What you need to know – How to book a private jet

Here’s a question for you, “How do you book a private jet?” 

Maybe you think that question is not for you, but, it’s worth noting that before the emergence of COVID-19, there were a lot of people who thought exactly the same. 

One of the initial impacts of the pandemic was the closing of borders and the grounding of scheduled airlines, an impact that is still being felt in every part of the world. However, that question, ‘How to book a private jet?’ has become more commonplace as the issues begin to subside.  Figures indicate that private jet hire has bounced back from 2019 figures by more than 80%, and is still growing.

It seems that the world of private jet hire has found a whole new audience. The main reasons behind this shift towards the demand for private jet hire are the lack of readily available scheduled flights and the element of safer travel in a pandemic-hit world. There are also far more private aircraft available for hire, resulting in greater choice, more destinations, and reduced cost. 

According to an industry expert quoted in an article by Forbes, “There are about 8.2 million households in the US with a net worth of two million or more. The majority of them weren’t flying private before […] we are seeing a huge shift in that narrative now, it’s a health and safety thing.”

But this increasing demand has raised a question in the minds of private individuals and business travelers alike, how exactly do you book a private jet, and what questions should you be asking? In this article we’re going to walk you through the process of how to book a jet, what elements determine the cost of arranging  a private jet, and offer some real advice along the way.

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The first steps in booking a private plane

Where do you want to go, and who do you want to take with you? That’s usually the first consideration when it comes to booking a private jet flight. What might seem like a no-brainer first question makes sense when you realize that private jet hire can give you access to well over 5,000 airports and private airfields across North America. With so much choice available, you might be able to find an airport that’s closer to your ultimate destination, saving you both time and money.

Armed with this information, you are ready to move to the next stage in the process of booking a private charter jet – Aircraft Operator or Charter Broker? These are the professionals who can suggest alternative times, dates, aircraft types, and even recommend airports nearer or more convenient to your destination. One thing to keep in mind is that the more questions you ask, the more likely it is that your broker or operator can exactly match your needs.

Aircraft Operator or Charter Broker – the choice is yours

Whether you use an aircraft operator or a charter broker may not seem like much of a difference, but knowing that difference can play a major part in factoring in what you want, and what you get.

In North America, an Aircraft Operator holds a stringently controlled license allowing them to sell flights directly to individuals. Charter Brokers are independent third-party companies, who create the relationship between the customer and the operator for afee. While dealing directly with an aircraft operator may save you money, long-established and professional charter brokers tend to have extensive networks, which can offer greater choice and allow you to take full control of each aspect of the charter. Plus, if your intention to navigate the ins and outs of chartering a private jet seem a little too daunting for a first-timer, a charter broker can simplify the whole process. 

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Whichever direction you decide to take, the golden rule is to seek advice and references and to conduct a background check on either operators or brokers. If you’re in the market to book a private flight always keep in mind, if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

What determines the cost of a private jet?

The cost is determined by multiple factors; the number of passengers, the flight itinerary (single or multiple destinations), flight distance, extras (ground transport, special catering requests, interior customization), security, or corporate branding. If you are planning to fly with a group over 15 your group will require a larger jet. 

Only your operator or broker can accurately tell you how much it’s going to cost to book a private jet flight for your particular needs. 

What are the distance ranges of private jets?

Whole books have been written on the subject of the distance range of private jets, suffice to say that it is a complex subject with many headings and even more subheadings. But, we’re including a simple guide to some of the most popular aircraft types associated with private air charter, including their range, and their maximum flying time. 

Aircraft TypeMaximum RangeMaximum Flight Time
Turboprop (4-6 passengers)1000-1500 miles4-5 hours
Light Jet (4-6 passengers)1000-1800 miles5 hours
Midsize Jet (6-9 passengers)2000-3000 miles6 hours
Supermid Jet3000-4000 miles7 hours
Large Cabin Jet (15-19 passengers)4000+ miles10+ hours

How far in advance should you book your private jet flight?

When it comes to booking a charter flight, you have incredible flexibility. You control your date and time of departure. With commercial air travel, if you want to book a flight from New York to Miami, the ticket price will depend on the time of year, day of the week, and is liable to fluctuate wildly. In contrast, the cost of a private jet charter rarely fluctuates at all – except in exceptional cases.

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One of those exceptional cases may be due to increased demand on a certain route. This can happen during major sporting events, concerts, political rallies, or during peak holiday times. To overcome any increased prices associated with such events, it might be wise to book well in advance. A little research about your destination and events during your visit will help you anticipate any likely price hikes.

When should you pay the charter broker

Whether you’ve chosen an airline operator or a charter broker you should usually receive a quote within one working day. Your broker or operator will have many factors, depending on your requests, to figure into the cost. They will have to assess the appropriate aircraft type that matches your needs, and also to check the availability of that aircraft. When you receive the quote, it should include the hire of the aircraft, fuel, taxes, airport fees, along with any personal requirements like ground transfer, special catering requests, or any other non-standard elements.

It is typical to pay upfront on signing the contract – which you should read very carefully to ensure you are adequately accommodated. 

By using a professional charter broker, booking a private jet flight is not the daunting task it might seem. One of the most established, Chapman Freeborn, does not have a call center, instead you’ll speak directly to an experienced charter broker. They are always on hand to guide you through every step of the journey. Because reputation is one of the biggest selling points for private jet charter brokers, they will usually go beyond the call of duty to ensure that your flight was organized exactly as you specified.

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