Air Partner - 23 May 2018
If you or your company are a regular first class fliers, then private jet charter is probably something you have contemplated. It offers invaluable benefits and flexibility that can transform the way you travel. We discuss the differences between private jet charter and first class when flying for business, and explain when private jet charter really is worth considering.
The answer to the question whether private jet charter is a better option than first class is a subjective one and it depends on how you value the respective benefits of each alternative. If you’re asking which is cheaper, then you’re likely to pay more for a private jet charter than you would for a first class ticket on the same route and schedule.
First and foremost, most private jet users probably won’t use private jets if there’s a first class seat available for the same route and schedule on a commercial airline. However, increasingly these days, no such alternative exists.
Furthermore, the cost of a small group of people travelling by first class can quickly add up and start to balance out against that of a private jet charter. When you charter, you are paying for the entire aircraft and the number of passengers you take on-board is dictated only by the size of the aircraft. Therefore, the broken down price per person plus the additional benefits of flying privately can make it practical as well as financial sense to charter.
In the public imagination, the life of the ‘jet set’ is about celebrities flying between major cities to attend various high profile and glamorous engagements. Yet the majority of private jets users are not celebrities - not beyond their own niche industry in any case.
It is often successful but acutely time-poor business people trying to squeeze extra hours into already long days. Their business can, and often does, take them well off the beaten track. The route network of the airlines still offering true premium cabin comfort is diminishing, and the budget carriers are on the rise. Increasingly, if your destination is not a major international hub, the only way you are going to fly there is in economy class, with just a handful of different flight times to choose from.
Even when these travellers do have the opportunity to visit the major commercial centres of the world, they seldom have the time to check-in hours in advance and take their place in the security and immigration queues.
Private aircraft in all their various forms meanwhile can access even the smallest regional airport at the time of your choosing. If that’s still not close enough, helicopter transfers can take you literally door to door. If flying internationally, any immigration bureaucracy is taken care of in advance of your arrival at the airport and security at dedicated private jet terminals never requires a queue. The result is that you can ‘check-in’ for your flight and take-off minutes later (usually just 20 minutes after arriving at the terminal) and you can expect to be in the car and on your way minutes after arriving at your destination too.
You see, the time saved by private jet travel is not saved in the air, its saved on the ground. Time saving is far from being the only benefit of this form of flight, but to many who use these aircraft in their daily lives, it is the single most valuable advantage.
Intensive tours, requiring visits to several cities in one day are enormously challenging without a dedicated aircraft to get you there. And if your plans have to be flexible to accommodate over-running or cancelled meetings, if you have to be able to reschedule on the hoof and use every minute of your day effectively, the only realistic solution is a private jet charter.
For a travelling team without the opportunity to re-group and de-brief between meetings, the cabin of the jet provides the welcome opportunity for private conversation, tailored refreshment or just time to reflect in quiet comfort. These are not things you’ll find in a business class cabin on a short haul scheduled service flight, even if you could find one going your way!
Businesses operating at this level have to ask the question: What is the cost of not taking the private jet? If your competitors can complete a tour in days, that takes you weeks, what impression does that give your potential customer? If your best people are regularly still out on the road, whilst their opposite number long since returned to the office or to their homes with their families for the weekend? What effect does that have on your operational effectiveness or key staff morale and retention? If you could choose the company you worked for or did business with, the company that made appropriate use of private jets would have a clear advantage in this regard.