If you could fly across the world without going through the usual hassles that accompany commercial air travel, wouldn’t you do it?
Private jets may seem like an extravagance reserved for the wealthy, the powerful, and the famous – but not anymore. Booking a private plane has never been easier if you’re willing to pay a little extra.
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Are you planning to hire a private jet to your next destination?
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of private jet charter and see what it has to offer.
The Advantages of Private Jet Charter
1. Immense Time-Savings
People who fly commercial are almost always in a rush – and it’s not because your flight’s leaving anytime soon. You have to be in the airport hours before your departure schedule to queue and go through the multiple inspections and security checks before boarding time. That’s two-to-three hours you could have spent doing something more productive or catching up on sleep.
When you charter a private jet, though, long lines are the least of your worries! And the customs, immigration, and security processes go much more smoothly since you access the plane from a private airport or pass through an exclusive terminal/boarding gate. Even if you arrive at the airport less than an hour before departure, you don’t have to worry about missing your flight. Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure, the stress-free check-in and boarding process will kick off your journey on a high note.
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2. More Control of Your Flying Schedule
Another great advantage of chartering a private jet is the freedom to fly on your own time. When taking commercial aviation, you’re always at the mercy of the airline company’s schedule. Arrive a few minutes after boarding time, and you’re likely to miss your flight!
On the other hand, jet charter allows you to set a take-off time that perfectly fits your schedule. Should something important require you to adjust your departure time or make last-minute route changes, such as flying to Paris instead of London, the crew can make the necessary arrangements for you as soon as possible.
3. Luxurious Travel Experience
Very few things in life scream luxury like a private plane. And while not all jet charters are created equal, the difference in comfort, convenience, and in-flight services between private and commercial aviation can be worlds apart. Just imagine taking a 10-hour flight to Europe with limited legroom and a passenger snoring loudly a few seats away.
Charter companies make sure to offer top-tier service and are more often more than willing to accommodate their clientele’s requests. So, whether you want to hold an executive meeting onboard en route to Dubai or host a party in the skies on your way to Ibiza, the crew can make it happen for you.
4. Fly Closer to and from Your Destination
In commercial flights, passengers usually have to go through busy and crowded airports. Flying private offers you the privilege to board your plane from a private terminal or FBO (Fixed-base Operation). An FBO is a relatively small area (usually next to a major airport) that handles private jet passengers separately.
Also, because private jets are smaller than most commercial airliners, they have access to more airstrips around the world. You can opt to board at an airport nearest you and land in one that’s closest to your destination.
5. Unparalleled Privacy and Exclusivity
Of course, the most significant benefit of private jet charter is – as the name suggests – PRIVACY. Flying private comes with a sense of exclusivity and additional security. No crying babies. No annoying background noises. No worrying about your baggage getting lost or stolen. No seatmates eavesdropping on personal or discreet conversations.
Charter jet passengers can enjoy their own space and spend the entire flight time however they please, with minimal interruptions. This is why many people in business, politicians, and celebrities choose to fly private.
The Disadvantages of Private Jet Charter
1. More Expensive than Commercial Flights
What’s the biggest drawback of chartering a private jet? You’ve guessed it. THE PRICE.
The cost of private jet travel is no longer as steep as it used to be, but it will still cost you a pretty penny.
Whether you decide to hire a jet on your own or book through a third party, flying private is typically much more expensive. This is primarily because fewer people split the expenses of flying, landing, and maintaining the plane.
You can significantly cut the costs, though, by booking idle jets or empty leg flights. Still, the opportunities may be few and far between.
2. Baggage Restrictions May Apply
Some people think that renting a private jet means they could take as much luggage as they want. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Charter companies also impose luggage limits, especially for smaller planes. Depending on the size of the aircraft, too much weight on board may affect the jet’s performance. Make sure to check baggage restrictions and weight limits with the operator or jet company days before your international flight.
3. Requires More Planning
Booking a private jet will require more work than getting yourself a seat on a commercial airline.
It’s very easy to make a reservation on a commercial flight as everything is pretty much fixed – the departure time, the menu, the seat prices. Whereas, if you decide to charter a private jet, you’ll have to arrange most of the details with the other party yourself. This includes the flight schedule, route, refueling stops (if necessary), in-flight menu/catering, and any other extra requirements you may have.
4. More Prone to Weather Delays
Because they are generally much smaller in size, private jets tend to be much more affected by the weather than commercial airlines. They also feel more turbulence when flying in bad weather.
Unlike large aircraft, small planes cannot take the risk of flying through storms. In such a case, your flight might be delayed or canceled altogether. If you have something urgent to attend and the weather hasn’t been good for days, you may want to consider flying first-class or opting for a larger private jet.
5. Strict Cancellation and Refund Policies
If you’ve ever booked or tried booking a charter flight before, then you may have noticed how long the contracts are and how strict the cancellation policies can be. Clients are usually required to pay the penalty for canceled flights and, in many cases, not entitled to a refund.
Jet charters often operate on a use-it-or-lose-it policy. Private aviation does not have a steady stream of customers, and many details of the flight are arranged to fit the client’s requirements. So, when you cancel a flight, the owner/jet company will have to sustain plenty of losses.
Chartering A Private Jet for International Flights
Taking a private jet to an international destination may be an entirely different experience. But since you’re traveling to another country, you will still have to go through customs and immigration. Don’t forget to bring your travel documents with you.
Also, there’s no denying that the cost of jet charter, especially for international flights, often runs high. But if you value privacy, comfort, and convenience above all else, then flying private becomes worth the price tag.
About the Author: Melissa Hull is the Content Marketing Strategist for Aviation Charters, a West Trenton, New Jersey-based private aviation company that provides on-demand aircraft charter, aircraft management, and aircraft acquisition services. Aside from her passion for writing, she loves to travel and read espionage books.