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PRIVATE JET VS FIRST CLASS: ULTIMATE COMPARISON WITH PROS & CONS

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First the disclaimer. Airvel is the world’s leading booking engine for private charter flights. So of course, we’re going to promote the benefits of flying on a private jet.

However, any best choice is highly subjective, based on your own preferences and needs. By comparing charter flights with first and business class options you can understand what is best for you, dependent on the situation. Sometimes it will be flying commercially. At other times you will see the benefit of chartering a plane.

Private Jet vs First Class

Price - Private Jet vs First Class

Fly on a private jet and you charter an entire jet. Fly first class and you essentially charter a seat. It’s understandably more expensive to charter an aircraft than a single seat. However, for most routing the cost per seat is less on a private jet. So if you fill all seats on the plane then the cost differential works in your favor. That’s especially true of flights less than two hours, where you can charter small- to mid-sized aircraft for charter. When flying internationally you’ll need a larger aircraft with a bigger range, which equates to a more expensive charter.

Businesses regularly use private jets as the price is advantageous. If they have to move teams of people or clients they get a better deal. Through Airvel’s proprietary technology it is now possible for individual travelers to purchase single seats on a charter flight. You can book and pay for a single seat then send an invite to clients or friends, who can then purchase their own seat. Once all the seats have been paid for the aircraft is confirmed.

Comfort - First Class vs Private Jet

Comfort depends on the aircraft and airline. First class probably has a slight edge in terms of in-seat comfort. Although jet brokers and stereotypes suggest that private aircraft are truly luxurious things, the majority of chartered jets are much simpler than Trump Force One. Private air travel is becoming more popular because it doesn’t have to include all the bells and whistles. The reality of a private jet is far more mundane than you may realize.

Despite the preconceptions of private jets, flying first class on commercial aircraft tends to be more luxurious than an executive jet. However, private jets have an advantage due to the bespoke nature of their industry. You can fly in any sort of amenity for the flight, be it specific catering or entertainment on board. You’ll always receive VIP service as you’re the only passenger. Most importantly, you can select an aircraft that’s most suitable for your needs. Some jets are set up boardroom style so you get business done during the flight. Others feature king-sized beds and showers.

Airport Experience - Private Jet Over First Class

Private jets usually depart from private terminals and airport FBOs. You can turn up ten minutes before the flight, breeze through personalized security, say hello to the captain and fly. At some airport FBOs you can drive onto the runway and board. As it’s a private terminal it’s also an exclusive experience. There is no queuing and no wasted time, no need to brave crowds or walk to distant terminal gates. And if you are delayed then the plane will wait.

First class passengers have a similar airport experience to economy class passengers. Of course there is a swanky lounge to wait in and prioritized check in, but everything else is very similar, including the need to arrive two hours before departure. When flying on a private jet you don’t need a lounge to wait in, because there isn’t any waiting time.

It’s easy to imagine that the airport experience is improved at a private terminal versus a commercial terminal. But the key difference is the time saved. Airport FBOs have expedited systems that can save you upwards of one hour for every flight. And that’s just for take off. Touch down at a private airport and you save additional time.

Business Convenience

Intensive business schedules often means visiting multiple destinations in one day or week. To do this efficiently you require a dedicated aircraft. Scheduling is incredibly flexible with private charters, allowing you to make changes that accommodate over-running or cancellations. If you have to continually reschedule then a private charter has you covered, but a commercial flight schedule is fixed.

Although some airlines have introduced business-focused cabins, such a feature has always been integral to private jets. So when traveling as a team or traveling with clients, private jets give you time to re-group or de-brief. It’s private, so you can continue your discussions without interruption. Ultimately you can get business done and maximize every moment in the day.

Flight Duration - Private Jet Over First Class

This is the biggie, especially for business travelers. Commercial flight schedules are restricted by a hub and spoke model. So while there are many options for flying New York to Los Angeles, or between other major US cities, reaching smaller destinations often requires a layover. With a charter flight you can fly anywhere, anytime. This becomes increasingly important when you need to reach multiple destinations in a single day or week.

Total Time

The time you save with private jet travel is not time saved in the air. Flight duration between Los Angeles and New York is similar for a Boeing 747 and a mid-sized executive jet. It’s the time saved on the ground that makes the difference with this routing. Turn up ten minutes before the flight vs two hours. Disembark and get out of the airport in ten minutes vs 30. Add on the time saved thanks to flexibility and easy rerouting; then think about the difference in flight duration when commercial schedules are unable to meet your needs.

Cost Comparison Part 2 - Private Jet vs First Class

Add up all the time saved and make the cost comparison again. Can you afford not to take a private jet? If it takes a team of eight three hours longer by commercial flight, what does that cost the business? If your competitors can complete a tour in two days but it takes you a week, what does that mean for the future? If you can get people to where they need to be quicker, what does that do for morale?

Through flexibility and time saved, private jets can transform how you travel. Traveling on a private jet can initially seem expensive. But take into account the value of time and the cost is rarely outlandish.

Maximize the Benefits of Flying By Private Jet

Realizing the benefits starts by comparing and selecting what is best for you.

  • Aircraft size
  • Aircraft configuration
  • Flight duration
  • Price
  • Amenities
  • Airport FBO

Airvel is the world’s premier booking engine for private air charters. You can search 4000 aircraft to 2500 locations and compare all these options.

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About Author

Michael Rickard
Michael Rickard

Private air charter expert and non-executive director at a large private aviation company based out of the mid-west. Specialist in simplifying the air charter industry through strategic partnerships and plain simple advice.

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