This is a question that we hear quite a bit, as we talk to people who are looking at private jets and other private aircraft. So this article walks you through the different factors and provides some pricing indications. At the bottom of the page is a pricing tool to give you a quote on a custom flight.

So, you've met with the salesperson, been dazzled by the fancy brochures and decided that you're in—you're going to buy a fractional jet share. What's next?

Are you assessing different private aviation options? Before you commit to a program, be sure to consult SherpaReport's new in-depth Guide to Private Aviation. This free downloadable guide helps anyone considering fractional ownership, jet cards or aircraft charter.

Fractional and charter jet cards are a good private flight option for those who want the convenience of private travel without the large capital outlay involved in full or fractional jet ownership. Unlike the case with chartering a plane, fractional and charter jet card purchasers pre-pay for access to 20-35 hours of occupied flight time with a particular fractional fleet or with the aircraft available to the charter company. Your flight hours are then debited from the amount of hours you have paid for as you fly.

Charter aviation companies and charter brokers can easily provide a quote for your business trip or vacation - usually right from their website as most have online forms. To get a quote started for a private jet, they'll need to know how many people are flying, departure time and date, and your return plans. But there's more to calculating a quote than filling in an online form and if you're not careful, you could end up with a post-flight invoice full of unexpected charges.

Much like a travel agent, an air charter broker matches your travel needs to the best available private jet operator at the best price. Whether it's a business trip for your senior staff or the need to fly a large group to an event, brokers have access to the fleets of multiple air charter operators. Many brokers also extend their services to ground and in-flight amenities. Do you need Wi-Fi? Would you like a five-course meal onboard or will a light snack do? How about ground transportation and a hotel room? Brokers can take care of all the details.

There are more than 2,500 air charter operators flying in and out of thousands of airports in the US and thousands more around the world. It's likely, there are a few operating at a regional airport near you, ready to provide on-demand private air travel for business and pleasure trips. But how do you know if the charter operator uses an experienced crew or if it will be able to accommodate last-minute itinerary changes? 

The price of chartering a private jet varies depending on a number of factors. These include how far you're travelling, how many people are travelling and your dates and time, since the market demand affects the price. Use the free price quote tool below to get an idea of the costs. 

There are many companies that offer jet card programs, but like any investment, you need to do your due diligence before signing on. The types of companies that offer cards fall into three broad categories. The large fractional and closed fleet operators all have jet card programs, other large fleet managers and operators also offer cards (or sometimes they are called "access" or "membership" programs), and thirdly a lot of charter brokers also offer jet cards.

If emerging trends in the aviation industry are anything to go by, then the private flying sector will witness a growth in the next twenty years that is 10 times any the industry has observed in the last 50 years. Very light jets (VLJs) are raring to go and will have an impact on all aspects of private flying from full ownership, to fractional jets, charter, jet cards and the nascent air-taxi business. The rollout is already underway with the delivery of the first very light jet into a fractional program at Jet-Alliance.

Making a cost effective and educated choice is all important when traveling by private aircraft. The right choice, based on your needs including your typical travel patterns and budget, takes a little research to fully understand the options. We'll cover each of the private flying options in outline form here, with links to more information.

A closed fleet or fractional jet card is a popular method of experiencing the benefits of private aviation. You get to fly on some of the latest, well maintained, consistent aircraft, without having to commit to the large investment or length of time that fractional ownership or whole aircraft ownership requires. Jet cards give members access to prepaid blocks of flying time hours, with 25 hours being by far the most common size. 

Several companies offer "open fleet" or jet charter cards. These companies may either have their own aircraft fleets that they manage and/or may charter aircraft on the open market to meet the flying needs of their members. An "open fleet" jet card provider usually does not own any aircraft. They use aircraft from other charter operators, and/or from aircraft in a fleet that they may manage but do not own. Hence the "open fleet", it's potentially open to any available aircraft.

Private aircraft charter has been around for a long time. It lets you make use of a plane for one journey without any other long term commitment. There are thousands of aircraft available for charter, covering all sizes of planes from pistons and single engine turboprops to large executive jets. There are also a large number of air charter operators and brokers, who each provide their own level of service.

There are many reasons to use private jets. The main general reasons that we hear most often are listed below. The specific pros and cons of the different forms of private aircraft travel are discussed in our articles on each travel type.

When you buy a fractional jet share you are paying for part ownership of a specific plane. You will be allocated an amount of time in the aircraft. This usually ranges between 50 - 400 hours of flight time per year. The number of hours depends on the size of the share.

The companies below all provide fractional aircraft ownership. You'll find companies offering ownership in all types of planes from ultra-long range business jets to single engined turboprops. The table shows the types of planes available through the program and includes the broad geographic area that the fractional aircraft program is available in.