Private jets used to be the reserve of the ultra-rich and famous. There are now ways to travel on a private jet which whilst still expensive, are a more affordable way for a special occasion or to tick it off the bucket list. I have to admit it is definitely on my bucket list but I still haven’t got round to it yet despite looking at the options many times. (Any private jets companies reading this that would like to give me a flight let me know!) Let’s have a look at the different options starting with the most expensive/exclusive and working our way down….
Buying empty legs
If you have a special occasion or just want to splash out, buying an empty leg of a private jet would be the simplest way to get the private jet aircraft to yourself. Empty legs are when the private jet has dropped off passengers somewhere or is going to collect them and the aircraft has to travel without any passengers. Obviously, this costs money to operate so companies will sell this off at a much-reduced price. There are quite a number of companies doing this now from the UK including Air Partner, Victor and Jetpartners. The prices are still not exactly cheap but if you were to fill the plane you could get seats starting around £500 per person. Some prices are also open to negotiation, particularly very close to the time. In the US empty legs are usually much cheaper, so if you want to fulfil a bucket list ambition it could be better to do it whilst on a US holiday.
The downside to empty legs is that you can never predict what is coming to come up and when, so you need to be flexible. Some companies operate a weekly mailing list with flights available 1-3 weeks in advance.
I like Air Partner for looking at empty legs as they have a clear list with prices on. Many of the other company websites don’t have this. I suspect that is because they are open to negotiation. Personally, I would rather know a ballpark figure so I don’t look stupid when I phone up and it turns out to be £20,000! Air Partner operate a range of private jet aircraft including the Hawker 800XP, Embraer Legacy (above), Phenom 300 and Cessna Citation Excel/XLS. They have empty leg flights from a wide range of UK airports including Luton, Farnborough and Manchester. You can find details of their current emplty legs and sign up for the weekly empty leg list here.
Shared private jet clubs and pay per seat
Shared private jet clubs were the latest things for private jets. Sadly the UK ones have pretty much fallen by the wayside. These companies operate a membership scheme where you can usually fly as much as you want on their private jets but you will be sharing the space with other people. They operate a set schedule to various destinations so you don’t have the flexibility like you would with a private jet.
However, the plus side is that it saves a huge amount of time in the airport as you fly from a private terminal and usually turn up a short time before the flight. The main company in the UK is XO (formally JetSmarter).
Unless you do a lot of flying you probably won’t want the membership option. However, the basic option is designed for occasional flyers who typically fly less than 25 hours each year.
The next option is to pay as you go. For this, the pricy option is that you can charter an aircraft and then XO will try to sell any empty seats for you.
The easiest and most affordable option is to simply buy a seat on a shared jet. Obviously, they don’t have a huge range of destinations, but for a special occasion, it could make an amazing treat for someone.
Jetclass – pay per seat
JetClass are a new operation in Europe and are aiming to make private jet travel affordable. At the moment they have several inter-Europe routes from places such as Nice, Zurich and Luxembourg which start at €390. This service is definitely on my list to try as it’s such a great price to get the private jet experience. Again it is a shared jet but you still get all the other perks of a private jet.
More information on JetClass.com
Private jets on fixed low price routes
PrivateFly is now offering fixed private jet charter pricing for key European City Pairs this summer, on specified routes to and from London, Paris, Nice, Rome, Milan, Geneva, Palma and Ibiza. The flights are on the Nextant 400XTi private jet. The catch is you have to book the entire aircraft, but if you have a special occasion coming up, this could be a great way to celebrate with some friends this summer. The aircraft seat six people.
Fly between the city pairs shown below – one-way in either direction. Price for up to six people.
- London & Paris Le Bourget €4,500
- London & Geneva €6,000
- London & Nice Cote d’Azur €7,000
- London & Milan Malpensa €6,500
- London & Ibiza €9,000
- London & Palma €9,000
- Paris Le Bourget & Geneva €4,500
- Paris Le Bourget & Nice Cote d’Azur €5,500
- Paris Le Bourget & Milan Malpensa €5,500
- Milan Malpensa & Rome Ciampino €5,000
These prices represent a 30% discount on average market pricing for this or equivalent aircraft models. Departure dates are up to 30 September 2019 (subject to aircraft and airport availability) and onboard drinks and catering are included.
You can find out more here.