The Cost of Flying Private

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Updated June 7, 2023

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Flying private is a great way to take a vacation without breaking the bank. Not only are private flights often more affordable than commercial flights, but you can also enjoy your flight in unparalleled luxury. However, before you book a private jet charter there are a few things you need to know about the cost of flying private.

The Different Ways to Fly Private


When it comes to flying private, there are numerous options for you to choose from. Depending on the aircraft, the level of service you're looking for, and the amount of time you have, you can choose from a variety of aircrafts.

Your choice of aircraft will also depend on your personal preference and the type of experience you're looking for. Perhaps you want to experience a unique bird's-eye view of your destination, or maybe you would like to be pampered and fly in the most luxurious aircraft in the sky. Which one is right for you ultimately depends on your needs and your budget.

1. Charter Aircrafts


You can book a private flight with a charter company at any time. By doing so, you're purchasing a seat on a private plane for yourself. The price of a ticket can range from as little as $2,000 per flight hour to as much as $16,000 per flight hour, and this largely depends on the location to which you are travelling, as well as on whether you are renting a single-seat or the entire aircraft.

2. Jet Cards


For a predetermined sum of money (typically beginning at $30,000), a jet card or fraction card allows you to make reservations for a specific number of hours on a private jet. The cost of private jet cards shifts depends not only on the total number of flight hours purchased, but also on the duration of the membership. The ability to make use of a private jet at a significantly reduced cost appeals to many people, which is one reason why these cards are so popular.

3. Membership Programs


A membership program operates in a manner similar to that of a jet card. Instead of loading money onto a card, you invest in a particular fleet of aircraft and a specific set of services provided by individual businesses. Before committing to a membership program, it is critical to do some research and investigation into the various available alternatives. Through comparison shopping, you can choose the most suitable fleet and service package.

4. Fractional Ownership


Between a membership program and full ownership, fractional share ownership falls somewhere in between these two extremes. With fractional programs, you pay a monthly fee in addition to a small charge for each hour of flight time, but in exchange, you get more control over your flight time.

Those who are interested in flying on private jets, but are not interested in spending the millions of dollars required to buy an entire plane, may find it appealing to invest in fractional jet ownership instead of purchasing a plane.

5. Purchase


For those who have significant experience flying private, purchasing a plane outright might be the most advantageous choice. Having complete control over your own travel arrangements is just one of the many advantages that come with owning a plane. Additionally, those who travel at least 75 hours per year should give serious consideration to this option. There is also the option of purchasing a plane and renting it out when you are not using it. You will be able to recoup the initial investment in three to five years.

How Much Does It Cost to Fly Private?


You may be surprised to learn that the average cost to fly private is not as expensive as you may have anticipated. However, the vast majority of the time, you will not earn any airline loyalty status or additional points on your travel credit cards.

If you fly at least 150 hours per year, flying on a private jet may actually be a more cost-effective option than flying commercial. The majority of people who fly on private jets find that chartering their flights is the most efficient option. When you charter a flight, the fee is typically calculated based on the hour.

Furthermore, charter flights are often more cost-effective than private jets because charter flights are scheduled to leave on time and arrive on time, regardless of whether or not the plane is full or even on the tarmac, which isn't the case for private jets. Therefore, the cost of chartering a plane is substantially lower than the cost of chartering a private jet, depending on the size and number of guests.

Smartest Cost-Saving Tips for Your Trip

When it comes to flying private, the most cost-efficient option is to reserve a seat on a charter flight. However, you can reduce your expenses even further on a charter flight.

Compare Charter Jet Prices

When booking seats on a commercial airline, you most likely compared prices - there is no reason not to do so for charter flights too. Even after comparing many different websites, the prices you find may still be a little out of your range. The best thing to do here is to call charter jet companies and ask them for their prices.

Fly "Empty Legs"

Customers who only book a jet for a one-way trip leave it with no passengers for the return trip to its base. This type of flight is known as a "backhaul" or an "empty legs" flight. The operators of the flight will frequently offer a steep discount on the empty leg of the journey in order to avoid the risk of having the plane return empty. Cities that are frequently visited often have return flights with empty legs.

It shouldn't be too difficult to find a flight on the way back to your final destination that is at least fifty percent cheaper than the average fare for a flight between New York, Los Angeles, or Miami. Flights with empty seats aren't the best choice for everyone, but they can be beneficial for certain passengers. If you want to take advantage of one of these deals, you'll need to be able to be flexible with your schedule in order to maximize your chances of doing so. If you are lucky, you can even manage to fly private for the cost of commercial.

Share The Cost of Your Private Jet Charter with Others

You pay for the entire plane when you charter a jet, regardless of the number of passengers on board. Why not split the cost of a flight with other passengers who are going in the same direction as you if there are still plenty of seats available?

This will reduce the cost to fly a private jet per hour. It is recommended that you fly with another group, and then divide the total costs among yourselves. If there are only two or three of you on the flight, the cost of the flight will be higher for each individual passenger. You won't have as much privacy, but think of all the cash you'll save by doing this instead!

Don’t Forget to Tip Your Pilot


As a general rule, pilots who earn their pilot certificates through an approved program, are typically well-paid, and have a good reputation should receive approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the total flight time paid.

In most situations, a tip of 20 percent is appropriate, though some private pilots might be willing to accept higher percentages. Most private pilots make between $75,000 and $95,000 per year, so a 20% tip isn't much. We recommend that pilots be tipped 25% per hour of flight, per passenger.

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