Have you ever wondered how much it would cost to charter your own plane? If so, you’re not alone, especially in light of all the chaos and canceled flights we’ve been seeing this summer. The demand for chartering private jets has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it appears that there is still a pause as people look for alternative ways to reach their vacation destinations. According to Hamburg-based private jet tracking and data company WingX, 2021 was the busiest year ever for private jet charter.
Buying your own plane
Unless you’re Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, you might think twice about going out and buying your own jet. Depending on the age and model, you can pick up a used private jet for less than a million dollars. If you’re in the market for a new private jet, the cheapest on the market is the single-engine Cirrus SF50 VisionJet that you can buy new for $3.2 million. You can buy a larger Gulfstream G700 for $78 million at the other end of the scale.
The Cirrus Vision Jet can carry up to seven people. Photo: Cyrus
Buying a plane is only the beginning, as you need to find a place to store it and pay for maintenance and fuel. Also, if you are not a certified pilot to fly the aircraft, you will have to pay whoever can.
If the fact of owning your own plane seems out of reach now, there are other alternatives to getting into a private jet without the burden of all costs.
How much does it cost to rent a private jet?
Calculating hourly costs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,300 to $3,000 for a small private jet that can accommodate four to six passengers. On a mid-size plane capable of carrying nine passengers, expect to pay between $4,000 and $8,000 an hour. For a larger private jet that seats 14 to 19 passengers, the price jumps to between $8,600 and $13,000 per flying hour.
Private jet card membership
A popular way for people to use private jets is through a private jet card membership program. Typically, you pay an upfront fee of between $100,000 and $200,000, and when you use private jets for flights, the cost is deducted from your initial deposit. Hourly rates vary depending on the size of the aircraft you want to use for your trip.
VistaJet Global 7500 cab. Photo: VistaJet
Whether you want to use a private jet for short or long trips, some companies specialize in both. A good example is Wheels Up, a company that specializes in major sporting and cultural events for its VIP members throughout the year. Meanwhile, Malta-based VistaJet uses its fleet of Bombardier business jets to transport people around the world. Before choosing the right private jet card membership for you, do your research and read the lowercase letters.
Reserve a seat on a private plane
Instead of forcing individuals or companies to lease an entire plane, many operators sell seats on private flights. Similar to how you would book a seat with a commercial airline, private jet operators fly on regular routes like Los Angeles to Las Vegas. A trip from Los Angeles Hawthorn Municipal Airport (HHR) to Las Vegas North Airport (VGT) costs $419, round trip.
A Wheels Up Cessna Citation Excel/XLS. Photo: wheels
Los Angeles-based Surf Air has come up with a unique scheme that, for $199 a month, allows members to book flights for between $99 and $199 each way on its flights between Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. For $2,999 per month, you can fly anytime you want on the entire Surf Air network at no extra charge.
An important advantage of traveling on private charter flights is that you depart and arrive from smaller airports and escape all lines while traveling like VIPs. Traveling internationally with pets on commercial airliners means that your beloved animal is in a dark cargo area all by itself. If you take a private charter, your pet who proves all his papers are in good condition, can fly with you into the cabin, relieving stress and anxiety.