Since Covid hit the world in early 2020, more and more people have been seeking out flying by a private jet charter.
While there was a decrease in demand in April 2020, there has been a strong bounce back of private jet charter flights. Not only is it regular customers who have come back, but new, first time flyers have joined in.
These are customers who are primarily seeking to fly by private jet for health reasons, in addition to the usual time saving and comfort reasons.
Flying by private jet still remains expensive in comparison with other modes of transport. It is cheaper to fly first class or business class. However, many customers have found that it is worth the upgrade.
After having flown private it is hard to go back.
However, looking to fly by private jet for the first time can seem somewhat daunting.
Therefore, this comprehensive guide will take you through the process of chartering a private jet. From companies to use to getting the best deals. From understanding prices to booking it all yourself. This is the comprehensive private jet charter guide.
Please note, this guide will focus on on-demand private jet charter flights only.
Why Fly By Private Jet?
Ask this question to most people and a common answer will be “because it is luxurious!”.
While this is true (see the interior of aircraft like the Falcon 6X), it is not the main reason to fly private.
The reasons to fly by private jet are:
- Save Time
- Control Your Schedule
- Fly to More Destinations
- Increased Safety – E.g. Covid-19
Chances are that if you already fly by private jet you know these reasons. You will have experienced first hand the benefits that a private jet can bring you over commercial travel.
However, if you are new to flying by private jet, some of these reasons may not have crossed your mind.
Time Saving, Schedule & Destinations
Crucially, the primary reason for flying by private jet is the time that it saves. This is partly due to the second and third reason on the list. Control your schedule and fly to more destinations.
If you fly private you choose when and where you leave from. You are not restricted by the times that the airlines choose. Fly when you want.
Additionally, private jets can fly to more airports than commercial airlines. This allows you to fly direct routes to airports that are closer to your final destination.
Airlines choose routes based on popularity. However, since your private jet charter is a one off, you can fly wherever you want.
Additionally, private jets have far shorter take off and landing distances than airliners. This opens up a large number of smaller airports to private jet customers.
For example, in the United States that are around 5,000 available airports. However, less than 500 are served by commercial airlines.
Finally, the key reason for time saving – time spent on the ground. Think back to the last time you flew commercial. How long before departure did you have to arrive? 3 hours. 2 hours. Maybe even 1 hour.
No need to do this for a private jet. Arrive 15 minutes before departure and then you’ll be on your way.
Safety. A part of aviation that you should never compromise on.
The reason that private jets are considered more safe than commercial travel isn’t due to safer aircraft, better crew or anything like that.
Private jets are considered safer than commercial due to viruses like Covid-19.
Flying by private jet you are far less likely to catch a virus. Private jet terminals see far less use with fewer contact points. A private jet has just you and your passengers – no strangers except the crew. Aircraft are wiped down more frequently. Air is fresher within the cabin.
This is a significant reason why some many people have made the switch to private jet charter flights.
You may come across some lists about the benefits of private jet travel that will ignore comfort. That is because is many cases comfort is not a strong enough reason for customers to justify flying private.
However, a benefit of flying by private jet is the increase in comfort.
You have more space than flying in first class given that you have a whole aircraft to yourself. There are no strangers onboard.
On large aircraft you have bedrooms, showers, WiFi and televisions. The aircraft have lower cabin altitudes and quieter cabins.
You can control the temperature, lighting and audio.
Having a flight attendant onboard who will cater to your every need. You can have the food you want when you want.
The luxury and comfort of private jets is truly breathtaking.
To ignore the comfort of a private jet would be ignoring a significant factor that manufacturers spend some much time improving.
Aren’t Private Jets Just for Celebrities?
No. However, celebrities do love them. And for good reason.
Take all the reasons listed above and add in privacy.
Celebrities such as Donald Trump, Kylie Jenner, John Travolta and Mark Cuban all spend over $1 million per year on private jet travel.
However, data from PrivateFly show that the average private jet customer is a 41 year old male. Typically this customer travels with 3 or 4 other passengers.
Additionally, 57% of all private jet charter customers book their flight one week or less before departure.
Given the price of private jet charters, the benefits and the potential of empty legs, private jets are not longer for the ultra rich and C-Suite business executives.
Rather it is for people who need to get somewhere in an efficient, safe and comfortable way.
How Much Is a Private Jet?
The make or break for most private jet journeys.
So far you are sold on flying by private jet. Who wouldn’t be!
However, the biggest obstacle to overcome is price. It is a part of the private jet charter industry that is hard to just stumble across.
No one will give you a clear answer until you start contacting brokers and operators to get prices. Even then you only get given an estimate before you receive firm prices.
