How does the cost of flying commercial compare to private charter flights?
Private charter flights are much more expensive than commercial flights. To estimate the cost of flying privately in the US, use the following formula:
(Cost of a first-class commercial ticket x 4) x number of seats in the aircraft
For example, a cheap first-class ticket is about $500. Multiply this by four to get $2,000. A light jet seats six. Multiply $2,000 by six to get $12,000. Always remember that you pay the same for a private jet regardless of how many people are flying.
If you’re flying internationally, the price can be more attractive. For example, you can hire a 14-seat private jet for a round trip from the US to Europe for $130,000. That works out to under $10,000 per person, compared to flying in first class commercially. Or, you can seek out a bargain on a shorter trip. The Beech 1900 Turboprop seats 19 people; for two flights, each lasting two hours, you could expect to pay $16,000 – around $900 per person.
Using a turboprop aircraft like the Beech 1900 is still more expensive than flying commercially, but also comes with extra perks. This can include leather seats, comfortable executive-configured seats, and possibly an enclosed air cabin to sleep in.
Conversely, turboprop aircraft can also be a little rough and noisy, which is why they’re generally used for island-hopping in areas like Greece. The full private jet experience is more likely to come at a premium price, but for many people and businesses, this can prove worthwhile. Wealthy business owners may find they make a better return on their time and money by flying privately than they would by flying a commercial airline. The time saved can mean more meetings, more business and therefore more money, easily offsetting the added cost of private jet travel.