Whether you fly for business or leisure purposes, you can choose either private jets or commercial airlines to get from point A to point B. With many smart executives looking at private jet charters as the most comfortable and reliable form of transportation, here is a look at the pros and cons of commercial flights vs. chartering a private jet.

Commercial Flying

Flying commercially is nearly always the most inexpensive option. You may find tickets for under $200 round trip in economy depending on the destination. Or for first class seats, coast to coast across the US, you might easily pay $2,000 or more, but this is still a lot cheaper than hiring a private jet. Of course, if you're buying say four first-class airline tickets on some popular dates during the year, you might pay as much or even more than you would for chartering a private jet for those same four people, especially if it's a fairly short trip.

With commercial airlines, if you're facing inclement weather, there is sometime a better chance that a larger jet will be able to take off, whereas smaller planes may be grounded more frequently due to difficult weather conditions. On the other hand there are thousands of airports around the world that a smaller private aircraft can fly into, but which are simply too small to accommodate large commercial aircraft.

While cost is the obvious major advantage in flying commercially, there is a rather long list of disadvantages that can often outweigh the expense.

  • The loss of time is a major issue on commercial flights. From the long lines, potential layovers and the often longer trip to the airport as well as having to check in early. This can easily add up to losing hours upon hours of time that could have been spent more productively. In addition, security delays can not only be a huge hassle, they can cost more time as well.
  • Passengers have to find a flight that fits in with their schedule or can be forced to alter their calendar to fit in with the airlines.
  • With crowded seating, there is little space to conduct business and even less privacy. If you had hoped to conduct a meeting or negotiate a deal in private, other passengers and crew are likely to overhear those conversations.
  • Commercial airlines offer little in the way of amenities. Today, food and beverages options rarely include much more than a drink and a bag of pretzels. First class is better, but you still get what you get.
  • The risk of lost luggage with passengers separated from their bags is another issue when flying commercially.

Private Jets

Even if you choose to fly first class on a commercial airline, the experience between chartering a private aircraft and flying commercially is like night and day. Time equals money, and when you add up all of those lost hours on commercial airline flights, it can make the cost of flying on a private jet more financially feasible. As a starting point for price comparison, a light jet which can seat 5- 6 people, will cost around $2,000 per hour, larger aircraft which can hold more people and fly further cost more.

With a private jet you can fly out of an airport that is much closer to your home or business location, allowing you to skip the traffic, bypass security lines and those frequent delays that commercial airlines often incur. If you choose to do so, you can have a chauffeured car drive you directly onto the tarmac. If you're running late, there are no worries as your jet will wait.

Once on your flight, you'll find the ultimate in exceptional customer service with individualized attention and the treatment you deserve. Private planes offer luxury furnishings and plenty of space to conduct private business. Order your preferred food and drinks ahead of time, and you can even enjoy your favorite meal on the flight if you desire.

What are some of the other benefits of private jets?

  • You'll avoid the inconvenience of the liquid bans that come with flying commercially.
  • You can travel with special belongings, business samples, sports gear, instruments or even bring you pet into the cabin if you so choose.
  • You'll not only have more time to conduct business, you'll have more time to spend with your family and friends by reducing the hours you spend traveling.
  • Flying on a private jet projects an image of success. You'll be seen as an individual or organization that is well-run, efficient and can afford to fly privately.

So the bottom line. If dollars are the key driver then commercial usually makes sense, just be sure to put a true value on your time when doing the assessment. There's no getting around it, flying privately is expensive, but it can save you significant amounts of time.

Read these other articles for more information:
The benefits of flying privately
The cost to charter a private jet