Five memorable private jet flights in 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on an unforgettable year here at PrivateFly. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unforseen challenges across the world and, although in private jet charter we’ve not seen the same fall in demand as other parts of the aviation and travel industries, it’s certainly been a rollercoaster twelve months.

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Pilots in cockpit private jet

When many countries entered lockdowns in March, our flights were focussed around getting clients home or to a safe place before borders closed. With airlines grounding their fleets, many people weren’t able to access commercial flights, or didn’t want to risk exposure to the virus in crowded airports or shared cabins. So our industry was able to fill that gap.

Repatriations and other essential travel continued to be the mainstay in April, when flight activity was at its lowest, and similarly through May. Then June brought relaxations to border controls in Europe, and clients began to travel again. Both existing private jet users, and new ones – who were attracted to the ability to travel in a private bubble.

The summer period of July to September went on to be very busy and, while business travel has not returned in any signficant way, autumn continued to see strong flight demand and we end the year having arranged more flights than in 2019.

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Our new Private Jet Charter Trends report for 2020, looks back at the year via statistics on top aircraft, destinations, pricing, lead times and more. But behind the data, every flight this year has a story to tell. These are just some of the flights that stand out.

1. Across the world on a G650

G650 galley + cabin

The G650 is spacious and well-equipped for longer flights.

Our longest flight of the year was in May, when we flew one family 11,966 miles across the world, between London and Auckland. New Zealand passport holders, the clients have a young baby and they were keen to return home but avoid airline flights.

We arranged an ultra-long range Gulfstream G650, which is light, spacious and comfortable for longer flights. It performed the trip in just under 22 hours of flying time, with a fuel stop in Kuala Lumpur.

2. Filling airline gaps

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Many of our 2020 flights have filled gaps in airline schedules, including repatriating those working or studying overseas.

In the spring and summer, we arranged many private airliner charters to Copenhagen for groups of Chinese students, to connect with one of the few remaining direct airline routes from Europe to China.

3. Ever-changing itineraries

The challenges of travel restrictions this year have certainly kept us on our toes. One eventful flight at the height of the pandemic in April, was for an American family, repatriating from Europe to Salt Lake City.

After already stopping in Chicago to clear international Covid-19 health screening, an unexpected earthquake hit Salt Lake City, shutting the airport. We re-routed the flight, diverting to an alternative destination and the clients landed safely. After a long and eventful day, we had a car waiting to drive them home.

4. Special family memories

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We’ve arranged a number of special family trips this year. But one particularly special and memorable one in September was for a client suffering from a life-limiting illness, who had always wanted to see the Northern Lights with her family.

We worked with the operator and crew to carefully plan a route that thankfully enabled them to enjoy a fantastic sighting from the windows.

5. Pawesome pet flights

Cat on private jet

We’ve flown more pets than ever this year, including hundreds of cats, dogs, parrots and snakes. But two flights stand out for numbers alone! In September, we relocated a family from Italy to the UK, with their 16 pet cats. And in November, we helped an animal rescue charity fly 29 homeless dogs and one cat, from Crete to London.

For more stories from our flights this year, read our clients own words in our 800+ Trustpilot PrivateFly reviews. Or for expert advice, or pricing for your next flight, contact our team 24/7 on 020 7100 6960.