Trend Report: US vs European Private Jet Passengers

At PrivateFly, we have the privilege of flying passengers from all over the world, for different reasons, to all sorts of destinations across the globe. Thanks to this, we have the unique opportunity to observe trends as they emerge within the travel industry, including which destinations are becoming popular, what types of aircraft passengers prefer to fly on, and even specific differences between passengers from different countries.

In particular, as PrivateFly has continued to expand in the US private jet market, we’ve begun to notice some interesting trends that differentiate our American customers from our European ones.

While all of these trends do not apply to each customer in each area, here’s a general look at some differences between a US vs European private jet customer.

Types of Trips

Seasonality seems to fluctuate much more for our European customers, whereas for our American customers, there is a steadier stream of private jet inquiries and bookings throughout the year. Additionally, a larger proportion of flights requested by our US clients tend to be shorter trips that are between 40 minutes to 1 hour long, compared to the majority of our popular European requests which are between 1 – 2 hours long.

Private Jet Seasonality Trends in Europe vs USA

This could be due to the fact that many American passengers who fly by private jet are more often doing so for business reasons; usually flying between offices in different cities and utilizing private jet travel to make the most of their time. Europe, of course, uses private jet travel for business efficiency reasons too, but the proportion is different. The noticeable summer peak in private jet activity could suggest that European passengers lean toward the use of private jets more for leisure trips, compared to their American counterparts.

Aircraft Preferred

Recent data has revealed that Americans tend to use a wide variety of aircraft types, compared to Europeans who are more inclined towards small jets – specifically, the Cessna 510 Mustang, which over 20% of our European customers have flown in the past year.

While small jets are also the most popular type for American private jet customers, only 33% chose to fly on this aircraft type this year. In addition to the small jet, 23% of American passengers flew by small prop aircraft, 21% by medium jet, and 18% by long range jet. Compare that to European passengers, only 18% chose medium jets, 14% long range, and only a tiny 9% chose small prop aircraft.

This trend is also reflective in the choice of specific aircraft flown. While the most popular European aircraft was flown by 20% of passengers last year, the most popular American aircraft choice, the Hawker 800/800XP, was only flown by 6% of passengers.

Busiest Private Jet Events

In all markets, there are various events that create an increase in private jet movements, but taking a look at the type of events can always prove interesting to show what’s driving private aviation activity.

In Europe, the busiest weekend for private jet activity is during the Cannes Film Festival, which also coincides with the Monaco Grand Prix. This event attracts various high net worth individuals from across the globe, many of whom choose to arrive to these events by private jet.

In America, the busiest private jet event is for the Super Bowl, with many athletes, celebrities, corporate CEOs and others flying in to the event by private jet to watch the biggest football game of the year. A close second are the Coachella weekends, which draws more and more private jet activity each year, as the festival becomes a glamorous, must-attend event for the A-list.

Lead Time

Another key trend we’ve noticed is that our American clients tend to request their private jet flights with very short lead times, often booking a flight only a few days (or even hours!) ahead of when they’ll be flying. While we often receive short-notice flights from clients all over the world, European travelers are more likely to book their flights a few weeks or months ahead of when they’ll actually be flying.

So far this year, the average amount of days between booking and the day of flight for our American customers has been 6 days, while the average amount for European clients has been 19 days – more than three times the length of American private jet passengers.

This may be partly due to the same reason as to why American vs European clients choose to charter a private jet – with leisure trips being planned in advance, while business trips may come with a lot less notice.

Payment Preferences

Finally, one of the major differences we’ve noticed between our American and European customers is the way they prefer to pay for and book their private jet flights.

In general, the most popular method of payment for a private jet flight is through a bank transfer, however over 30% of American passengers also choose to pay by credit card, compared to only 15% of European clients who choose to do so.

Online Booking Trends

Additionally, as a technology platform, it’s interesting to look at booking behaviors and confidence online. We have customers booking via our website and through the PrivateFly app from all over the world.

Our American customers were very quick and willing to book directly through our website and app, possible because of the larger and more mature private jet market in North America. However, European customers have shown a dramatic shift towards booking private jets online over the last five years, and that trend is continuing to grow.

But across all regions, many of our customers still want to speak to our VIP Flight Team during some stage of the booking journey (which we always welcome, and why we’re available 24/7).

For a comparison of the private jet market in Europe vs USA, click here. Or see our USA vs Europe infographic.

To charter a private jet within the US, Europe, or any other part of the world, contact us or call our 24/7 Flight Team at (866) 726-1222.