Do private jet aircraft remain with the client before flying back to home base?

When you’re flying on a round-trip flight, operators in the USA charge a two-hour minimum per day. This applies to aircraft that are super midsize or smaller; for larger jets, the minimum is 2½ hours per day or the total daily flight time, whichever is greater.

For example, let’s say you book a New York – Los Angeles flight on a super midsize jet, returning six days later. The flight is only 10 hours; however, because of the two-hour minimum charge per day, you’ll be charged for a total of 12 hours – the greater of the two amounts.

For this reason, it’s often more practical to book two round trips than to keep the aircraft. Here’s an example from New York to Bermuda, where it’s cheaper to return the plane to base: 

Route(s)DatesFlight Time Per LegTotal Flight TimeAdditional Charge for Two-Hour Minimum Per DayTotal Hours Charged
New York – Bermuda (Single round trip)Depart - Jan 1
Return - Jan 5
New York – Bermuda (Double round trip)Journey 1:
Depart - Jan 1
Aircraft returns - Jan 1

Journey 2:
Aircraft flies to pick up passengers - Jan 5
Return - Jan 5

As you can see, it’s cheaper to fly the plane back and forth than to pay for it to remain with you. However, for longer trips, it may well be cheaper to keep the plane nearby.

For example, New York – Los Angeles is a 10-hour flight. This means you can keep the plane for up to five days without an additional charge (except for overnight crew costs). If you have a three-day trip from New York to Los Angeles, you can extend it to five days and only pay for the additional crew overnights.

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