17 July 2012

Jets Uncovered: 5 Myths about private aviation

There are many myths about private aviation, which can perpetuate the idea that it is a secretive mode of transport, complex and out of reach for all but the very few.

In our quest to make booking private jet hire more transparent, less complicated, and more cost-effective, PrivateFly debunks some common myths about hiring a private jet.

Myth 1: Private jets are only for the super rich
The paparazzi ensure that we see A-list Hollywood stars boarding a private jet on a regular basis.

But behind the headlines, the majority of private jet customers are not international celebrities or royalty. A private jet certainly offers a more luxurious travel experience and costs more than an airline ticket, but there is one overwhelming reason that people choose this mode of transport: To save time.

You can arrive at the airport just minutes before departure and use many more, smaller airports that may be closer to your destination or home. A tailor-made schedule also allows day return trips which wouldn’t otherwise be possible using airline flights – so avoiding overnight stays.

For a senior business person on a tight schedule, whose time out of the office is critical, the efficiency benefits are significant.

Leisure travellers looking to arrange time-saving transport for a special occasion, or for group travel such as overseas weddings, are also increasingly seeing the benefits.

Myth 2: Owning a jet gives you more flexibility than hiring one
A small minority may buy their own jets as a status symbol, but a private jet is a very expensive and time-consuming toy. For almost every private jet traveller, it is smarter to charter. Find out more about buying your own private jet.

Jets, like boats, are a hassle to manage and an aircraft owner will be subject to an ongoing regime of maintenance, paperwork – and of course cost. It is far better to use someone else’s and be able to walk away at the end of the flight. And with over 7,000 global private jets available to charter, there is no need to compromise on flexibility or service.

Myth 3: Private jet charter pricing is complicated and confusing
Watch out for smoke screen marketing, which is designed to confuse the private jet customer. Chartering a jet can be as easy as booking an airline ticket.

The underlying cost calculations are the same on almost every flight – such as aircraft cost per hour, fuel per km flown, crew salaries, and landing fees (see our full rundown on private jet hire costs). With good advice, you can find the right combination of these, and costs can be reduced for example by considering airports which charges lower landing fees, or by looking at the pros and cons of different aircraft types.

Then of course it’s a case of the operator adding their own margin, which can vary considerably, particularly in a competitive market or when demand is particularly high. That’s why PrivateFly’s network allows our operators to see competitor bids for the same flight, resulting in the most cost-effective end price for the customer.

Myth 4: You don’t pass through security on a private jet trip
Given the short amount of time a private jet passenger will spend at the airport, many people mistakenly believe they don’t need to pass through security. In fact, private jets passengers are subject to the same checks as airline passengers, just without the queues.

Security staff at private jet terminals are well-trained and customer-focussed. The culture is all about providing a service to passengers, as well as ensuring procedures are followed. Security is still paramount but it is so seamless and quick than many passengers are unaware it is happening.

Myth 5: Private jets don’t fly faster than airliners
Most private jets do, in fact, fly at the same speed or faster than airliners. Whilst some light jets (like the Citation Mustang) have a slower cruising speed than airlines, the overall passenger journey time is much quicker for the following 3 reasons:

1. Time saving on the ground – your private jet will depart as soon as you arrive at the airport

2. Climb rate – private jets fly higher than airlines so are given more direct air traffic routing

3. Arrive closer to your final destination – private jets utilise more convenient located airports than airlines

The fastest passenger aircraft in the world is currently Cessna’s Citation X business jet, which flies just under the speed of sound at a cruising speed of 604 mph. This compares to the fastest aircraft used by airlines, the Boeing 747, which has a cruising speed of just over 500 mph.

Later this year, the Citation X will lose its title as the queen of speed when Gulfstream’s much-awaited G650 becomes available for private charter. Find out more about private jets and speed.

However the real time-saving is made on the ground, as outlined above. When it comes to overall journey time, a private jet beats an airline flight every time.

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