Life is full of first-time experiences. Your first day of school. Your first kiss. Your first job. Your first time on a private jet. These are all exciting, scary moments because you have no idea what to expect, but you are excited to take that next step. Boarding a private jet for the first time is a vastly different experience from flying commercial — one many people are uncertain of because they’re not sure what to do.
It’s natural to be insecure about how to proceed — a familiar feeling with any new endeavor. There’s no reason to worry — a little information about how to book your private flight and what to expect goes a long way in bringing certainty to this new experience. If you’re hoping to get into the air on a charter flight, there are five ways to do it.
- Charter aircraft. Think of a charter company as an on-demand flight just for you. You’re paying for a ticket on a private plane. Fares can vary wildly from the lowest-cost flights ($1,200 per flight hour) to the highest-cost ($12,000 per flight hour), and largely depend on where you’re headed and whether you’re renting a single seat or the entire aircraft.
- Jet and fraction cards. When you purchase a jet card or a fraction card, you’re essentially setting aside a lump sum of money (typically starting at $25,000) to rent a certain number of hours on a private jet. Jet cards are becoming incredibly popular throughout the United States. As a result, the cost of purchasing one is falling all the time.
- Membership programs. A membership program works much like a jet card. Rather than funding a card, you buy into a specific fleet of aircraft and a particular set of services offered by individual companies. As a result, it’s essential to shop around and compare options before committing to a membership program.
- Fractional share ownership. Fractional share ownership sits somewhere between a membership program and flat-out ownership. Fractional programs offer customized service and more control over your flight time than other options, in exchange for monthly fees plus a nominal per-hour flight charge.
- Purchase. For fliers exceeding 200 hours of flight time, outright purchase could be the right choice. Purchasing an aircraft brings numerous advantages, not least of which is complete control over travel plans.
For decades, many travelers remained wary of private flight because of misplaced concerns over cost, or belief that it’s challenging to find charter opportunities. Now, a new generation of companies have emerged, committed to making private flight more accessible than ever before. They’re finding plenty of demand from those willing to take the leap into something new, unknown, and exciting.