How to Rent a Private Jet

There are many factors to consider when choosing a mode of transport, including cost, convenience and environmental impact. For many of us, this precludes renting a private jet for our next trip – at least when it comes to price and the environment. But private jet travel isn’t nearly as out of reach as you might think, especially if you have a solid team looking to celebrate an important event in their lives or are desperate to keep warm over a long weekend.

The key to chartering a plane for a little less money is flexibility in departing from a small regional airport, according to Rich Palese, Evojets’ managing partner who acts as a broker to connect clients with pilots.

“The most important thing that will dramatically change the price is the airport you are flying from,” Palese tells Lifehacker. For example, “Teterboro [in New Jersey] is the main airport for private jets [in the three-state area]. The planes are based there or are just waiting for the next flight. “

Palese added that most of the cost associated with a private flight is how many times the plane takes off and lands, as pilots have to pay airport departure and entry fees. So if a plane leaves Teterboro to meet you at Kennedy Airport, for example, it could add an extra $ 2,000 to $ 3,000 for the trip.

This is contrary to the general rule of thumb on commercial flights, where choosing additional stops and connections can often be the way to find a cheaper trip. Below, we’ll break down the rest of the basics you need to know if you’re looking to fly a private jet for the first time:

How to find a private jet

Many private jet companies operate as brokers connecting you to the pilots. It is important to use their knowledge of where the aircraft is currently parked to maximize the quality of service. “You can book a private jet online, but this is not recommended for the inexperienced as there are many factors to consider,” said Lifehacker Doug Gollan, founder and editor of Private Jet Card Comparisons . “A good analogy is financial advisors or travel agents. You can do it yourself. But if you don’t know what you are doing, you can lose a lot of money and end up being miserable. It is best to use a broker. “

When you call the company, be sure to ask them about all available planes in your area, even if they are at an airport that you don’t usually use. They can then quote you prices and guide you through the differences between each aircraft.

Some sites will also allow you to fly on an empty leg if you want to find a one-way deal. Other companies, including XOJET and Talon Air , have their own fleet of luxury aircraft, and allows you to book directly.

Since you literally trust someone else with your life when you fly, it’s always a good idea to check your security data with a broker. “Please note that this deal is just as important and safe as a surgeon’s choice,” said Bob Seidel, CEO of Alerion Aviation , a private jet charter company, to Lifehacker. “Therefore, I recommend asking friends or business associates if they can recommend a quality service provider.”

Third-party rating firms such as ARGUS and WYVERN evaluate and certify companies and pilots that adhere to strict safety standards, so make sure the company you are considering is ARGUS Platinum or WYVERN Certified, Seidel explains.

ARGUS President Joe Moeggenberg said their website lists 140 operators nationwide that have received a platinum safety rating. If the aircraft is ARGUS certified, you can request its TripCHEQ , which is a document containing a history of inspections and any irregularities the pilot may have received. You can also use the Air Charter Guide to find ARGUS rated fleet operators and brokers worldwide.

What will you pay

If money isn’t an issue, the most important thing to look for is how to get the most out of your money. This is highly dependent on the size of the aircraft, the distance traveled and the length of the charter lease, Seidel explains. For example, light jets start at $ 2,500 per flight hour, while long-haul jets like the Gulfstream 650 can cost $ 12,000 per flight hour, he notes. Sites like Jet Advisors provide cost estimates so you can start comparing prices for different types of aircraft.

The price can also depend on where the plane should stop at the end of the day. “The price reflects the cost of changing the location of flights – this means that the plane has to fly from where it was to the place of departure and back to base after the flight,” explains Gollan. “Lower prices are usually based on same or next day round trip, when the same plane and crew can take you where you intend to go and then back.”

In addition to renting the aircraft itself, there are other costs involved. This includes boarding fees, which vary by airport from $ 300 to $ 2,000, meals, an additional flight attendant fee of about $ 600 per day, and crew overnight costs, which are around $ 500-600 per night, Seidel said. for a crew member, and federal expenses. Excise tax of 7.5 percent on the entire account.

Security Pass

Another reason people are willing to shell out extra money on private flights is, of course, to avoid the stress and waste of time spent on commercial flights.

Major and regional airports have separate areas for private flights. To avoid traffic jams, you drive to a different address than the regular arrivals terminal, and the plane does not take off until you reach it.

When you book a flight, your name (s) will be sent to TSA for background checks. Then, when you arrive at the airport, the guard will check your IDs and … that’s pretty much it. You pull up to the exit, a worker grabs your suitcases, and you usually hover for 10 to 20 minutes until the pilot meets you and tells you it’s time to take off. You don’t need to take off your shoes, split fluids, or a full body scanner.

Services on board

Most private jets provide snacks as well, but if it’s a longer flight you might consider bringing a more hearty meal and maybe some wine or beer if you’re looking to get the party going. Gollan said 80 percent of flights to the US are less than two hours long and typically offer coffee and a small bar with sodas, mini-spirits, wine divisions, ice and packaged snacks.

Larger jets like the Gulfstream G650, Bombardier’s Global Express or Boeing Business Jet have sofas and tables, even separate bedrooms and shows, and high-tech media lounges, Gollan said. Palese said the flights they organized served “everything from lobsters, steaks [and] Thanksgiving dinners” to Domino’s and KFC.

According to a post on PrivateFly, while more extravagant dining options can be provided, most customers opt for the simpler meals. They found that most people ask for cold antipasto, sushi, smoked salmon, fried or fried chicken, pizza, or baked goods.

What about Wi-Fi? Some older aircraft may not have Wi-Fi at all, Gollan said. In other cases, you need to ask the aircraft owner to turn on Wi-Fi for the duration of your flight. But before you do that, ask how it is charged, he warns, or you could end up with thousands of dollars in post-flight tax.


According to experts, small planes sometimes get a bad reputation due to more turbulence, but in reality it depends more on the weather and how high the plane flies in order to enter smoother air.

Private jets, especially newer models, typically fly over 40,000 feet, above most of the larger commercial aircraft, which typically reach around 35,000 feet, Moeggenberg said. This higher elevation contributes to a smoother ride because they can often avoid the weather conditions that affect commercial airlines, Seidel said.

Of course, the most important element for a unique flight is the right group. This is clearly not the most affordable travel option, so you need to make sure you are flying privately for a truly good reason and with people you really like – or at least tolerate – who can help share the cost.

This story was originally published in 2018 and has been updated on 11/27/19 to provide more complete and up-to-date information.


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