There was a time not long ago when chartering a private jet was an activity exclusive to the rich and famous. However, as the nature of business travel and the airline industry are becoming less compatible, more people than ever before are chartering their own flights.
Though most air travelers would probably never consider chartering a private plane or jet, it might actually be a better option than commercial flying in some situations. For business people in particular, time is always of the essence, and commercial airline schedules are often a matter of inconvenience. Chartered flights, on the other hand, tend to have a very flexible schedule. Travelers in a hurry can book a last minute flight and leave whenever they need to.
Of course, this personal service comes at a premium price. Chartered planes usually command a price of $800 to $5,000 per hour, depending on the type of plane used. Plush Gulfstream and Challenger jets are the most expensive to charter, while smaller turboprop aircraft offer a cheaper alternative.The jets are plush, boast a smooth and swift ride, and can seat up to 15 passengers. The turboprops, in contrast, are slower and tend to have a bumpy ride.
In addition, business travelers are forced to pay higher commercial fares than leisure travelers. Those that typically fly first class may actually save some money with charter flights. First class tickets bought at the last minute for shorter flights, such as those from the east coast to the Midwest, may actually cost hundreds more than a comparable chartered flight. And since many charter planes can book flights for multiple passengers, chartering a group of business executives to such a destination may save a substantial sum of money.
For travelers that buy their airline tickets in advance at discount prices, chartering a flight would be more a matter of luxury than anything else. Private planes and jets usually have more room to move around than commercial seats allow, and the accommodations tend to be quite a bit more lavish. The bottom line: charter flights are a viable alternative to regular air travel, at least for certain business people and those who have more money than time to spare.