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With hundreds of commercial airlines and flights available in the United States each day, how many charter flights do you think people take? As a private jet owner or charter flyer, you might feel the number is small.
But the end of 2021 saw a record high number of private jet charters in the U.S.—38% higher than 2019 levels. In the 2010s full ownership of private jets was the most favored trend. As for the 2020s? We’re talking fractional shares, jet cards, and, of course: private jet charters.
But who’s at the top of the charter game? How do you decide which are the best private jet charter companies? Today we’ll look at some of the benefits of the charter market, the best private jet charter companies in the marketplace today, and how to charter a private jet.
What is private jet chartering?
Private jet chartering entails renting an aircraft to meet your scheduling and destination needs. Unlike a commercial flight, a private jet charter goes wherever you need it, offering ultimate flexibility. The customer is king—you can choose everything about your flight, from your passengers and flight departure to your aircraft model.
Thousands of chartered flights fly to international destinations, minimizing the waiting game that’s part of scheduled commercial flights. Finding the best private jet charter companies is your first stop if you’re ready to invest in your comfort and flexibility. Plus: no airport inconveniences.
On the flip side, private jet owners might hire out chartering services for their aircraft as an investment. Aircraft maintenance companies sometimes offer financial services to manage revenue from charters.
Benefits of chartering a private jet
To score a charter, you might shell out anywhere between $1,300 – $10,000 per flight hour. Is it worth it? These benefits say so.
- Scheduling control: Think of your top destination. Maybe it’s Santiago, Chile. If you search for a flight from Miami to Santiago, you have some options:
- A 21-hour flight (including a long layover)
- A nonstop in the evening
- A double-airline connecting flight departing at 6 a.m.
What if you want a nonstop flight that leaves on July 1st around noon? You’re at the mercy of whatever the airline has to offer. The best private jet charter companies offer you relative flexibility in scheduling your flight. You can choose the general time and date you want to fly and just go.
- Convenience: These days, airports are a mess. Look at Canada’s constant airport delays because of lengthy screening processes for COVID-19. The average 3-hour wait for an international flight just turned to six hours. Tack on security screenings, customs line-ups, and a shepherded queue just to check your luggage…it can make a half day of travel into a full day.
A charter eliminates the inconveniences of typical airports and replaces them with personalized, first-class service, zero wait times, and speedy boarding.
- Airport location flexibility: Have you ever landed near your destination, only to drive an extra 7 hours to your exact location? With a private jet charter, you can land at smaller airports and landing strips, unbound by the location limits of traditional airports.
- Customization: Need to host business calls in-flight? Have a lot of luggage with you? Flying private via charter offers much more flexibility during your travel time, from who is with you to what food you’ll eat.
- Time-saving: Remember all those airport waits we mentioned? Not only are those inconvenient and frustrating, but they can also take up a lot of time, which is avoided with private jet chartering.
- Pet-friendliness: Has a commercial airline ever forced you to put your dog in the plane’s cargo section? Or you’ve had your dog crying all flight? A private jet charter accommodates your pet and allows them to sit beside you.
With so many benefits, you’re probably ready to charter a private jet! Let’s take a look at the process.
How to charter a private jet
These days, everything is online. You can book and schedule a private jet charter to an international destination without leaving your living room. Here’s what you need to do:
- Find a private jet chartering company: You may already have a membership private jet chartering company that you’ve worked with, and that makes it easy. If not, you can do some research first on private jet chartering companies that will work best for your travel needs (or keep reading below). You don’t always need a membership to book, but flights can be more expensive without one.
- Decide your destination: Make notes of your ideal travel time and destinations, as well as your preference for booking a seat or an entire charter flight.
- Assess your flight needs: Do you need more than one charter flight per year? 35+ flight hours? Whatever your needs, note them down to help you narrow down your ideal package.
- Request a quote: Browse our list of the best private jet charter companies and get a few quotes.
- Speak to an agent: After obtaining a quote, speak to an agent of the charter companies you’re considering using. Ask them about pricing, availability, and any other details relevant to your trip.
- Confirm your details: Book your trip!
Best Private Jet Charter Companies
Private jet charters offer the epitome of luxury and flexibility. No other flight service gives you the same convenience, but even some charter companies are better than others. Here are some of the best in the private jet chartering business:
Think charters are only for celebrities? Wheels Up aims to change that perception with its dynamic membership options. Instead of scheduling one chartered flight, customers can choose from various memberships to gain access to multiple charters per year. But even as a non-member, you can book a charter flight through the company’s app.
