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Are Private Jets Really Just for the Crazy Rich?

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Oprah Winfrey once famously said, “It’s great to have a private jet. Anyone who tells you that having your own private jet isn’t great is lying.” 

While Ms. Winfrey isn’t really known to flaunt an opulent lifestyle, she is well-known for her straight-arrow honesty. And I’m sure that if each private jet didn’t cost millions (the most affordable private jet on the market today, the Vision Jet, is priced at USD 1.96 million), Oprah would have given away a private jet for each lucky viewer.

Long before we mortals drooled over the Rich Kids/ People of Instagram, there was the lavish tv show back in the mid 80’s to the early 90’s, Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”.

I had a look at some past episodes of the show, and many of the ostentatiously extravagant luxuries back then are considered either tacky or passe nowadays. (Water beds and descending chandeliers, anyone?)

But what has never gone out of style through the decades are private jets.

The very first private jet took off in 1963. Since then, it became a big part of the popular golden age of flying culture in the 60’s.

Reasons to Hire a Private Jet Charter

While private jets these days are still linked to the ultimate in luxury flights, getting on a chartered flight is actually not just a flight of fancy anymore.

Here are some valid and legitimate reasons why private jets can actually save you more time and money:

1.) Less Stress

One of the reasons people dread going on flights is the anticipated stress they will face at the airport. For some, airport security is reason enough to skip flights altogether. X-Ray queues (which includes shedding layers of your footwear and clothing), grumpy Immigration officials, “random” security inspections, the stress of almost missing your flights — these are all things you do not need to go through when you book a chartered flight.

2.) Saved Time

The standard rule of arriving at the airport 2 hours prior to your flight definitely eats up a lot of your time. Even short flights can take up to a day due to this.

With chartered flights, private jets can take off within 15 minutes of a passenger arriving. For instance, London City Airport’s Private Jet Centre is supposed to be able to take off within 90 seconds of a passenger arriving. Passengers booked on a private jet are also allowed ramp access so this cuts your travel time significantly.

Productivity is not just increased due to the saved time but also with the stress that is spared.

Also, although a smaller aircraft is generally slower than a commercial jet, the time you spend on the ground is cut down immensely.

3.) Personalised Flying Experience

Private flights are also booked for festive celebrations. Bachelorette or Stag getaway weekends, birthdays, anniversaries, and reunions are just some of the reasons people book them.

During these flights, you can personalise your flying experience however way you want to. For instance, you can request for your own soundtrack in the aircraft. You can even ask the crew to decorate the cabin based on your personal style (all-pink seems to be a popular request).

4.) Customised Flight Crew

Etihad Airways’ The Residence (considered the most luxurious commercial flight available) boasts of providing you your personal butler, hiring a private jet allows you to request your own flight crew based on your needs.

Depending on your business requirements, you can request additional staff, more flight attendants, special personnel like a secretary if you need to do business while in the air. Business aside, in-flight bartenders are also a popular request.

5.) Flexibility

The best way to summarise all the above advantages of booking a chartered flight is the ability to be flexible, and to travel on your own time.

As much as most premium cabins of commercial flights these days offer outlandish pampering in the skies (having your own apartment, butler, chef, etc), nothing beats having the entire aircraft to yourself.

There is unparalleled luxury to departing and arriving from/to your destination whenever and however you please.

Are Private Flights Really That Expensive?

One thing to note when booking a chartered flight is that the cost is not determined per passenger, but rather calculated per hour.

For instance, a group of 5 or more people flying together could actually have a more cost-effective flight if they hired a chartered flight rather than purchasing the same amount of First Class airline tickets.

As an exercise, I have taken the liberty (and curiosity) to compare chartered flights versus the most premium cabin on a commercial flight. In this case, it is a London to Abu Dhabi Flight. I searched for chartered flights using Private Jet Finder and went on the Etihad Airways website for the commercial fares on The Residence. (We have to compare the closest equivalent product so we cannot base these sample fares out of Economy class or Business Class tickets)

So take the following flight:

London to Abu Dhabi / One-Way Flight

Departing 06 November 2018

With Private Jet Finder:

With Etihad Airways:

So going with Private Jet Finder’s search engine, a one-way London to Abu Dhabi flight (7 hours 17 minutes) costs from EUR 70,330.00 or GBP 62,452.88

This is based on a large jet which can be one of the following:

Airbus 319 Corporate Jet – up to 30 passengers

Gulfstream GIV – up to 13 passengers

Bombardier Challenger 604 – up to 19 passengers

With Etihad Airways, a First Class ticket per person costs GBP 3,538.91 while a flight at The Residence (where you have your own apartment with a butler) costs GBP 9, 251.91 per person on a one-way flight basis.

Given that a private flight is not calculated per person, but the entire aircraft rental – it is still much, much cheaper to book a chartered flight for your group versus booking the highest available premium cabin on a commercial airline.

Here’s the fare comparison in a nutshell:

Sydney to Abu Dhabi: 

GBP 62,452.88 – Private Flight on an Airbus 319 Corporate Jet with 30 passengers

GBP 106, 167.30 – cost for 30 passengers on an Etihad Airways First Class flight 

GBP 277,557.30 – cost for 30 passengers on an Etihad Airways The Residence

(not to mention that there are only two Residences in every Etihad A380)

For a group of 13 people:

GBP 62,452.88 – Private Flight on a Gulfstream GIV with 13 passengers

GBP 46,005.83 – cost for 13 people on an Eithad Airways First Class Flight

GBP 120, 274.83 – cost for 13 people on an Eithad Airways The Residence

There you have it, even with a First Class comparison, a private flight still generally comes out cheaper.

There are many different kinds of private jets and when the sky is literally your playground, it can be overwhelming and daunting to know what and how to book your chartered flight.

Private Jet Finder is a ‘one-touch’ booking site for luxury chartered flights. I like that their search engine is integrated with a global network of more than 1,000 qualified flight operators so you are guaranteed to be given the most suitable private jet available at a competitive price.

The sky is the limit when booking private chartered flights, so book your private flights now and you will see that this kind of travel is no longer exclusive to the crazy rich!

You are about to book a private jet charter. Where are you headed and what requests would you include on your flight?

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