Close

The Ultimate Guide to Flying Privately

19th February 2020 // By Dave Higdon

Private Jet guide

VistaJet forms part of our Ultimate Private Jet Guide for Non-owners

Nothing compares to the time efficiency, privacy and pure convenience of traveling aboard a private jet. Arrive at the airport. Go to the plane. The crew loads your luggage. Your shoes stay on. Personal items remain private — including electronics. Then, you board. Ready for departure, captain. But what is the best way to access that convenience?

Conventional wisdom says that aircraft ownership only makes financial sense when you fly 350 hours, or more, annually. Fortunately, aviation offers numerous other ways to access private aircraft, with many of these options providing a lower barrier of entry and without most of the complexities that accompany outright ownership.

We detail our four favorite options here: fractional programs, jet cards, membership programs and chartering flights.

Charters

For the flyer with only an occasional, irregular need to fly privately, no option offers the flexibility comparable to chartering an aircraft — with a commitment only as long as the trip itself. And the user enjoys a huge array of choices spanning the spectrum from single-engine piston aircraft all the way up to ‘bizliners’ — industry slang for commercial airliners outfitted and flown as private aircraft: think Airbus Corporate Jets and Boeing Business Jets. The charter operator supplies the aircraft, cabin crew and all of the flight services listed in the contract. There are no upfront commitment fees, membership fees or monthly dues. You book job-by-job, and pay by the flight hour and wait time between outbound and inbound legs.

JetSuite

The core of JetSuite’s business is its commitment-free charter business, and it offers charter services to domestic and global destinations. JetSuite’s all-Embraer fleet encompasses the manufacturer’s two light jets, the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300, as well as the large-cabin Legacy 650, with a 13-passenger cabin and the largest galley, lavatory and baggage-storage space in its class — and the company is looking to expand its fleet in 2020.

No matter which aircraft you choose, every flight features ample amenities including a signature scent from Parisian fragrance brand, Diptyque, Eternity Roses from Venus et Fleur, plus aromatherapy kits and special amenities for your pets. If you’re seeking more unique offerings, the company launched JetSuite Experiences in partnership with the Virtuoso travel company, Embark. Experiences include cooking lessons at Thomas Keller’s famed Napa Valley, California restaurant, The French Laundry, or outdoor adventures in Aspen, Colorado. jetsuite.com

Victor

Since its founding in 2011, Victor has become a prominent fixture in the private-aircraft charter world, operating globally from London, New York and Santa Barbara, California. Victor charges no membership fees, hidden fees or upfront costs. Its claim to fame is the unprecedented transparency it provides by connecting its clients directly to aircraft operators.

Victor’s quotes are fully transparent, allowing members to compare aircraft options based on named operators, real floor plans and images of the actual aircraft, complete with a specific tail number before they complete a booking. Victor works with a cadre of over 200 trusted partner operators around the world who provide access to thousands of aircraft and destinations. Victor also boasts an industry-leading flight management team to support customers’ end-to-end travel requirements. flyvictor.com

Image credits: Paul Bowen Photography