Over the past year, air travel has taken off, inspiring sky-bound travelers to explore private aviation solutions for flexibility, convenience, comfort, and privacy. But which option is right for you? Is one more suited for occasional trips versus repeat flights? And what’s the difference between chartering and a flight card? Read on for a 30,000-foot view of the options.
The Ins and Outs (and Ups and Downs) of Private Jet Travel Solutions
The most common private jet travel solutions include full jet ownership, fractional jet ownership, chartering, or a flight card. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one for you depends on your unique needs and circumstances.
Full Jet Ownership
Full jet ownership means owning the entire aircraft outright. This option gives you complete control over the aircraft, including when and where it flies. Another advantage is having the ability to fully customize your experience from refreshments to staff. The downside? It also comes with a significant upfront cost and ongoing variable expenses. Full jet ownership is best suited for individuals or businesses that frequently travel and have a high level of usage to justify the expenses.
Fractional Jet Ownership
Fractional jet ownership allows you to own a share—a.k.a. a fraction—of an aircraft, typically between 1/16 and 1/2. This option provides access to a private jet without the upfront costs associated with full ownership. Fractional ownership companies typically manage the maintenance, scheduling, and other aspects of ownership, making it more convenient and affordable than full jet ownership. However, fractional ownership may come with restrictions on usage and availability, and additional costs may apply for upgrades or customization, depending on the company offering fractional ownership.
Chartering is renting an aircraft for a specific trip or series of trips. This is a flexible, cost-effective option for infrequent travelers or those who need a specialized aircraft for a particular purpose, such as medical transport or cargo. However, chartering may not be as affordable for frequent travelers, and availability may be limited during peak travel seasons, lessening the convenience and flexibility factors.
Think of a flight card as a punch card for jet travel. Also known as a jet card, a flight card provides pre-paid access to a private jet on a specific aircraft or fleet. Flight cards are typically more affordable than ad hoc chartering, and may offer guaranteed availability, a faster booking process, and fixed pricing. However, flight cards typically have expiration dates and usage restrictions, and may not be as cost-effective for frequent travelers.
Choosing Your Best Option
When choosing between these private jet options, consider your travel needs and habits, as well as your budget and overall travel goals. If you travel frequently and require maximum flexibility, full or fractional ownership may be the best option—although be sure to factor in the cost and work associated with full ownership. If you don’t travel often or have a variable travel schedule, chartering or a flight card may be more cost-effective.
The bottom line: the right choice is what is right for your lifestyle. While private jet travel can provide unparalleled convenience, comfort, productivity, safety, and efficiency; finding the option that’s right for you depends on your individual travel needs, budget, and goals. Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully research and evaluate each option, with clear consideration of factors such as upfront costs, ongoing expenses, availability, flexibility, and customization.
Check out our comparison chart below to see a full list of the advantages and disadvantages of each private jet option. Then take off to new possibilities.