Pros and Cons of Chartering a Private Jet?

by Richard Zaher / Sep 30, 2019

Aircraft in the Sky

When you consider chartering a private jet, a variety of benefits spring to mind: tailored service, indulgent luxury, and a glimpse into one of the most opulent ways to travel the world.

However, you must consider the drawbacks alongside the advantages of chartering a private plane. For example, does the cost of your trip justify a private flight? And how long is it going to take to plan the flight?

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of chartering a private jet, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll run through some of the classic positives and negatives of hiring a private jet. This will help you decide whether a private plane rental is right for you.

Pros of Hiring a Private Plane

You can probably see the benefits of chartering a private jet quite easily, but allow us to name some of the major ones for you.

Luxury

When you hire a private jet, we have a feeling that one of the main reasons will be to enjoy the luxurious experience.

Luxury Aircraft Interior
Private jets provide a flying experience second to none.

It can be difficult to describe how it feels to fly private to someone who has never done it. There are numerous benefits of chartering a private jet, including:

  • Unrivaled privacy
  • Customized catering
  • Comfortable leather seats
  • Big-screen TVs (on large jets)
  • On-board wi-fi (available upon request)

These are the kind of amenities you can expect to find on many private jets. But, if you really want to experience a lavish flight, you can go well above and beyond these features.

When you speak to your aviation advisor, you can make any specific requests you have for a luxury aircraft. They’ll know where to look to find the closest fit to your needs.

To get an idea of just how luxurious private jets can be, check out our list of the world’s best presidential aircraft.

Privacy

Executive on Jet Working
When you charter a private jet, you’ll enjoy your own space with no interruptions.

If you’ve flown business or first class in a commercial jet, you’ll know that that there are certain measures taken to try to make your flight more private. For example, there may be a curtain to separate the different sections. Or maybe you’ll have a fancy seat that offers some shielding from other passengers.

But none of that compares to the privacy of a private jet.

You may be asking yourself: how many passengers do I need to fly on a private jet? The answer may be: “fewer than you think.”

Here are the jet categories we offer for charter, along with their typical capacities:

Jet Type PAX
Very Light Jet 2-4
Light Jet 6-7
Super Light Jet 7-8
Midsize Jet 8-9
Super Midsize Jet 8-10
Large Jet 10-16
Ultra Long Range Jet 12-16
VIP Airliners 16-50

When you charter a private jet, you’ll enjoy your own space with no interruptions. The flight team will refer to you by name, and all of the seats can be reserved for your friends, family, and colleagues.

Imagine the difference between driving your own car and taking the bus, and you begin to get the picture.

Accessibility

Private jets are infinitely more accessible than commercial jets. This fact breaks down into two major sections:

  1. Boarding the plane
  2. Landing the plane

First, let’s look at boarding a plane.

When you fly commercial, you usually enter a large, busy airport. There are often hundreds of check-in desks for passengers flying to countries all over the world. You have to arrive hours in advance to line up, receive your boarding passes, and check your luggage.

Everybody famously hates the time it takes to check-in and then go through security at airports. The lines are long, the procedures are stringent, and the whole process leaves you feeling exhausted.

You can avoid all these problems by chartering a private jet. How? It’s because, when you charter a private plane, you effectively get your own airport!

Fixed Base Operator Lounge
VIP Lounge at an FBO. Image Credit: Signature Flight Support.

It’s called a Fixed Base Operation (FBO). It’s a small area that is usually based directly next to a major airport but handles passengers separately. FBOs are reserved for private flights. When you arrive, you can breeze through all of your passport and security checks in minutes – saving you a lot of time and hassle. In many cases, you can even drive right up to your aircraft.

This brings us to the second important point concerning the accessibility of private jets: landing the plane. Chartering a private jet gives you much more flexibility when you want to land your plane. You can, of course, access many commercial airports and FBOs. You can also go to regional airports. On smaller islands or certain resorts, a turboprop aircraft may be the only way to land.

In general, chartering a private plane means you can land in smaller, more obscure regions that commercial planes cannot access. But private flights aren’t just for people traveling to isolated destinations.

For example, only an extremely small portion of the airports in the United States offer commercial airline service. Hiring a private jet opens up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of where you can take off and land.

Personalization

If you like things done a certain way, you’ll understand what a major impact, customization can have. This is true of anything, from the interiors of your home to the clothes you wear and, of course, your experience on a flight.

First of all, flying private means you can choose your own aircraft. If you know you’re going to be working as soon as you land, you might want to catch up on some sleep during your flight. You could, therefore, make sure your aircraft has a full bedroom with an en suite bathroom.

You can customize many aspects of your private jet, including:

  • Aircraft model
  • Size/Pax
  • Catering
  • Amenities

Food is something many customers only really consider once they’ve flown privately. On commercial jets, in-flight meals are infamous for lacking in taste and quality.

Aircraft Interior
Customize your inflight experience

But when you fly privately, dining becomes an unforgettable experience. Make a request with your broker in advance, and they can help accommodate your needs. This could be anything from a halal meal to your favorite type of beer. You could even fly out your own private chef if you like!

The jet itself can be heavily customized, too. This is usually something the owner will do anyway. However, you can benefit from it when you hire that owner’s jet. Your customization needs may include bespoke interiors, luxurious seats, and the latest entertainment systems.

