1) It can be far cheaper than one might think: especially if the traveler is enterprising enough. According to a recent Forbes article it is possible to fly privately for as little as $59 or for as much as $10 Million and up.
Our case in point for one enterprising traveller is Tom Church, a professional bargain hunter who recently made the news after he found that it is possible to catch private flights across the UK at cheaper last minute rates than taking the train. His story was picked up after he published this discovery to his website, latestdeals.co.uk.
According to The Independent, 26-year-old Tom Church booked a plane from London to Newcastle as a solo passenger for just £67. The equivalent cost for a train ticket was £146, more than double the price. Outraged at the price for a train ticket, he sought out a service called Wingly, which puts hobbyist pilots in touch with members of the public for mutual benefit. In an interview with the Independent Tom suggested: “People should definitely give this a go. If you go onto the website and can’t see anything that works for you, you can write a message asking pilots to take you somewhere. The pilots love it because they get to try new routes they don’t often choose to do.”
It goes without saying of course that those who are looking for a more luxurious private flight experience should generally expect to pay more. Empty legs can go for as little as $500, from there the options for private jet charter include fractional jet ownership, on-demand charter or, Jet Cards which enable customers to pay a fixed price based on the number of hours of private jet travel. However, when comparing prices, restrictions, aircraft type and positioning charges, flying on demand private charter will tend to guarantee the best price versus jet cards or fractional jet ownership. It should also be mentioned that for private charter flights the whole plane is rented, rather than just a seat. For this reason, when a group of people fly together the cost can be split for a considerable saving.
2) No queues or hassles: Private fliersbypass the painfully slow commercial airport terminals, enabling them to check in just 15 minutes before departure, and they can be on their merry way again within five minutes of landing. Passengers also don’t have to contend with lost baggage between the airport and aircraft, or flight layovers as they aren’t limited by the airline’s flight schedule, or delays due to late landing aircraft, and of course, no lengthy security lines.
3) More locations to choose from: Private charter customers have the freedom to choose from their preferred departure and arrival terminals. If the final destination is nearer to a small private airport or airfield then you’re free to land and leave from there and avoid the traffic that usually surrounds major airports. This way, it is possible to spend more time at the destination and less time getting there. The time saving offered here can be very valuable to companies and senior executives.
4) An airborne modern office: The private aviation industry is emerging as the new center of innovation, overtaking the commercial airlines. The mod cons are analogous to those of hotels, offices and the home, with big steps in recent years where connectivity is concerned. With large aerodynamic mounted antennae and support from Ka-band systems, private jets are becoming capable of supporting speeds of 100 Mbps. Customers can even take calls on their personal phones from 7 miles high. Private travel is fast, convenient and it enables passengers to remain productive whilst flying. Time is money.
5) Better service: For starters, by flying on a private business jet, the ratio of flight attendants to passengers is invariably greater than that of the commercial airlines. Customers will therefore find that the service is more attentive to their individual needs. They may also find that staff conduct themselves with a little more decorum than the stereotypical flight attendant might, gossiping noisily to their colleagues. First class catering and Champaign are a given but private airlines also do their utmost to ensure that they are able to accommodate a plethora of catering requests and amenities. Customers can even bring their pets on board should they choose.
6) More privacy: Passengers understandably, may not feel comfortable opening or working on personal files in the crowded environment of a commercial airliner. As commercial airline travel becomes increasingly unbearable especially on-board in economy where scenes from the likes of comedy films like ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ can play out more like documentaries. Screaming children, cramped seating, unwanted attention from other passengers or the tendency for other passengers to ‘rubberneck’ on each other’s personal conversations are but a few of the common annoyances that can be avoided.
In today’s crowded airports and on cramped carriers, customer complaints for commercial aviation are soaring; In April 2017 the U.S. the Department of Transportation (DOT) recorded a 70% jump in airline service complaints by consumers compared to April 2016. Watch-dogs like the European based Air-Transport Users Council (AUC) have also reported higher numbers of customer complaints. The most common complaints are attributed to delays, lost baggage and long check in times. There are of course an assortment of other nuisances, many of which passengers will often accept with gritted teeth, as part of the modern travel experience. Poor customer experience in the commercial space is cultivating new opportunities for its alternatives. Easier, cheaper and more innovative than many realise, and with a slew of benefits being offered to an increasingly savvy customer base, private flying is emerging as an increasingly viable option.
Written by: James Stirzaker