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Private jets are more accessible than ever. Here's how to hire one

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

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How to charter a private jet

It's possible to book private charters directly from private jet companies. Travelers can browse through the various options then submit their details, after which a booking agent will make contact with a quote based on fleet availability.

The charter company may have another flight going to the same destination. So if the travelers is comfortable flying with strangers, a shared charter or a "book your own seat" reservation can be significantly cheaper than booking an entire private jet.

Another time-saving option for passengers with no loyalty to any particular service is to go through a charter broker who will use a database like Avinode to see available planes for the passenger's route and travel times.

If going down this route it's a good idea to vet the safety records of the charter company. The regulations with charter services may not be as stringent as with commercial airlines.

How much does private jet travel cost

Travel can cost as little as $100 for a one-hour hop on a business commuter jet or as much as $40,000 to have a plane to yourself for a trip across the United States.

Several variables determine how much flying privately costs, chiefly the size of the plane and the number of hours it's used.

  • Light jet (4 to 6 passengers): $4,000 to $5,500

  • Medium jet (6 to 9 passengers): $5,500 to $9,500

  • Heavy jet (16 to 19 passengers): $11,000 to $20,000

A shared charter service means the cost gets split with other travel parties, making private travel relatively more affordable.

The most expensive option is booking a one-way private charter with exclusive use of the plane.

Shared charters might cost $5,000 or less to fly across the United States. Chartering an entire plane can cost $35,000 for the same route.

A third charter option is "booking by the seat" on a small commuter plane that's similar to flying in commercial business class. The seat can cost around $100 for short hops and close to $2,000 for a three-hour flight.

Book by the seat

The cheapest option is "booking by the seat" on a scheduled run on a plane that holds up to 30 passengers in a 2x1 seating pattern.

An upgrade to a premium fare may be needed to reserve a seat in advance and check in multiple bags.

Shared charters and private charters

One way to enjoy a more private experience that can be affordable is by booking a shared charter. With this option, someone charters a plane and sells the empty seats to reduce their total costs.

It will involve flying with strangers, but there are far fewer passengers than commercial flights and the experience can be more luxurious.

Shared charters cost more than booking by the seat but are cheaper than booking an entire plane.

International travel

Chartering a jet for international travel is another option, but it will be more costly. Still, this may be preferred to get between Europe and the United States.

  • Heavy Jet (up to 16 passengers): $76,400 to $86,900

  • Ultra Long Range Jet (up to 18 passengers): $114,700 to $130,400

Chartering a private jet for travel between Latin America and the United States may be necessary as commercial routes are limited.

Save money with empty legs

One fun way to fly privately is searching for "empty leg" flights.

Not every private jet you see in the air has passengers and might be repositioning. As empty legs are essentially non-revenue flights, it's possible to book a seat for up to 75% off the normal charter rate.

It's also possible to be the only passenger on the flight. Travelers should be advised that empty legs may not offer in-flight catering unless by prior arrangeme

Jet membership cards

For anyone planning on flying privately for at least 15 hours per year, buying a membership can be worth the upfront cost.

Travelers avoid the long-term commitments and hefty costs of having fractional ownership while enjoying more predictable charter costs and other privileges.

These cards can help secure fixed flight rates and have guaranteed availability with 24-hour notice.

Like elite airline status, it's common for charter services to offer different membership packages. There are recurring annual fees and some services also charge an initiation fee and monthly fee.

For anyone who has the cash and anticipates flying at least 50 hours per year on private jets for the next few years, investing in fractional ownership could be better than buying a jet card.

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