Since the dawn of time, we have looked to the skies. The ease and beauty with which birds travel through the air is incredible. Now that we have accomplished the ability to take to the skies ourselves travel has become that much easier, allowing for an amazing choice of destinations. Many people believe that commercial travel is their only option, but this is not necessarily the case. Private air travel is quickly becoming a viable option for a significant number of people, with a variety of choices to choose from. And while there are many benefits to private air travel, there are also many misconceptions surrounding it.
It’s only for the rich
Not just the rich can go this route. Sure, many who fly privately are wealthy, but it’s all a matter of perspective. Shop around, and you’ll see many lower-cost options for chartered flights.
The options are limited
Private jets have a much larger choice of airports from which they can take off and land. In the U.S. alone there are over five thousand private airstrips, as opposed to only around five hundred commercial ones.
You have to pay extra for a safe option
All operators are under very tight regulations by the FAA. It’s incredibly challenging to become a registered Part 135 operator, and there are companies dedicated to monitoring the safety of these operators.
Empty leg flights are the best option
Empty legs are when a customer has paid for an aircraft to fly a one-way trip but does not need the return flight. The operator then sells the flight at a reduced cost to brokers and retail customers. The only problem with empty legs is it can be tough to find a flight that coincides with your schedule and needs.
Fractional ownership is affordable
Fractional ownership is cheaper than solely owning an aircraft, but it still represents significant upfront costs. Fractional ownership is fairly straightforward, however. If the jet costs $16m, the lowest share you can usually purchase is 1/16th. You pay $1m upfront. The rule of thumb is jets are good for 800 flight hours per year. So your 1/16th share gets you 50 hours per year of flight time. It’s important to know that you’ll still incur the hourly rate for all flight time.
Flying private never makes financial sense for personal use
Certainly not true. There are dozens of cases where booking a private jet, or turboprop, is actually more cost-effective than alternative methods of travel. This is especially true when traveling with a group, and you can distribute the cost to each person.
It’s best to just buy a plane
In most cases, buying an aircraft outright isn’t going to be a good idea. It’s going to cost you an arm and a leg, and you can just rent or charter a flight and save the money. Many wealthy folks have gone this route, only to end up losing out on the bigger picture. Owning a jet and getting a pilot on call is not easy, and it’s not cheap. Note that you will also have to deal with taxes, maintenance, and all sorts of aviation regulations, lest you wind up with hefty fines (or a plane that is grounded and therefore useless). Unless you are truly into aviation, this is most likely not going to be worth it.
It’s not secure
If you’re going to charter an airplane, guess what? You will still need to work with TSA and all the standards that everyone else has to deal with. It’s just on a different scale. The security procedures are much less complicated on a private jet, mainly due to the smaller number of passengers and more personal nature. Most charter companies operate with a FBO, or Fixed Base Operator, which allows passengers to check in for the flight and have their credentials verified at the hangar just before boarding. Some operators even allow for passenger vehicles to park at the aircraft and then be valeted after departure.
They Are Not Safe
Federal Aviation Administration standards for both commercial and private air travel are much the same, and they all place safety as the highest concern. Over the last fifteen years, while there have been more crashes on private flights, there have been more fatalities on commercial ones.
Commercial jets are faster
Many people believe that because commercial planes are larger and airlines can afford to keep up with newer technologies that they are able to fly faster, this is, however, a misunderstanding. While many jumbo jets can reach a higher top speed, it takes longer to reach that speed, especially considering extra time spent at the airport. This is likely only a benefit on extremely long trips.
Inclement weather affects all flights the same
Because of their smaller size, and the wider choice of airports, many private charters can avoid problematic weather. By altering their destinations, more easily done on a private flight, they can mitigate the complications caused by adverse weather.
You have to fly with strangers
When you book a private flight, you’re getting the entire aircraft to yourself. You can have as many passengers on board as there are available seats and you can choose exactly who flies with you.
They are difficult to arrange
With most of the charter companies the process of booking a flight on a private jet is no more challenging, or different, then booking on a commercial airliner. In some cases, such as with a family, or large group, it can be even easier since you only have one flight to book and it usually only requires the lead passenger to submit their information.