It’s time to ditch the economy and first-class seats and start flying in real luxury. Flying in a private jet is the way to go — if you can afford it. But how much does a private jet cost?
Living the high-life and splurging on a private jet is a one-of-a-kind experience. The opportunity only comes around once in a lifetime for many people. For others, flying around the world in a private jet is the norm.
Regardless of whether you’re a first-timer or a frequent flyer, private jet pricing transparency can be murky. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the cost of private jets.
We’re going to clear the air and show you exactly how much flying in a private jet costs. We’ll discuss the different flight options so you can decide if booking a private jet makes sense for you.
How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?
Private jet pricing is largely dependant on how you want to book your private flight. You have a few different options to choose from that range from chartering a jet to outright ownership of a private jet.
There are many variables that affect the cost of a private jet — like the type of jet and size of the aircraft. We’ll cover all of these variables in the next section. First, let’s look at the different flight options you can choose from.
Owning a Private Jet
Purchasing your own private jet is the most expensive option on the list. You can purchase a used jet for several hundred thousand dollars while a brand new jet ranges from $3-$90 million, but those aren’t your only costs.
Owning a private jet gives you complete freedom to do as you please. You can fly whenever and wherever you want — as long as you can afford it. You can treat yourself to a lavish vacation in the Hamptons or fly round-trip from New York to Los Angeles for a last-minute business meeting.
Private ownership gives you the most freedom but comes with the highest price tag. You’ll need to pay for the initial acquisition, plus all of the fuel, maintenance, and storage fees that come along with it.
The cost of maintaining your jet year around can be astronomical. These annual maintenance costs can push into the million-dollar range, especially if you have a newer, state-of-the-art jet.
Estimated cost: $3 to $90 million for a new jet or several hundred thousand dollars for a used jet, plus annual maintenance costs
Chartering a Private Jet
An on-demand charter flight can cost anywhere from $1,300 to $13,000 per flight hour. You’ll also be responsible for paying for additional flight fees, which we’ll cover in detail below.
Chartering a private jet is a cheaper alternative than owning your own jet, especially if you don’t fly as often. Private jet charters are a common choice for people interested in booking private flights without having the overhead costs of a personal jet. They also allow for more flexibility without having to enter into a long-term commitment.
Most charter companies charge an hourly rate and let you choose from various charter aircraft within their fleet. Charter prices will increase depending on which aircraft you choose, the dates you’re flying, and the current availability of aircrafts.
Estimated cost: $1,300 to $13,000 per flight hour, plus additional fees
Fractional ownership gives you an affordable way to reap the benefits of private jet ownership without the high overhead costs. It enables you to purchase a share of an entire fleet of jets starting around $500,000 and going into the million-dollar range.
Fractional ownership was a novel ownership model that was introduced back in the ’80s by the company that’s now known as NetJets. Owners can purchase a share — say 1/16 or 1/8 of a jet — which then gives them access to a certain number of hours on a private jet within the fleet.
You aren’t limited to the jet you purchased a share of. You have access to all jets within the fleet and have the ability to sell your asset once your contract is up. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the headaches that come along with private ownership — like maintaining your jet, hiring flight crews, or storing your jet when you’re not using it.
Companies like NetJets also offer other options like jet cards, which are essentially prepaid flight hours that you can use with their fleet of jets. This is just another way to get you in the air without the headache of taking care of your own private plane.
Estimated cost: Shares start around $500,000 per year and go into the millions
Other Private Aviation Options
There are even more options you can look into beyond the flight programs mentioned above. There are plenty of companies that are pushing the boundaries of private aviation and making it more cost-effective for the everyday traveler to book private jets.
One of these companies is JSX — a subsidiary of JetSuite. JSX lets you reserve a seat on a public charter flight. Sure, you’re not completely alone on a private jet, but you still get to reap the benefits of an amazing experience on a lavish, small aircraft.
Another innovative company shaking things up is SurfAir, which offers a membership-based program that combines the frequency of commercial airline schedules with the luxury and perks of private flights. You can pay by the month or year and receive unlimited flights. Plus, you have a sleek iPhone app that enables you to book flights on the go.
