Advances in technology, especially mobile technology, has really begun to open up the possibilities of new ways people can access private jets. When PrivateFly launched in 2008, it was seen as a game-changer; with it main goal of using technology to transform the private jet booking process by making it easier, more accessible, and transparent. And as we’ve grown, we continue to keep innovation at the forefront of what we do.

However, one thing that our rapid growth has proved is that, while technology is important, it’s also vital that it’s backed up with a fantastic team, exceptional customer service, deep market insight, and industry experience to really make thing happen. We think we have perfected all those ingredients, seeing our business rapidly grow worldwide in the last few years, and why we can’t (and why we don’t want) to be labeled with a shortcut description – because we’re not (just) an “Uber of private jets”.

As technology continues to advance, a variety of new private jet booking models have begun to pop-up – from app-only brokers to seat sharing services – and it can sometimes be confusing to differentiate which option is the best for you when booking a private jet.

To help, here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of some of the new emerging business models we’re seeing in the private jet industry, and what you should know about them:

MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES

What It Is: This type of private jet booking model allows customers to pay a monthly fee, which enables them to fly privately without having to pay for each flight individually. The amount and types of flights available with the monthly fee vary by company, with some providing unlimited flights on specific routes and others allowing for only a select number of flights each month.

Pros: With a Monthly Subscription Service type private jet booking company, the idea is that you have the freedom of hopping on a flight without having the hassle of making a payment each time. This type of model is targeted at business travelers who tend to fly on the same route frequently, and could in theory, even save them money annually.

Cons: However, with this type of service, there are quite a few restrictions that come into play, often with different terms and conditions that limit the amount of choices you have for your trips, as well as the level of privacy you have on each flight. And since you pay a monthly fee no matter how many times you fly, if you don’t fly frequently enough, you could end up spending more money than choosing a dedicated charter flight each time. Plus, you are restricted to the routes that are available or specific departure times.

PrivateFly is not a monthly subscription service. In fact, we do not charge any subscriptions to our customers. That means that when you book with PrivateFly, you’ll receive the maximum flexibility on aircraft types and departure times.

SEAT SHARING SERVICES

What It Is: Private jet seat sharing services allow customers to book a single seat on a private jet, rather than book an entire aircraft, for a trip.

Pros: This service is based similarly off the same idea as booking a seat on a commercial airline, however you now receive the perks of private jet travel, such as no security lines, less time spent at the airport, and less people on your flight. Also, since you’re only paying for a seat and not for an entire aircraft, this option can be cheaper than chartering an entire aircraft by yourself (if you find enough people who want to share on the same route and itinerary).

Cons: While you may be flying private for less, this type of service loses many of the actual benefits of private jet travel, which is all about privacy and flexibility. Not only are you sharing a jet with strangers, but you will also have to wait until all the passengers have arrived and boarded before taking off, making the trip much less flexible. As a business model, this is also challenging since it takes high volumes to make it work (and every private jet clients wants VIP service and bespoke attention, even when they’re just buying a seat). So the “upgrade” from commercial airlines tends to become less beneficial.

PrivateFly is not a seat sharing model. When you book with us, you are paying for the entire aircraft and it’s up to you to choose how many colleagues or friends join you on your flight.

APP ONLY PRIVATE JET BOOKING SERVICE

What It Is: After Uber shook-up the taxi market, many are attempting to the do the same to the private aviation industry. Essentially, this type of model is the “Uber of the private jet industry”, allowing you to book a private jet straight from your phone, in a relatively short time.


Pros: Convenience is a major benefit of this type of service, especially compared to the way private jet charter used to work. You can “self-service”, and depending on the app, you also can get some other benefits, such as aircraft comparison and flight management, while others limit the amount of choices you have when using the app.

Cons: Similarly as the pros, the benefit of the app depends on the company. Some apps don’t allow you to book fully through the app and others limit the amount of choices you have for app services and booking. Additionally, with an app-only service, you can lose the high-quality customer service that is traditionally expected when booking a private jet. Today’s private jet customer wants both technology and TLC (with a VIP team behind it). With an app-only service, the risk is that you won’t have a personal contact at the company who knows your needs, ensuring that your flight is bespoke and goes off smoothly.

While PrivateFly does have an advanced app (which allows you to book entirely on your mobile) we are more than just an app. Call now and speak directly to our VIP team at (866) 726-1222.

EMPTY LEG ONLY SERVICES

What It Is: Empty legs allow private jet operators the ability to sell empty flights for a fraction of the cost of a typical private jet flight. This allows those who typically couldn’t afford to fly privately, the ability to afford a private jet flight, or can save considerable cost for those who frequently fly. Some services specialize only in empty legs, offering private jet deals on one-way flights.

Pros: The cost is the main pull to booking a private jet through empty leg only services. Flights can be up to 75% cheaper with empty leg options, and in some cases, making private jet travel almost as cheap as flying commercially.

Cons: Simply put – empty legs are tricky. They offer a fantastic price opportunity, but you have very limited options for which flights you can book, and they can be unreliable, which means you need to stay very flexible in order to fly on one. You also need to be prepared to book at short notice, and it’s also very unlikely you’ll find an empty leg deal for a round-trip (meaning you’ll have to find another way of getting home). Most full-service private jet companies offer empty legs anyways (see our available empty legs here), so there’s no need to only book through an empty leg only service, where you might not have the wider expertise and industry knowledge to help make your flight happen without a hitch.

PrivateFly does sell empty legs, but they are less than 5% of our business. 95% of our flights are dedicated to private jet charters not dependent on any 3rd parties.

Monthly Subscription Services

Seat Sharing Services

App Only Private Jet Booking Services

Empty Legs Only Services

PrivateFly

Flexibility

Yes

No

Sometimes

No

Yes

24/7 Customer Service

Yes

Yes

Sometimes

No

Yes

Price Comparison

No

Yes

Sometimes

No

Yes

Range of Aircraft Choice

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Range of Destination Choice

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

App Booking Ability

Sometimes

Sometimes

Yes

Sometimes

Yes

Last Minute Flight Availability

Sometimes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Empty Legs

No

No

Sometimes

Yes

Yes

Transparency

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

If you’d like to discuss a personalized private jet charter for any of your trips, contact us or call our 24/7 VIP Flight Team at (866) 726-1222.