Private jets are the stuff of luxe legend. When we hear about them we picture the filthy rich 0.1 percent relaxing on Italian leather with bikini-clad models, swirling Scotch in a jewel-encrusted tumbler, pondering how to acquire their next billion.
To us common folk the idea of eschewing the crowds at major airports and discomfort of commercial flights for driving up to a jet and getting airborne in minutes sounds like a dream. But believe it or not, the experience isn’t quite so out of reach as you might think.
We asked industry and travel experts for the best ways to get a taste of the high (up) life without losing everything you’ve got. Here are five tips worth trying.
“The best part about empty leg flights is that you have the entire jet to bring friends, family and pets—not just a seat,” adds JetSmarter Founder and CEO Sergey Petrossov. “Empty legs usually become available about one to three days prior to departure.”
1. Do Your Research
“The best thing about shopping around is not so much that you’ll save a mint (although it can be nice),” says Ryan Schneider, Founder/President of Jackson Aviation Group. “It helps the consumer get a better understanding of what a flight typically costs. Shopping will also help you find a private jet broker that you know and trust.”
2. Team Up
JustLuxe.com Lifestyle Editor Mila Pantovich recommends gathering a solid group of friends and family who love travelling as much as you do: “Many companies want you to fill the entire jet and while a six-seat flight may cost over $3,000 that’s still less than $600 per seat when split up.” Dan Kahn, Vice President of Charter Sales at ExcelAire, agrees: “The more people you put on a private jet, the more cost-efficient it becomes.”
3. Find the Right Jet
Jason Middleton, Co-Founder of Silver Air, recommends matching your numbers and distance to your aircraft: “Light jets like a CJ2 will best serve 4-6 people and can travel up to 800-1,200 miles. A mid-range Lear 60 holds 6-8 passengers and can travel 1,600-1,800 miles. Heavy jets like a G450 or GV carry up to 14 passengers and a cabin attendant and can take you just about anywhere in the world with a range of 4,500-6,000 miles.” To make the most of your money, look for a “goldilocks fit,” says James Butler, CEO of Shaircraft Solutions. “Not too large, not too small—just right.”
4. Utilize Empty Legs
Henry Thompson, Founder/CEO of Charter BuNo, believes empty legs (a segment of a round trip that is scheduled to be flown with no passengers) to always be the best-priced option: “Some individual jet companies can literally have thousands of empty legs a year that go unsold.” Just keep in mind empty legs are generally one-way, meaning private air palace out, commercial ride back, or vice versa. “The best part about empty leg flights is that you have the entire jet to bring friends, family and pets—not just a seat,” adds JetSmarter Founder and CEO Sergey Petrossov. “Empty legs usually become available about one to three days prior to departure.”
5. Be Spontaneous
“I look at last minute deals,” says Kyle Stewart, The Trip Sherpa. “And usually those where I can get an easy flight back, as they are all one-way trips and there is no guarantee you can get an empty leg on the way home.” B2 Aviation Founder and President Bernie Burns provides some good examples: “Jet Suite’s ‘SuiteDeals’ [hit] their website the day before. You can access these flights for as low as $536.”
Burns also suggests checking out the intriguing membership site Surf Air. Because hey, if you’re not going to be an Internet mogul, you can at least use the Internet to fly like one…