Estimated cost: Varies depending on the company — as little as $2,500 per year plus $500 per flight
Cost Factors of Private Jets
The cost of private air travel is influenced by a range of additional costs and surcharges. You will be responsible for paying some of the following fees to fly private no matter which ownership model or charter service you choose.
Aircraft Cost Factors
Which jet you choose to fly in is the biggest factor that influences how much you’ll pay. As a rule of thumb, the larger and newer the aircraft, the more you’ll have to pay.
- Category: You’ll incur more costs if you decide to fly with a larger jet. There are several jet categories ranging from light jets to midsize planes to long-range heavy jets.
- Type: There are many different private jet companies and jet types you can choose from that impact how much you’ll pay. Some examples are Gulfstream G700s, Bombardier Learjets, or Embraer Phenoms.
- Age: You can save some cash by opting for an older jet. Newer jets have state-of-the-art technology and will command a higher price point since they’ll give you all the bells and whistles.
Flight Cost Factors
There are many variable and fixed costs you’ll incur while you’re in the air and on the tarmac. You’ll need to consider all of the following before deciding to book your next private flight.
- Flight time: This is the billable flight time you’re charged from the moment you lift-off to the moment you land at your destination.
- Fuel surcharges: Not only will the cost of fuel be built into the price of your flight, you’ll also be charged extra if the price of fuel is abnormally high at the time of your flight.
- Landing: The airport authority charges landing fees for every flight that comes onto the runway.
- Ramp and handling: These are fees you must pay to have a crew handle your jet and get it off the runway so you can disembark.
- Aircraft positioning: Sometimes your requested jet won’t be at your airport of choice. You’ll need to foot the bill to get your jet to your current location and then back to its home airport after your trip.
- Hangar usage: Storing your jet in a hangar isn’t always required. In many cases, hangars are used in wintery conditions to avoid having to deice the aircraft.
- Deicing: Cold climates and high altitudes can cause snow and ice to build up on the aircraft. Whenever this happens, you’ll be charged to deice the plane before it can embark on its next flight.
- In-flight Wi-Fi: New aircrafts will have complimentary Wi-Fi, but older models will charge a premium for every gigabit you use while in the air.
- Cleaning: Cleaning charges will be thrown on your bill if you leave a mess that requires deep cleaning. Keep your jet clean and you won’t have to worry about this one.
Additional Miscellaneous Fees
There are also some miscellaneous fees you may have never thought of, like paying for the flight crew to stay in a hotel and penalties for flying short distances.
- Crew overnights: Flying cross-country with a flight crew to serve your needs is pure bliss. However, you’ll need to cover the costs of providing the entire crew with meals and accommodations.
- Short legs: Short-leg fees come up when you have your jet in the air for a short period of time. Typically this is under a two-hour flight.
- Federal taxes: There are two federal taxes you need to consider — U.S. segment fees and excise taxes. A segment fee is charged for each passenger on board your flight. The federal excise tax is 7.5% of the amount you paid for your air travel.
- International charges: Anytime you fly internationally you’ll be charged fees associated with customs, immigration, and landing permits in other countries.
- Custom catering: Custom catering can put the cherry on top of your luxurious flight — but it won’t be a free endeavor. You can choose your menu and hire a gourmet chef, but be prepared to pay extra.
Can You Afford to Fly in a Private Jet?
Flying in a private jet means you’ll never have to worry about dealing with the hassle of commercial airlines and conflicting flight schedules. It also means no more waiting in long security lines or collecting your things from the baggage carousel.
But the question is, can you afford to fly in a private jet? We’ve highlighted several options above that range from buying your own jet to downloading an app and purchasing a year-long membership.
Private air travel can be for everyone — both the ultra-wealthy and the everyday traveler who wants to splurge on a private jet on special occasions. While private jet prices can be intimidating, there are options you can look into that make it more affordable to get a piece of the high-life and fly in your very own private jet.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.