Having said that, here is a table that shows the estimated cost per hour of each type of private jet. From propeller aircraft all the way up to converted airliners.
|Aircraft Class||Passengers||Maximum Range||Speed (Knots)||Estimated Price Per Hour|
|Propeller Aircraft||6 – 8||4 hours 30 minutes||300||$2,000|
|Very Light Jets||2 – 4||3 hours 15 minutes||350||$2,300|
|Light Jets||6 – 7||5 hours 30 minutes||450||$2,900|
|Super Light Jets||7 – 8||5 hours 30 minutes||450||$3,300|
|Medium Jets||8 – 9||8 hours 15 minutes||430||$4,100|
|Super Midsize Jets||8 – 10||8 hours 30 minutes||460||$5,500|
|Large Jets||10 – 16||13 hours 15 minutes||500||$7,500|
|Ultra Long Range Jets||12 – 16||17 hours 15 minutes||510||$10,000|
|VIP Airliners||16 – 50||16 hours 30 minutes||480||$18,000|
Of course, these numbers are just estimates.
There are a variety of factors that determine the price of a private jet charter. Additionally, there are a series of variables that affect the cost per hour. To see the cost per hour of all in-production private jets, have a look here.
Having said that, the table above will give you some pretty accurate numbers of how much a journey will cost.
For example, you can tell that a flight from New York to Los Angeles in a medium jet will cost around $22,550 ($4,100 x 5.5). Work out flight time here.
Have a look at some more trip examples:
Where to Book a Private Jet?
At this point you have decided that a private jet is the way to travel. And, most importantly, you can finance the trip.
The next step is how to book your private jet charter. This is where customers can start to get overwhelmed.
Here is where the problem with chartering a private jet.
If you Google “Private Jet Charter”, you get over 54 million results! Out of 54 million results, how do you choose to book with?
Do you contact multiple brokers and play them off against each other? Maybe you ask a friend for a recommendation? Do you look for reviews?
Not to worry. Armed with some basic knowledge you can easily find the best charter for your needs.
Brokers Versus Operators
The first thing to know is the difference between a private jet broker and private jet operator.
Private jet operators are the companies that actually own the aircraft. These are the people that will maintain the aircraft, crew it and organise its schedule.
Private jet brokers, on the other hand, are the middle men between you and the aircraft. The brokers never touch the aircraft, they simply match the customer up with the right aircraft operator.
So, from the Google search results above, the top three are all private jet charter brokers. They do not own the aircraft. They source and arrange the aircraft.
Fly XO, on the other hand, are an operator. They own their fleet of 115 aircraft.
So, which is better? A broker or an operator?
While both have their benefits, for ease and convenience, a broker is generally recommended. They have access to far more aircraft and can operate globally.
Operators are far more restricted to the aircraft that they have on hand and the regions that they can physically access. However, if you know the type of aircraft that you want to fly and the region, going direct to an operator is a great way to save some cash.
To the surprise of many, there are different levels of safety within the private jet charter industry.
Not all operators are equally and, certainly, not all aircraft are equal.
The key safety ratings to know about when chartering a private jet are Argus and WYVERN.
These are two independent bodies that audit private jet operators to verify their safety. Approved operators are then added to their database.
It’s All About the Service
A final factor to consider when selecting your private jet charter company is the service.
The key thing to remember here is that you are the customer. If your contact is avoiding answering questions prior to booking, then they aren’t likely to be answering questions if there is an issue with your flight.
Ultimately it comes down to the level of service that you get from the moment you contact a broker or operator.
Additionally, here is a list of questions to consider asking when booking a private jet.
Recommended Private Jet Charter Companies
In the event that the knowledge described above doesn’t make your private jet booking experience any easier, here is a list of brokers to consider using.
While brokers are typically more expensive than operators, the level of convenience and service is often worth every penny.
Please note that we are not affiliated with any of the following companies. This list is based of customer feedback, safety and quality of service.
Private jet brokers to contact:
If you wish to go direct to an operator, we recommend:
How to Get the Best Deal
One thing that should never be done when flying by private jet is cutting corners.
The risk of always seeking the best deal is that safety will be compromised.
Never book a private jet that compromises safety for price.
The best, safest and easiest way to fly by private jet for cheap is with empty legs. This is when a private jet is already flying somewhere with no passengers onboard. Operators then sell these flights at up to 75% off to earn some money on the flight.
Cheap Private Jet Charter – Cutting Out the Middle Man
In the majority of cases, going direct to the operator will reduce costs, resulting in cheap private jet flights.
Services like these are a comparison service for private jet operators. In many cases this is where your private jet broker will go to find your flights.
However, services like Avinode are subscription based. Therefore, unless you fly regularly it makes more sense to go direct with a broker.
However, as the organisation of a flight will be more DIY you should be able to scoop up some cheap private jet flights.
Which Aircraft is Right for Me?
Aircrafts come in all shapes and sizes. Some can carry up to 19 passengers, while some can only carry 4.
The right aircraft for you will depend heavily on your route and number of passengers onboard. And, as ever, price will be a limiting factor.
Where Can I Fly on a Private Jet?
In theory you can fly anywhere by private jet. If there is a runway you can find a way to get there.
While there are limits around range, take off distance, landing distance, weights, fuel and so on, the right jet can get you there.
Use the map below to see how far a variety of private jets can fly.
Alternative Ways to Fly Private
A private jet charter is not the only way to fly by private jet. However, it is often the best way to get started within the world of private aviation.
Other methods of flying by private jet include flying by the seat, jet cards, fractional ownership, leasing and whole ownership.