jet sharing and empty legs. Just search empty legs and you’ll find a whole list. You can sign up and receive emails with the legs they have available and the cost. We see this as a way for companies to make a little money while moving planes around.
With so many options flying private is becoming more and more accessible, where will you fly private first?
I prefer to travel by a private plane especially this time of the pandemic, it’s safer because you can avoid the crowd.
Private Jetscape says
Thanks for the content, isn’t it interesting that demand is increasing as a result from this pandemic?
Angela Waterford says
In my opinion, I think that flying by private jet is very convenient. I think a chartered jet would be great to have, but I’ll try to see if they’re better than fractional ownerships by looking at the comparisons online. This way, I can pay for the services exactly as I want and need from the company that offers them.
Frank Larry says
I was a long time lurker and read the article and must say is in place.:)
One thing is for sure that today as me there are many people who utilize the private jet charter brokerage.
Max Jones says
My wife and I have always wanted to try and find a private jet charter broker to travel through, so I found your article really interesting! I think that we’re going to fly by private jet charter this summer, and see what we think before we contemplate buying in with fractional ownership like you said. If we really enjoy the experience we have with a private jet charter broker, I think that finding a place we could have fractional ownership to be able to travel whenever would be a great perk for us! Thanks for the information!
Zachary Tomlinson says
You made a really good point that choosing to fly by a private plane is all about preference. I would think that it would be important to find the right plane charter that is affordable and can cater to your needs. If I was looking at traveling, I would consider a private plane charter.
Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields says
Great post but I suspect private jets are still out of reach for most of us mere mortals.
Dana Zucker & Sherry Wernicke, Luxe SheBuysTravels says
Thank you Lyn. There are so real secrets we will share soon on empty legs and other ways to fly private that are sometimes cheaper than booking commercial when you have a group flying.