Do you want to travel in style, enjoying the ultimate in comfort along the way? Then private air travel is the way to go.
If you don’t want to book a private jet, you might be considering buying your own luxury aircraft. So, in this guide, we will take you through the different options available for private air travel and the costs associated with each.
How Much Does it Cost to Charter a Private Jet?
One of the most common options for private air travel is chartering a jet for yourself and the rest of your party – they typically seat between 6 and 18 people, depending on the model.
If you are travelling as part of a group, this is perhaps the most affordable option. That’s because you will pay for the entire plane, rather than just one seat as you would when flying with a commercial airline.
The cost varies significantly, depending on the length of the journey and the size and specifications of the aircraft. For example, a charter for a group of 10 people from London to New York can cost upwards of £50,000.
Can I Book a Single Seat on a Private Jet?
In a word, yes! Although hiring an entire aircraft for yourself and your party is more common, it is also possible to find individual seats for sale.
There are more and more platforms offering this service, and it is a great option for those who wish to experience the luxury of private air travel but don’t have the budget to charter a jet of their own.
Whilst you will have to share the luxury with a small number of strangers, you will still get the full experience of travelling on a luxury jet. This includes your own boarding area, individual, lounger-style seating onboard the aircraft, and full service from flight attendants during your journey.
You can make considerable savings by booking individual seats, but some services require all seats to be sold before the flight is confirmed. As an example, a recent journey from New York to Los Angeles cost around £2,600 per seat.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Private Aircraft?
If you are looking for the ultimate luxury experience and have a considerable budget to spare, you might be considering investing in your own private jet.
As with the other options, prices vary considerably, depending on the aircraft’s size, specifications, age, and condition.
You can expect to fork out at least £3 million for a light jet seating around seven. On the other hand, a more luxurious model such as the Gulfstream G650, which seats up to ten people, will set you back the considerable sum of around £48 million.
On top of that, you’ll have to consider the running costs. On average, this could run to around £700,000 annually, although, of course, the costs will vary considerably depending on the type of jet and how often it is used. Ongoing costs associated with owning an aircraft include hiring staff, renting space in a hangar, maintenance costs, and fuel.
What is an Empty Leg Journey?
Sometimes a group will charter a jet for a one-way flight. So, rather than returning to base empty, you might see so-called ‘empty leg journeys’ advertised. This is when the jet charter company is trying to sell seats at a heavily discounted rate to make some money back on the flight, which would otherwise not generate any income.
Flying this way can bring you savings of up to 75%, so it’s a great option for those on a more limited budget. However, you may have to be more flexible in your travel plans, as you won’t always be able to find an empty leg journey until the last minute, often 24-48 hours before the flight is due to depart.
You’ll also have to find your own return travel, as you will only be able to travel one way on an empty leg journey. So, this method can take quite a bit of planning and research.
What are the Most Expensive Private Jets?
Many of the world’s ultra-rich have some awe-inspiring private aircraft – some costing in the region of £375 million!
For example, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is thought to own the world’s most expensive aircraft, an Airbus A380. This extortionate aircraft has some incredible features, including a stable for travelling with camels and horses, a Turkish bath, a concert hall, and, of course, a throne for the travelling prince.
Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau’s Boeing 747-8 is another of the world’s costliest aircraft, coming in at a cool £275 million. With a spiral staircase connecting the upper and lower levels, this 445 square metre plane is packed with impressive customisations. You’ll find a bar and a gym onboard, as well as a board room for hosting meetings in the air.
What are the Running Costs of a Private Luxury Plane?
We’ve touched on the ongoing running costs of a private jet above, but let’s take a look at these in more detail.
First, there are the fixed costs you’ll have to cover every year no matter what. This includes hiring a flight crew, renting a hangar, and insuring your aircraft. You can expect to pay in the region of £2,000 per day for your crew and £7,000 to £300,000 per year for insurance (the cost varies considerably depending on a range of factors, just like with car insurance). Hangar fees also vary depending on location but can cost around £2,000 per month.
Then there are the variable, hourly running costs to consider. In other words, the more the jet is used, the more it is going to cost, mainly due to more fuel being used and the increased likelihood of maintenance being required. Fuel costs can vary significantly depending on the size and efficiency of the aircraft, but roughly £300 per flying hour is a reasonable estimate.
So, no matter what your budget, there is a private air travel option for everyone. From empty leg journeys and individual seats for a more modest budget to buying a luxury private jet of your own if money is no object, you can travel in style for any occasion.