When I talk to people about flying on private aircraft, I often find myself answering the same questions: “What are the advantages of flying on a private plane versus flying on a commercial airline?” and “Isn’t flying private considered a luxury?”
There are many advantages to private jet travel. And, while it’s true that private jet accommodations can be luxurious, the real advantages of flying on a private plane are convenience and efficiency. For example, passengers don’t have to fly out of busy hub airports unless they want to. If they live or work near a smaller general aviation airport, they can depart from there and avoid traffic typically found at large commercial airports.
Even if passengers choose to leave from a busy hub airport, they depart from a small facility called a Fixed Base of Operation, or FBO. This cuts out all of the chaos of a commercial terminal. Before 9-11, security was much more relaxed and passengers could drive their own cars onto the tarmac. Today, they must park in an adjoining lot and take provided shuttle to the aircraft. It’s not a bad deal – parking lots for private flyers are usually free and secure 24/7. And, transport drivers are available to load passengers’ bags onto the plane for them. Passengers are always with their belongings, so there’s no reason to worry that luggage will be lost, damaged, or sent to the wrong city.
Flying private also saves passengers the stress and frustration of going through those dreaded security lines. While the aircraft captain has the right to search passengers’ bags, there is no line, X-ray machine, wand, or removal of shoes, clothing, belts and jewelry. Aircraft captains traditionally greet their passengers at the FBO and ask to see identification before escorting the group to the aircraft. If passengers are late, the aircraft waits. There are no plane changes during the flight, so no reason to sprint across sprawling airports to catch connecting planes. And, once they’re on the aircraft, passengers choose when to eat and drink whatever they have pre-ordered for their group.
Flying private is just that – private. And confidential. The only people on board are those invited by the lead passenger. The group can work uninterrupted or hold meetings if they need to. Almost all aircraft are equipped with connections for laptops; some have cabin phones and fax machines. Depending on the aircraft, passengers can listen to music, watch movies or even satellite TV. They can walk around and change seats. On overnight flights, if there is space, beds can be made up for the passengers.
Before landing, aircraft crew can call ground transportation so passengers don’t have to wait. These actions by the crew and team on the ground take the hassle out of air travel. Passengers arrive at their destination ready to work or play. They save time and get more done. They can visit multiple destinations in one day, or change flight times and destinations throughout the day as needed. Want real life examples? Check out stories by Allen Howell and Dan Boedigheimer on flying private. If it sounds like everyone is singing the same tune, it’s only because it is true.