Seats as comfortable as your armchair, gourmet food, non-existent baggage restrictions... Who wouldn't want to have their own plane?
Flying by private jet is synonymous with rock legends, Hollywood stars and multi-million dollar sportsmen – as well as great tycoons and heads of state, of course. It is, without a doubt, the fastest and most luxurious way to travel great distances, a dream for those who travel often and for whom business class is ultimately insufficient. Beyond the obvious luxury they have, there are more advantages that will make flying by private jet your next goal – and as we will see later, it is not as unaffordable as it may seem.
Some advantages of private jets
Forget about long lines and waiting at airports. When you fly in a private jet you just have to arrive a few minutes before the scheduled time and get on the plane, it's that easy. In small airfields you can even get directly to the door of the jet by car. Since most of these planes are small, they can take off and land at small airfields closer to the destination cities, making the trips shorter. All the disadvantages of flying here simply don't exist. Last but not least, private jets are faster than commercial planes, with some models capable of flying at near-sound speeds.
Do you need to travel in a couple of hours? No problem, your private jet will be waiting for you with everything ready. And if you're stuck in traffic, don't worry, it won’t take off without you. Besides, bad weather is not a concern in this case, since this kind of planes can change the flight route faster than usual, looking for alternative destinations to land.
This is the most obvious one, right? No more suffering from reduced legroom, being able to eat real food – in some cases you can order your favourite dish in advance – and even sleep in a bed if the flight is long. Don't you like to travel light? On private jets there are hardly any baggage restrictions – ideal for musicians who must travel with delicate instruments – and if you have the proper documentation, your pet can accompany you.
Private jet cost to fly – Who can afford it?
Now that we know what the advantages of flying by private jet are – and they're pretty great – it's time to talk about the main disadvantage: its price. Very few people can afford to own their own plane: the cheapest ones start at about $1.5 million, plus maintenance, where a flat tire costs $2,000. But there are other, somewhat cheaper alternatives – though always more expensive than a commercial flight, of course.
It is the most appropriate option for those who fly occasionally or who want to feel what it is like to fly in a private jet. You simply pay for the trip, without any additional commitment. In this case the fare is usually by the hour, the cheapest fare being about $1,000. The availability of a particular aircraft at any given time can be more complicated, but the rest of the advantages remain.
They work like a prepaid card, where you book a certain number of flight hours at a set price. You can even select the type of plane that best suits your needs, and availability is usually within a few hours. For a light jet, a 25-hour card varies between $120,000 and $150,000.
Empty leg flights
When a private jet has to travel to a specific airport to be available for its next route, it is full of empty seats that can be booked with a discount of up to 40%. In these cases, the destination and the schedule should be the same that you want, since you cannot decide on them, but if they suit you, they are the best option to live the experience. There are websites such as jetpartner.net that help you find this type of flights.
Can private jets fly internationally?
That is a very reasonable question if we consider that private jets are smaller than commercial planes and therefore carry less fuel. But although most of them are designed for domestic flights of a few hours' duration, there are some medium and large-sized models – with space for up to 18 passengers – that do support long-range international flights.
What is important to keep in mind for this type of travel is that, no matter how private jet is, immigration and customs services must also be carried out. This requires landing at an airport of entry (AOE) that offers such services – small airfields usually do not. Luckily, at most AOEs the process is quick, as it is often the agent himself who goes to the plane to check the passports.
Still thinking about flying by private jet? There's something you should never forget to take with you when you travel, no matter the plane, and it's a travel pillow: make any trip as comfy as possible!
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