Whether for practical or purely indulgent reasons, a private jet charter can make travel more enjoyable. However, it’s important to know the inside scoop, including finding the most reasonable cost of private jet charters and how traveling private is different from traveling commercial. This guide will give you a clear path to follow so you can fly private with minimal hassle.
Know the Closest Regional Airport to Your Destination
Most private jets don’t fly out of major international airports, and if you request that they do, that could end up tacking thousands of dollars to your bill. If you’re on any sort of a budget at all, that’s a significant difference, so think small.
Know Who’s Coming
Private jets come in different sizes with different passenger capacities, so you’ll want to book a flight that has enough seats available for everyone in your group. Last-minute additions may not be possible unless there are open seats.
Pack Light (or Small)
Private jets, especially the smaller ones, don’t have a ton of cargo space. So while you might not be subject to the kind of annoying baggage restrictions that commercial flights put in place, you might not be able to bring super heavy or large items onboard. The plane might lack the cargo space for something like fifteen suitcases or a pair of skis.
Be Ready to Explain Your Stats
Weight and balance are as important on a small jet as they are on a large commercial flight, if not more so. Passengers on private flights may need to report their weight, and you might need to be willing to sit where the pilot tells you so the plane can stay safely balanced in the air.
You can likely save quite a bit of money on a private flight by not having a specific departure date in mind. Private jet charter companies might offer lower prices during the week than on the weekend, for example.
Find the Right Booking Company
There are a lot of different private jet charter services, including some that focus specifically on providing discount experiences. These discount services will often book passengers on an “empty leg” flight, or a flight in which a pilot is returning, without passengers, to their home airport. If you don’t want to go discount, you can look up charter companies based out of airports that are near your departure city.
If Necessary, Find Return Flights
Some private flights, especially the “empty leg” flights that offer discounts to passengers, will only take you in one direction. Understand the specifics of your flight when you book, and look into return options on commercial or other private flights.
Go to the Right Departure Point
Private jets don’t leave from the same terminals that commercial flights do, so you’ll want to make sure you know the right address to show up to for flight time. You won’t have to go through regular security, but you will likely have to provide personal information so TSA can background check you before the flight.
Know What Amenities Are Available In-Flight
Flying private involves a lot of performative luxury, but the snacks and drinks a charter company can provide will likely be limited by the size of the plane itself. You won’t necessarily get a lavish, freshly-cooked four-course meal, especially if you’re on a short flight or on a smaller plane. Find out what will be available onboard before you arrive at the airport.
Be Willing to Share
If you want the experience of flying private more than you want to go to a specific place, but you have a limited budget, consider taking a shared charter. Shared private charter flights, which are available through companies like Tradewind and JetSuiteX, are similar to commercial flights only in the sense that you’ll share the plane with other travelers who aren’t part of your group. It’s still a more comfortable and luxe option.