Most people have an idea of what it would be like to hire a private jet, but many of these preconceived ideas can be far from reality.
So what is it like to charter a private jet? Here we’ve debunked a selection of the most common misconceptions.
Myth 1: Expensive private jets are reserved for the rich and famous
With social media and tabloid magazines covered in pictures of lavish lifestyles, it is easy to understand why many believe this misconception.
But, in reality, a large number of private jet flights are taken for business purposes; and they don’t have to be outrageously expensive. With access to all categories of aircraft and extensive empty leg lists, a private jet broker will be able to advise you on the most cost-effective options for your requirements saving you time and money.
Myth 2: Chartering a private jet is complicated and confusing
There are many options when it comes to chartering a jet, including:
Ad hoc charter – charters booked as the need arises.
Empty legs – flights that an aircraft has to take, but are not scheduled to have any passengers on board and can be offered at discounted prices.
Subscription services – paying for an amount of flying up-front eg jet cards and hourly usage options.
This may make the cost and process sound complex, but choosing the right option is often simple – and is something a good broker will advise you on.
Costs too, can often be boiled down to the same things; eg hourly cost of aircraft flying (includes fuel burn, etc), crew salaries, positioning sectors and landing, handling and parking at airports. A good broker should be able to present you with one price, inclusive of all standard operating fees. They will also be able to support you throughout the process, leaving you very little to do, other than turning up to the airport on time!
Myth 3: Private jets are not as safe as commercial airlines
It is easy to see why this is often the viewpoint of many potential private jet charterers, as private jet charters are included under the umbrella term “General Aviation”. However this is a term which also includes helicopters, hobby aircraft, experimental aircraft, etc. – and some of these aircraft are also homemade. As a result, it is often reported that flying on board a private aircraft is not as safe as flying on board a commercial airline, even though the safety figures are almost identical.
The figures are so similar because private charters are still considered ‘commercial’ flights, as the passengers are paying for the aircraft usage. This means the flights are subject to very similar, if not the same, rules and regulations as regular scheduled flights. In addition, private jets are usually newer than the aircraft used by commercial airlines and are typically equipped with the latest technologies.
Your broker will always be able to advise you on the safest option. With access to safety records etc. a good broker will ensure you have all the information need to make the best decision for you and your passengers.
Myth 4: Private jets are unreliable
Unlike commercial charters, private jets do not operate tight schedules with several back-to-back flights a day. As a result, they are much less susceptible to delays and cancellations. Even adverse weather can, in some cases be avoided.
Both private airlines and brokers monitor the weather closely before every flight. If issues are expected, alternative plans can be made quickly. Unlike a commercial airline private jets can refine their plans right down to the last minute, enabling use of alternative nearby airports.
Myth 5: Private jets are not as comfortable as first class
These days, first class is incredibly comfortable with private suites, lay flat beds, and curated menus, but private jets still have the edge. For example, if you’d like to sleep during a private flight, let your broker know, as seats can not only lie flat, but can be topped with mattresses and linens. If you’d like a bit of privacy, some cabins can be split, giving passengers a large space of their own. Some even have real beds in real bedrooms. The menu on a private flight can be whatever you desire. Your broker will notice repetition and will be able to order your favourite snacks without you having to ask for them.
Furthermore, as private jets tend to be newer, they are typically fitted with the latest technology. WiFi is becoming a staple, opening doors for both business opportunities and choices of in-flight entertainment.
Manufacturers know that they are competing with very good first class service so they ensure their private jets stay one step ahead. A Gulfstream, for example, allows more natural light into the cabin than competitors, reducing the fatigue and headaches that travel can cause. Most private jets will also pressurise the cabin to a low altitude to reduce these side effects, so you feel fresh and relaxed when you reach your destination.
Myth 6: Private jets are slower than commercial airliners
Most private jets fly at similar speeds to, or faster than, commercial airlines. Several private jets, like the Citation X for example, fly close to the speed of sound, much faster than the larger commercial airliners. They can also often fly at higher altitudes.
While some smaller private jets do fly at a slower speed than commercial airliners, the time saved at the airport makes the difference negligible. For example, with a private flight, passengers often only need to spend 15 minutes in each airport and so save time.
Myth 7: Airports are just as frustrating
This myth is simply not true. With a private flight, gone are the hours waiting in security lines and fighting your way through the crowds to get to the business lounge! In most cases, passengers can arrive at the airport 15 minutes before their flight, reporting to the private terminal (FBO), passing through the often-empty lounge, through the private security channel, and walking just a few steps to the aircraft door. In some cases, it is possible to forgo the security screening altogether and to have your car drive straight up to the aircraft steps.
Myth 8: Private jets are worse for the environment
This myth is perhaps the hardest to disprove, mostly because the statistics for private jets are often again, combined with those of commercial airliners. Most sources cite that 2% of global CO2 emissions are from aviation. WingX reported approx. 5,000 private jet departures across 13 London airports for the month of October 2017, while Heathrow Airport reports an average of approx. 1,300 movements a day; so it is easy to see that private jets contribute a very small part of that 2%.
In addition, private jets tend to be newer, which means more efficient engines. Engine efficiency is a very important selling point for private jet owners and operators, so manufacturers (such as Dassault) pride themselves on having the most economically friendly engines possible.
Private Jet Myths Disbanded
Looking at the above, it’s clear that a private jet charter can be a more effective, cost-efficient and easier option for air travel.
For businesses and individuals alike, a private jet charter can be a reliable, easy way to reach your destination in a way, and time that suits your specific requirements.