They tickle! The delicate bubbles from the champagne you’re sipping burst, sending a pleasant spray of effervescent wine up your nose. It sends you giggling. The air hostess leans over you to put a blanket over your lap and rearrange, for the umpteenth time, the plate of smoked salmon and Beluga caviar canapés that accompany your Dom Perignon.
Well, that’s the private jet charter dream anyway.
Of course, that doesn’t cover all possible scenarios. For instance, flying on a turboprop plane is still flying private, but it is unlikely to come close to that premium private jet experience you’ve been dreaming up in your head.
But it doesn’t matter. Even if sipping a glass of Dom Perignon and nibbling on dry toast topped with smoked salmon and Beluga caviar as you recline on a seat wrapped in expensive, hand-rubbed leather is the stuff of dreams, flying private isn’t.
Flying private is an excellent experience, something that deserves a place on anyone’s travel bucket list. And because of the pandemic, private jet charter has become more than an unwarranted extravagance or luxury. It has also become somewhat of a necessity.
Why Fly Private?
The concern for health and safety has become one of the major reasons people now opt to fly private. Then, of course, convenience and comfort remain two of the chief reasons for chartering a plane.
1. Flying private is safer
In a private jet, you can limit your potential exposure to COVID-19 and other pathogens. First, you can limit the number of people traveling with you. Next, you don’t have to share the same air with strangers – apart from the cabin and flight crew, of course, but that can’t be helped.
You travel with people you know – friends, family, colleagues. You can make sure everyone has been vaccinated, for instance. You can even insist on a negative PCR test before you allow anyone on board.
Chartering a plane also means you can minimize the number of contact points – i.e., potential vectors for infection. For instance, you don’t have to wait in the terminal or at the gate with the rest of the people who have to catch a commercial flight; private charter flights have their terminals. You also don’t have to wait in line for check-in, boarding, deplaning, and baggage claim.
Flying private also means you can avoid busy airports altogether. You can depart from and land at regional airports instead. That reduces the number of contact points even further. Flying private is convenient
2. Flying private is convenient
Private jet charters are more convenient than commercial flights because they let you set your schedule.
You can leave for the airport without rushing. There’s no need to wake up when it’s still dark out and find a taxi to bring you to the airport, so you can check in for a flight that doesn’t leave for at least another three hours.
And when you charter a flight, you can land closer to your destination instead of landing at a major airport and then driving for hours to reach your final destination. It’s nonstop all the way, too, unless, of course, you book a short-range plane for a long-range flight. In that case, the aircraft will need to touch down at least part of the way for refueling.
3. Flying private is comfortable
You can have the plane all to yourself. You can take a nap throughout your flight, and there’ll be no wailing from a baby that will disturb you; that is, unless it’s a baby you willingly let on board, of course.
Nobody will be fully reclining their seat onto your lap, and you can come and go as you please without annoying the passenger on the aisle seat. You also have the toilet to yourself and your party. It’s clean and is likely to remain that way for the rest of your flight.
The Cost of Flying Private
Chartering a private jet does not come cheap, however. There’s no going around the fact that flying private is much more expensive than flying commercial. After all, you are paying for an entire plane rather than just a seat on that plane.
The cost of an aircraft charter is calculated on an hourly basis. Jets can cost from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per hour. A very light jet with a short flight range can cost around USD 2,300 per hour, while a VIP jet can cost north of USD 20,000 per hour.
The per-hour cost of a chartered flight will depend primarily on the size, capacity, and type of aircraft you’re chartering and the distance you’re flying.
Getting the Most Value out of a Private Jet Charter
While flying on a private jet charter is expensive, there are ways you can maximize the value you can get out of a charter flight.
1. Maximize capacity and range
Choose a plane with the exact capacity you need to pay only for the capacity you can use. And don’t charter a heavy jet when a light jet will do as well.
2. Book one-way flights
If you’re staying for a few days at your destination, you might want to book two one-way flights: one to go to your destination and another for your return home. If you book a round-trip flight, you would have to pay for the charter crew’s per-diem and accommodation because they’ll have to spend a number of nights and days waiting for you.
3. Book empty legs
You can also save money on chartered flights by booking empty private jets on their return flights. The return leg of their journey will cost a private jet the same whether they have passengers or not, so they’d much rather fly with passengers onboard to make a bit of their flight cost back.
Of course, booking an empty leg flight may not be as convenient as a private jet charter you yourself booked because you’d have to follow the private jet’s schedule.
4. Use regional airports
If you can, you should also skip commercial airports in favor of regional airports. Regional airports can cost 90 percent less than commercial airports, so this could help you reduce the cost of your private charter significantly.
Try Flying Private
Flying private is one of the best experiences in the world, as you’ll have the plane all to yourself and the chosen few in your party. That – plus the relative safety it provides in light of the pandemic – can make chartering a private jet worth it.
At the very least, it’s an experience worth trying. If you’re going on a trip to a five-star luxury wellness resort destination, why not go all out and charter a flight for a truly one-of-a-kind, stress-free vacation?