Those living on the East Coast will soon be able to fly with Beacon, another monthly membership airline, which will begin flying later this summer, starting with 18-20 daily flights between New York and Boston, as well as seasonally in the Hamptons and Nantucket. Memberships start at $2,000 per month (plus a $1000 initiation fee, which will be waived if you join before Sept. 1, 2015).
There are some significant additional caveats to discount private plane travel. Often these deals are only for one-way flights, so they will then need to find an alternative way back. It’s also important to understand that there may be extra fees added to the cost of your flight — such as airport or landing fees — so read the contract to determine what’s included and what’s not. De-icing fees, for example, can be significant and may be passed on to consumers, says Jeff Trance, the SVP of private jets for the U.S. for jet charter company Air Partner.
Are these lower prices the reason more Americans are chartering planes? Virtuoso’s statistics indicate that the number of private charter trips increased by 10 percent from 2014 to 2016, and statistics from the research company Euromonitor show that the number of passengers in the United States who chartered planes increased from 4.88 million in 2013 to 5.32 million in 2016 (this number excludes helicopter charters).
If you’re flexible both on when you fly and where you fly, you’ll likely get the best deals, says Trance. Call the company and ask about the cost differences between, say, a Saturday and a Tuesday and see if you can fly into a nearby airport. Fridays and Sundays tend to be the most expensive times to travel, says Justin Sullivan, the co-founder of FLITE Air Taxi. And, of course, last-minute deals can be significant so it may be worth waiting until about 72 hours before you want to fly to find deals, says Trance, though this is, of course, risky.
JetSuite.com, which flies to more than 2,000 airports, aggregates private jet flights with empty seats to offer daily “next-day” deals. You can rent the entire plane — a max of 6 seats — starting at just $536 each way, which shakes out to less than $90 per person. Past deals have included a flight for six people from Oxford, Conn., to Philadelphia for $536.43 (that’s about $90 per person, which includes the 7.5% federal excise tax), a flight for four people from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for $499 (that’s about $124 per person); for four people from Orange County, Calif., to Chicago for $536 (that’s about $135 per person); and for six people from Teterboro (in New Jersey, near New York City) to Nassau, Bahamas, for $1,074 (that’s about $179 per person). (In all of the above cases, to get the per person rate, you must book all seats on the plane.)
For $5.25 million, the HondaJet Elite is the fastest and highest-flying plane in its category of very light jets. Its fuselage features a unique Over-The-Wing Engine Mount (OTWEM) configuration, Natural Laminar Flow (NLF) nose and wing, and composite fuselage, which improve performance and efficiency. It is more fuel efficient and emits less greenhouse gases than other similarly sized twin-engine business jets. HondaJet
Perhaps most important for many business professionals, however, are the freedom and security that only private jets can offer. A private jet is a productivity multiplier, allowing you and your company to be more competitive, nimbler, and more successful, by optimizing your time, flexibility, and efficiency. In today's ever-competitive global marketplace, a private jet enables direct, face-to-face contact with clients, customers, and personnel, to a degree not otherwise possible.
Cessna simultaneously developed the Citation Mustang, a six-place twinjet (2 crew + 4 passengers), followed by the Embraer Phenom 100 and the Honda Jet. They have a maximum takeoff weight lighter than the FAR Part 23 12,500 pounds limit, and are approved for single-pilot operation. They typically accommodate 5-7 passengers over a 965 nmi average range, with a $3.6M mean price. Some VLJs such as the Eclipse and Mustang have no or limited lavatory facilities.
Some prefer more specific terms that may include a manufacturer’s name along with the aircraft model number, and configuration features such as a distinct cabin layout or upgraded avionics package. However, even using very specific terms when searching for aircraft for sale online may miss some listings due to variations in identification; for example, “Gulfstream G550” vs. “Gulfstream G-550.” More inclusive searches, such as “Gulfstream, large-cabin jet” yield more results.
According to Jahid Fazal-Karim, owner and chairman of the board of Jetcraft, the sweet spot for buying a plane is between three and five years old in terms of value. Fazal-Karim knows what he is talking about, having overseen more than 500 transactions worth over $10 billion in value since he started his career at Jetcraft in 2008. He is often referred to as one of the most powerful players in business and private aviation. Jetcraft
Blade, which doesn’t require membership, also sells flights, but only from December through mid-March and on one route, between Westchester County Airport (with or without a helicopter transfer from Manhattan) and its own terminal in Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. From $1,285 each way, fliers travel on a Bombardier commercial jet retrofitted with 16 seats and receive an array of amenities such as catered meals from Dean & Deluca as well as iPad Pros loaded with first-run movies; they also get accommodations for the weekend at Faena Miami, a luxury beachfront hotel.
Charter operators own or manage private jets for multiple clients. Like traditional flight departments, charter companies handle all aspects of aircraft operation and maintenance. However, they are not aligned with just one corporation. They manage aircraft for a private owner or corporation and also handle the sales of available flight time on the aircraft they own or manage. Maintenance services can also be provided which typically include on-site or mobile repair, major and minor routine inspections, troubleshooting assistance away from base, avionics installation and repair, jet engine and battery service, interior modifications and refurbishment, Inspection Authority (IA) qualified inspectors, aircraft planning and budgetary projections, compliance with service bulletins, aircraft storage management, record keeping and management, technical appraisal of private jet purchases, leases and lease terminations, and Part 91 or Part 135 conformity inspections.