For example, the Gulfstream G500 is ideal for flyers who have business to conduct. Its high-speed wi-fi is up to 30 times faster than many of its rivals.

Emergencies

Imagine showing up at a commercial airline and tell them you need the plane to leave immediately. It’s so far-fetched that you wouldn’t even consider it as an option.

If you have an emergency, you can charter a private jet to anywhere in the world. There are all kinds of emergencies that might require a private jet:

Medical Emergencies

If you’re on a skiing holiday and have a serious accident, you could hire a private jet or helicopter to take you to the nearest hospital. Or a private jet could be used to transport donor organs.

Natural Disasters

In the event of a natural disaster, major airports will usually be closed down. This makes evacuating the city difficult. But private jets can still operate. In the past, ParamountBusiness Jets assisted a couple escaping Sendai following a radiation leak.

Personal Difficulties

There doesn’t have to be a major world incident to justify an emergency. Perhaps you desperately need to get back to a loved one in a hurry. This is another scenario where a private charter jet can help you.

Cons of Hiring a Private Plane

Of course, alongside all the advantages of chartering a private jet lie some disadvantages. It is important for you to consider all aspects of this decision before making it so you know exactly what you are getting into.

Cost

Aircraft on the Ground
Private jets are more expensive but could be advantageous when you consider the value of your time

Hiring a private jet is expensive. If it wasn’t, everybody would do it. And that’s why it’s such a luxury experience.

When you compare the price of a private jet flight to a commercial flight, the former is inevitably going to hit your wallet harder. When people research how to charter a private jet, the price is often their first stumbling block.

But when you think about the cost of chartering a private jet, it’s important to take a few other things into consideration. This includes the value of your time and the existence of empty leg flights.

To demonstrate how the value of your time should factor into your decision, let’s imagine what we call the Salesman Paradox. Picture a salesman deciding how to get from Point A to Point B on a working day.

He works independently, so all savings and expenses affect him directly. He has two options. He can take the train, which will take eight hours and cost him $100. Or he can fly, which will take him three hours and costs $400.

If the salesman is looking to save as much possible, should he travel via train or plane? At first, the answer seems obvious – he should take the train, and save $300. But when you factor in the value of his time, this may change.

Let’s say the salesman averages $75 in sales for each hour he works, and he works ten hours per day. Here’s how the two options would look:

Mode of Transport Travel Time Work Time Travel Cost Work Profit Total
Train 8 hrs 2 hrs $100 $150 +$50
Plane 3 hrs 7 hrs $400 $525 +$125

As you can see, in this scenario, the value of time means that flying is the more profitable option.

If you value your time highly, this may well negate the added cost of flying private.

It’s also possible that flights may not be as expensive as you believe them to be. This is especially true of empty leg flights.

An empty leg flight occurs when a private jet owner needs to fly somewhere or be picked up but doesn’t need a return journey. When the plane is flying empty, that’s losing the owner money. So, they’ll sometimes sell a flight slightly cheaper. It helps them avoid losing cash on an empty leg.

Similarly, if a broker arranges a one-way journey for a client, the plane still needs to return to base. This is another example of when an empty leg journey might become available.

Planning

There’s no denying that arranging a private jet flight requires more work than booking yourself onto a commercial flight.

Commercial flights pack hundreds of passengers onto one aircraft. They have a fixed time for departure and arrival, and customers are served set meals. Usually, you’ll have basic amenities and a single-seat, perhaps with a small table.

Because everything in a commercial flight is fixed, it’s easy to make a reservation.

Private jet in the Sky
Private flights require more planning but are more beneficial

When you fly privately, the owner of the private jet needs to ascertain details from you:

  • Where are you flying from?
  • What time will you depart?
  • How many people are traveling in your party?
  • How far are you flying – will you need to refuel?
  • What dietary requirements do you have?

With a commercial flight, most of these facts are already set in stone, so it’s up to the customer to find a flight that suits them. But with a private jet charter, the two parties have to come to a mutual agreement.

There are other problems that may pop up, as well. For example, some jet owners are particular about who they rent they aircraft to. You may find a jet that is a seemingly perfect fit, but then the owner pulls out of the deal because they’re worried about a large group using their plane.

You also have to think about mechanical issues stopping your flight. Commercial airlines operate many aircraft. So, if there’s a problem, they can usually find a replacement fairly easily.

Private Jet Broker Services

If your private jet encounters a problem, how will you get to your destination?

Using an accomplished private jet broker will help you avoid a lot of these problems. An experienced broker will be the middleman that can help take care of these questions and queries. If you fly regularly, your broker should become familiar with your likes and dislikes. They’ll even learn the names and traits of your fellow flyers – for example, your family – to make booking flights even smoother.

If you choose a top broker, they’ll also arrange a backup aircraft every time you book a flight. This means that if anything goes wrong – such as a mechanical issue – you won’t be left stranded.

Your broker is the key to planning your flight, so ensure you hire a reliable one with sufficient experience in the field.

About Richard Zaher

Richard Zaher Richard Zaher is the founder and CEO of Paramount Business Jets. He is a pilot and the President of Air Charter Association of North America (ACANA). Richard is a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Studies. A seasoned international jet charter expert, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and the recipient of the Embry Riddle Eagle Excellence Award at the 2012 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention. He is also an active member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as well as several safety and air charter organizations.

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