Up until a few years ago, it was very hard to travel on a private jet unless you owned one, paid for a membership or knew a broker who would reserve an aircraft for you. Ah, yes. A private jet charter used to be an exclusive privilege for the rich, the famous, and the elites – but not anymore.
These days, you don’t have to be a celebrity or a multi-millionaire to experience the perks of private air travel. More and more frequent travelers and business people are taking private flights instead of paying for first-class seats on commercial airlines. Here are 5 ways to save money on a private jet charter.
See related story: Have a Private Plane Experience with Tradewind Aviation
How much does it cost to fly private?
Chartering a private plane can still set you back anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to the $10,000 range, but the prices are generally not as steep as they used to be.
Jet charter service companies have also been more generous with discounted and last-minute deals as of late. And believe it or not, prices can dive to as low as the price of a business-class ticket – if you know where and how to look!
While the deals and discounts are instrumental in making private flights more accessible to the public, several other factors just as significant play a role in closing the gap. The more convenient booking process, through apps and websites, makes the entire process less intimidating and easier for clients to view, schedule and book flights.
Also, because of the growing number of competitors in the market, private jet companies have begun operating in more flexible terms. It is now possible to book single seats on private jets or score an empty leg flight at less than half the standard rate.
Compare prices between private jet charter companies.
You compare prices when booking seats on commercial airlines, don’t you? Well, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t when chartering private jets. Sometimes, though, the price range can still be a tad too much, even after checking out dozens of sites.
That being said, here are some tips on how you can save more money when chartering private jets.
Search for empty leg flights.
Empty legs or backhaul flights happen when a client only books the jet for a one-way journey, which means it has no passengers on the trip back to the base. When this happens, operators usually offer the empty leg flight for a massive discount just so the plane doesn’t have to fly back empty.
Empty legs are common between frequently traveled cities. If you’re flying between Los Angeles, Miami or New York, it shouldn’t be hard for you to find a backhaul flight to your destination that costs at least 50% less than usual.
Still, empty leg flights are not for everyone. Your schedule has to be quite flexible if you’re hoping to catch one because these deals usually pop up at the last minute.
Find a group to join you to share the expense of a private jet charter.
When you charter a jet, you pay for the entire plane regardless of the number of passengers on it. If there are still plenty of empty seats left, why not share the flight with other people heading in the same direction?
Since it would cost you more per head if there are only two or three of you on the flight, consider flying with another group and then divide the total costs among yourselves. Yes, there’s going to be a little less privacy, but just think about how much you’re going to save!
Opt for a no frills private jet charter.
True, flying private is all about comfort, luxury and being extra. BUT if you’re bent on saving a few thousand dollars on your private jet charter to somewhere, you might want to consider the “no-frills” option.
You’re probably thinking, “Is that possible?”
Several jet charter services offer a no-frills option to their clients. If you think you can survive the trip without in-flight catering or champagne, you may do away with these in exchange for a cheaper charter rate.
Consider chartering a smaller plane.
They say bigger is better. However, as far as flying private is concerned, they’re not exactly the most cost-efficient.
If cutting the cost of your private jet charter is what you’re after, you might want to opt for a smaller plane, especially if your destination is just an hour or so away. Same comfort, same convenience, same travel time, but cheaper!
Chartering a private jet is the best way to travel.
Arrive up to three hours early – that is one of the most basic rules of air travel. When you charter a private jet, however, this rule does not apply. Even if you get to the airport a few minutes late, your plane’s still going to be there waiting because this is all about YOU!
There’s no better or more convenient way to get to your destination than by private jet. Just think about it: no crowded terminals, no need to wait in line, and most of all -no delayed flights! Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?
– Melissa Hull is the Content Marketing Strategist for Aviation Charters, a West Trenton, New Jersey-based private aviation company. Aside from her passion in writing, she loves to travel and read espionage books.