Private aircraft charters have seen renewed growth during the past decade. Increasing numbers of people are turning to this option for their occasional and routine trips alike. In fact, the cost of renting a private jet has decreased significantly; private jet travel is no longer reserved for A-list celebrities and Fortune 500 businesspeople, reports Rachel Smith.
Despite the usually high price tag, some people find creative ways to enjoy this experience in a cost efficient fashion. Typically, this involves booking a seat on an empty flight that’s going to pick up passengers, or joining a flight with other travellers in order to split the expense of the trip. There are also services that are similar to an ”Airbnb of private jets”, such as JetASAP or Flight Club. Let us begin by outlining the pros and cons of renting a private aircraft vs taking a commercial flight.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FLYING PRIVATE VS FLYING COMMERCIAL
The time savings offered by private jet charters is their first significant benefit, which is what drives most people to use them. And for good reason—while you must get to the airport at least an hour before a commercial flight, you only need to be there 10 minutes before if you travel by private jet, and you will not have to wait long for takeoff because there are not a hundred other passengers to board. You’ll also avoid the lengthy lines at the airport; simply hop on the plane with your friends and take off in a few minutes.
Now, surely there are some of us who truly relish the entire experience and have a blast simply soaking up the airport vibe. This is particularly true for trips in first and business class, which frequently have access to opulent airline lounges at major airports across the world. If this is the case for you and you have time to take advantage of the lounge’s amenities before your journey, you could feel that a private jet falls short in that experience. But, the private jet itself will more than make up for it!
Whether you choose to travel private or commercial, do remember that you must still pass through security and submit your destination information. On the bright side, the pandemic saw a surge in private jet travel precisely because it allowed passengers to bypass many travel regulations.
Regarding cabins...The demand for comfort is another factor driving an increase in private jet usage. The convenience of having your own jet is a major upgrade in quality of life. A private plane is among the most luxurious things in the world and charter firms are dedicated to offering excellent service, so they tend to be highly receptive to client requirements. The crew can arrange for you to hold a meeting, get some much-needed rest, or even throw a party while on board.
The food, beverages, and ambiance can all be planned when you charter a jet. But when you fly commercially, your options are constrained by the airline’s choices for that day, for example, as far as the menu goes. The silver lining here is, especially on first class flights, that the cuisine is often prepared by a renowned chef, so you might find some pleasantly surprising dishes!
Alas, even on first and business class flights, you’re ultimately flying with strangers and can’t really choose who you surround yourself with for the duration of your trip. On a charter plane, passengers can spend the entire journey as they choose, with little interruptions, and genuinely enjoy their own space. For this reason, a lot of businesspeople, public officials, and celebrities opt for private jet travel.
For High Net Worth Individuals, paying for high-priced charter flights is not a problem - it’s an investment. Startups, small firms, and individuals might not always be able to afford the price, though. Typically, private flights are substantially more expensive, regardless of whether you want to rent a jet on your own or through a service. The average private jet flight will cost at least $2,000 per hour for a smaller aircraft, and up to as much as $20,000 per hour for large planes and long journeys.
WHEN DO YOU OPT FOR PRIVATE, AND WHEN FOR COMMERCIAL?
Of course, traditional - that is commercial - flights are significantly less expensive than a privately hired aircraft. If you choose a commercial airline, you may fly practically anywhere in the globe for the same price as a one-hour private jet journey. Commercial flights are your best bet if cost is more important to you than comfort.
Now, here’s another distinction. Chartered plane passengers must coordinate every aspect with their provider, from the choice of plane to the time of departure, the route, the destination and the amenities, whereas commercial airline passengers can book flights and its specifics in minutes, whether online, by phone or in person, often even as early as the day before departure. In this regard, planning your private jet flight might prove more work than simply booking a first class ticket.
Private aircraft also tend to be far more weather-dependent than commercial aircraft because they are typically much smaller. When flying in bad weather, they also encounter higher turbulence. Small aircraft cannot take the risk of flying during storms, unlike large aircraft. If this occurs, there is a chance that your flight will be rescheduled or cancelled. If you need to get somewhere quickly and the weather has not been great for a few days, you might want to think about flying first or business class.
However, in most cases, the aforementioned disadvantages of flying private are heavily outweighed by the advantages, as the charter jet industry has considerably developed in the last couple of decades, and it is now faster, better equipped, and more affordable than ever!
When choosing your flight, whether private or commercial, the airline company also plays a major role in the quality of your experience. This is why we recommend making sure to opt for a reputable provider. Of course, you should do your own research based on your location and needs, but here are the biggest companies operating North America, for example:
>Delta Air Lines
Now, one must keep in mind that everything is not always about them, their convenience, and their time. Reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses, which are contributing to global warming, is an important aspect of the current energy transition. A significant portion of these global emissions is caused by air travel, which has been steadily growing in the last 3 decades. The carbon footprint of each transatlantic trip is equal to 60% of the annual emissions produced by each passenger’s use of a car, and private jets ”are 5 to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes,” according to Transport & Environment.
In order to combat the growing pollution and make good on their promise of reaching zero net emissions of CO2 by 2050, the airlines are relying heavily on inventions being developed in the near future, such as more fuel-efficient aircraft that will be powered by green hydrogen or electricity.
In the meantime, it is good to remain mindful of the carbon footprint that private jet use inflicts upon the world. The main perpetrators of it happen to be a number of celebrities that contribute greatly to the carbon footprint with excessively frequent flights. According to a report on CO2 emissions from celebrity private aircraft published in July 2022 by analysts at marketing agency Yard, Taylor Swift’s jet completed 170 flights between January 1 and July 19 alone. Taylor Swift’s team responded to the allegations by claiming that since she occasionally lends her jet, she was not the one to make all the 170 trips.
At the same time, Drake came under fire lately when it was revealed that his private plane was routinely flown for short distances, including a 14-minute trip. The rapper insisted that he was not on the aircraft at the time and that it was simply being transferred to the airport where it is parked. However, the use of private jets by celebrities lately remains under close scrutiny; among the top polluters are Floyd Mayweather, Steven Spielberg, Kim Kardashian, and Mark Wahlberg. While these celebrities could allegedly be too excessive with their frequent flights, there is no guilt in enjoying your travel in the comfort of a chartered aircraft.
One way or another, while there are pros and cons for both commercial and private flights, the experience of traveling in a private jet is one of unequaled luxury, flexibility, privacy and comfort. Consider your budget, needs and circumstance: sometimes, longer flights might be more advantageous in first class, while multiple shorter trips will prove to be more cost efficient in a chartered jet. Overall though, nothing can compare to the luxury of your very own aircraft for a few hours. EG