Imagine standing in line at the TSA security checkpoint. It’s 6:00 AM, two hours before the flight is supposed to leave. After a disturbing inspection of one’s body and belongings, it’s a waiting game at the gate with a throng of strangers, all equally grumpy and possibly traumatized.
The situation on the plane is no better. All overhead storage has been stolen by people who don’t know how to properly size and count carry-on items, and the next three hours will be spent between an old woman that won’t stop talking and a middle-aged man that snores louder than a lawnmower. The passenger in front reclined his seat, making the tray table virtually unusable. There’s no chance of reaching that best seller under the seat, and the in-flight movie is for children. Speaking of, there’s a baby crying two rows back and another brat kicking the back of the chair. Thump, thump, thump. But hey, free bag of pretzels. That’s some consolation… right?
Now imagine bypassing security altogether and heading straight to the terminal 15 minutes before takeoff. Imagine plush seats with plenty of leg room, sumptuous catering options, and flight staff attending to every need. Turn fantasy to reality by chartering a private jet. It’s a method of travel already used by world leaders, celebrities, and titans of industry, and it’s the epitome of luxury, comfort, and convenience.
But like all upscale experiences, private charters come at a cost, which varies by company, plane preference, and destination. At stratosjets.com, pricing begins at $2,000/hour for turbo-prop planes that hold five to nine passengers and goes up to $14,250/hour for a heavy jet holding up to 19 passengers. Charter companies pentastaraviation.com and aircharterserviceusa.com have similar pricing structures, though quotes are available on demand. Pricing often excludes incidentals such as fuel, catering or optional services, daily aircraft fees, airport landing fees, crew charges, and more, so read the fine print before purchasing.
Those with flexible itineraries or a willingness to share the plane with a privileged few can often find deals on empty leg flights (i.e. the plane would otherwise fly a leg of the trip empty) for pre-determined routes. At charterjetairlines.com, empty leg trips start at just under $3,000 per seat. Or head to jetsmarter.com where prices range from $1,185 to $3,795 per seat depending on destination.
That commercial coach airline ticket may be easier on the wallet, but it’s at the cost of time, convenience, comfort, and sanity. So, what is the indulgent, exclusive experience of chartering a private jet worth? When it takes flying the friendly skies from stressful to stress-free, that alone makes it worth every penny.