A potential drawback—customers complain about long wait times, likely a trickling effect from COVID-19. After you purchase a membership, you could be waiting up to 90 days to get on your first flight.
If you’re interested in learning more about Wheels Up, check out our full review!
- Real-time pricing
- Access to 1,500 planes
- Capped hourly rates
- Private and shared flights
- Availability with 24-hours notice
- Networking events
- Deals for empty-leg flights and helicopter charters
- Aircraft sales and management
Non-members: $5,000 – $20,000 per charter flight
- Initiation fee: $2,995
- Renewal and annual dues: $2,495
- Initiation: $17,500
- Annual dues: $8,500
- Initiation: $29,500
- Renewal: $14,500
Vistajet is one of the most luxurious–albeit expensive–private jet charter companies on our list. A huge plus is the unique flight experience offered by their upgraded cabins. VistaJet knows the value of impeccable aircraft interiors and refurbishment, informing their new design concept across the entire fleet.
Unlike other companies, Vistajet lets you tailor your ideal membership program by assessing your flight needs. You can plug in your most frequent destinations and schedules, and the company offers you the best package.
- A fleet of over 80 private jets
- VIP access to art fairs
- Exclusive partnerships
- 24-hours notice availability
- Empty-leg flight deals
- Global reach
$12,000 – $20,000 per flight hour
Founded in 2006, XO Jets offers immense flexibility in its private jet charter services. You can book a seat on a private charter (shared flight) or a private flight entirely. If you book a private charter, you can even sell seats to other passengers to help make up the cost.
Additionally, XO is one of the few companies that lets you fly private with as little a commitment as possible–and competitive pricing. The company invites you to look at this service as an a-la-carte menu, where you’re in charge of what you get. Booking one seat on a charter helps you save money while still experiencing all the perks of a charter flight.
XO also offers membership options where you can purchase fractional ownership of a private jet. Jetsetters can pick from Rise, Select, Signature, and Elite Access programs.
- A fleet of over 3,000 aircraft
- Individual seat booking, private charter, and membership options
- Dynamic pricing
- VIP events
- Rise: $595/year; 3.5% administrative fee
- Select: $250/month; $50,000 deposit
- Signature $500/month; $100,000 deposit
- Elite Access: $1,000/month; $100,000 deposit
Flexjet is a pillar in the charter community, offering fractional jet ownership programs since 1995. In fact, the company’s fractional program was the first to achieve the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard.
With Flexjet, you can purchase 1/16th of an aircraft and enjoy countless ownership benefits without the same hassles of full ownership. They boast an incredible fleet, including the Gulfstream G65 and Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet.
Keep in mind that while you’ll experience many of the expected charter benefits with Flexjet, you’ll be subject to black-out dates that may impact your plans. Additionally, you don’t have the same flexibility as a traditional charter. The company’s jet cards and fractional ownership programs demand some commitment and prohibit the flexibility of a one-time charter.
- Availability with 5-days notice
- Young aircraft fleet (as young as six years)
- Private and shared flights
- Dedicated account managers and cabin crews
- Networking events
- Impeccable safety record
- Custom flight plans
- Fine dining
Netjets is similar to Flexjets in that they both require a level of commitment to access charter flights. One-time bookings aren’t possible; instead, Netjets memberships offer programs for jet setters that wish to fly a minimum of ten hours per year.
Out of all the best private jet charter companies on our list, Netjets is the only one that offers an unbelievable 4-6 hours’ notice for availability. They provide charter services to celebrities like Metallica and Nacho Figueras—a testament to their utmost professionalism.
- Jet cards
- Fractional ownership
- Strong safety record
- 4-6 hours’ notice for availability
- Variety of aircraft, from light to long-range jets
Jettly is a private jet charter company that offers flexible service and membership options, from wholesale charter pricing to unlimited charter bookings with more elite tier memberships.
- Comfortable amenities, including fine dining
- Individual and group charters
- Jet miles reward program
- Personalized coordination
- Medical flights
- Charters and membership programs
Free: Wholesale pricing for charters
Personal: $370/month for one charter
Business: $670/month for three charters
Jet Card: $997 unlimited charters jet card package
Conclusion: Get Support Flying Private
The best private jet charter companies make your life easier and more enjoyable. Flying can feel luxurious, with personalized service and flexible control over your destinations and flight schedules.
If you’re a private jet owner looking to charter your aircraft, get in touch. We’ll spruce up your interiors with a new carpet or complete interior refurbishment, making your aircraft ready for the market. Contact us today for a consultation!