Booking a private plane doesn’t have to be just for the super-rich. In fact, you can just be moderately well off.
As crazy as it seems, getting your own plane to get across the country kinda actually makes sense if you have enough friends tagging along. Kinda. Also, remember that booking a commercial flight requires its own skillset if you want a cheap fare.
How hard is it to book a private flight?
First things first. It’s not easy booking these excursions which may be the sole reason celebs have personal assistants if only to just handle this task.
According to Simple Charters, it takes the average customer over 14 hours of work with 42 emails just to book a private flight!
No way around that one, as the charter operators that make up the private airline industry in its entirety control these bookings, and every single private flight is flown by one of these charter operators.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re flying on NetJets, FlexJet, Wheels Up, SentientJet, or one of the many brokers. All flights must be operated by a charter operator.
There is a simpler method, which is booking a semi-private flight like JSX Airlines offers, including getting you to a workation package in Las Vegas. Easy in and out from their private terminals but note that the flights are currently limited to being mostly on the west coast.
Getting a quote for a private flight.
Now that you’ve surrendered to the idea of booking a private flight, you’ll be spending a lot of time emailing just to get a quote, So this gets even more fun.
You’ll get a pdf about 3 pages long with your quote – and all the private charters send them this way, it’s the industry standard.
When asking for a quote, be sure to mention how many are in your posse.
What can I take on a private flight?
You’ll also want to mention how much luggage and golf clubs you’ll have and don’t lie about your weight. No one wants that written on their tombstone.
As long as you meet the weight criteria, you can pretty much bring along anything legal, even your dog. As an alternative, why not just get your own license to fly? A good start would be attending these aviation expos and shows that run all year long.
Questions you’ll want to ask before taking a private flight.
Ultimately, you’ll get a quote – yes on a pdf- and you’ll want to comb through it asking some basic questions for this type of excursion;
- Are taxes included?
- Are landing fees included?
- Are there additional fees for pilots?
- Are there two pilots?
- Are there fuel surcharges?
- What is the cancelation policy?
- What is the safety rating of the aircraft?
- What happens if the aircraft has unexpected maintenance?
- What FBO (Fixed Base Operators, basically your private terminal) are we going to use?
Why not take a helo to the airport?
What’s the cost of a private flight?
At this point you’re totally on board with the idea of flying on a private plane and all your closest friends promised to pay while drinking heavily with you the week before – so you know you are good to go. A good distraction from how you ended up together on an expensive jet would be traveling with a drop-dead gorgeous Gucci backpack.
Booking private in a mid-size plane allows you to cover greater distances and reach higher speeds. So if you’d like to get from Los Angeles to Washington in a five-and-a-half-hour journey with six passengers on board, the sleek mid-size Learjet 40/40XR will cost around $30,000.
Hey, we said this kinda makes sense. But if you knew the expectation for your arrival at the airport is only 15 minutes before your flight, NOW this is all starting to make sense. Crazy sense in fact. Do you know what else makes sense? You can bring aboard all the healthy foods you want to snack on.
Air Charter has a good breakdown of some flights and costs, along with how many passengers you’ll need to round up.
Inside the luxurious Learjet 40/40XR
What are Empty Leg Flights?
Now we’re getting cheap- er. When a charter books a one-way flight, the aircraft is sometimes empty when it returns to base or goes on to its next departure airport.
This is called an empty leg flight. You can book this low-cost private jet service for an extraordinarily low cost; up to 75% off the average price of a private jet charter. No need to be the proud owner of one of the most expensive cars in the world, you can still live the Jetsetty life taking this route.
Prices vary depending on the aircraft and journey. Here’s a great tip to save on your private jet cost: rent a plane as a group. If the charge for an empty leg flight is, say, $8,000, with six people on board the cost of a flight on a private jet could be as low as $1,300 per passenger.
But you’ll need to be flexible in your departures. Most of these private charters will let you set up email alerts to know when these deals are available along with the pricing.
Just an FYI if you’d rather be on a larger commercial flight, you can still get that private plane concierge service found on some luxury airlines like Lufthansa.
Still, there’s one more great thing about booking a private plane – you can bring your pet along!