How Private Jet Networks Have Become the New Travel Hack – And Why They're Surprisingly Affordable

Flying by private jet is no longer reserved for rock stars and hedge fund managers. You can get in on the action – and once you do, there’s no going back.

Say goodbye to the endless waits and congested lines of busy airports, as we explore the exclusive benefits of boarding in private hangars and enjoying the spacious comfort of planes with significantly reduced passenger counts. From the unparalleled convenience of chartering your own flight to the more accessible option of booking a seat on a semi-private jet, we uncover the various avenues available for experiencing the ultimate in personalized air travel.

And the pièce de résistance: travel insurance can help cover the cost of your slice of the private jet experience against trip cancellation and interruption. See how.

Let's unlock the not-so-secret world of private-jets and uncover the why, the how, and the how much.

Looking for travel protection for your private flight? Learn more

Why go private?

Why? Because flying can be luxurious.

What used to be a special experience now makes you feel like you’re stuck in a cattle roundup. In between the lines, terminal sprints, delays, cancellations, and other airport stressors, a lot of the fun has gone out of flying commercial.

If nothing else, flying on a private jet brings romance and convenience back into flying. Suddenly it’s quicker to fly from New York to Washington. Not only that, but you’re treated like someone special.

Even better, private jets often service smaller airports that can be closer to your destination – whether that’s downtown in a major metro area or adjacent to a resort area.

For instance, if you’re vacationing in the Outer Banks, you can fly into Norfolk and drive 82 miles on congested roads or take a charter to one of the Outer Banks’ smaller airports. Similarly, if you’re visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons it’s easier to take a charter into Jackson, Wyoming, than to try to catch a commercial flight. From Hilton Head to Half Moon Bay, charters are the way to get closer to your getaway – and the vacation starts the minute you board.

For business travelers it's not just about comfort and convenience; it's also about efficiency. Time is money, and time saved by avoiding layovers or waiting for connecting flights can directly translate to the bottom line.

Also read: The Worst Airports for Flight Delays

How to fly private

The word "affordable" is relative, but the cost of flying on a private jet has decreased significantly. We’ll talk about that momentarily, but first let’s get down to understanding the different ways to fly out of a private terminal.

The most affordable option is to book a seat on scheduled flight out of a private terminal. This is sometimes called semi-private since the plane is shared. Another perk of choosing this method of private jet setting is that it works well with travel protection plans from Generali Global Assistance.

If you’re looking at jet rentals as more than a one-off you’ll need some sort of membership. There are three basic membership types. Depending on your needs, you’ll want to investigate:

Fractional memberships

As the name implies, you own a fraction of a plane, along with a set number of other people. You share the jet and the costs. Contracts generally cover everything from the actual cost of the plane to maintenance, storage, and staffing. Depending on the number of fractions, this is generally the most expensive option.

Jet-card memberships

In these programs you pay a base membership fee and then pay as you go based on the hours you fly. Cards are usually sold in 25-hour increments where you lock in an hourly rate for a specific aircraft.

Charter memberships

These often charge a relatively small annual membership fee, after which you buy time as needed. When you charter a plane under these arrangements you can get “potluck” – i.e., whatever plane is available. You’re also on the hook for any fuel surcharges, landing fees, ramp fees, parking fees, overnight charges, catering, taxes, and more.

Also read: Tips for Luxury Travel on a Budget

How much does a private jet flight cost?

Membership Costs

If you choose one of the jet rental membership options noted above, expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege. Bear in mind that is not a per-person cost, and there are ways to save.

For instance, “empty-leg” flight options can save money. These occur when a jet has dropped off passengers and has to return to its home base empty. If one of these flights aligns with your schedule or you’re willing to be flexible you can enjoy private-jet luxury at a fraction of the cost. 

Short-haul flights can also be more affordable. If you’re flying from Chicago to Wisconsin for golf or fishing it could cost just a few thousand dollars. Split among a few friends, that’s "why not?" territory.

“One-Off” Costs

Private aviation networks have been making waves in the airline industry, making it easy to find and book a seat on a shared flight in a private jet. Here’s where it starts to look more affordable to fly private – often less expensive than traveling first-class on a commercial flight.

For example, when searching for a roundtrip flight from Dallas to Denver, a common commercial airline might cost you about $300 for economy or $1,300 for first-class, and you could travel on a shared private flight for about $700.* That’s just one case, but you get the idea.

Also read: What Airlines Owe You in Case of Flight Delays and Cancellations

Services to Consider

These airlines fall into the category of being more accessible to all kinds of travelers, offering services from renting an entire jet for you and your friends to booking an individual seat on a scheduled flight in a shared private jet:

Aero stands out for its exceptional attention to detail, offering a distinctive flying experience beyond the conventional. From booking to post-flight arrangements, it boasts white-glove service. The airline’s sleek design and pet-friendly policy enhance its appeal.

JSX is reaching out to a broader audience with more of an airline feel to its booking engine. Travelers also appreciate JSX's focus on comfort and efficiency, offering spacious cabins and hassle-free boarding procedures.

XO members enjoy flexibility in choosing flight times and destinations, along with top-notch service and amenities. However, XO's membership requirements, including annual fees and booking minimums, may deter occasional flyers.

Also read: The Worst Airlines for Flight Delays

You can avoid airport chaos like this when you fly private!

Travel protection and private flights

A flight out of a private terminal is treated the same as any other flight when it comes to travel protection, as long as the flight meets our definition of a Common Carrier:

COMMON CARRIER means any land, water or air conveyance, with scheduled and published departure and arrival times, operated under a license for the transportation of passengers for hire, not including taxicabs or rented, leased or privately owned motor vehicles.

For instance, the private jet airlines listed above all have services that qualify for full travel insurance coverage. In their case, as long as the flights are scheduled and published, your private flight can be covered.

For flights of this stature we recommend getting our Premium plan –  created with luxury trips in mind. 

Getting a quote is easy, too.

Common Carrier delays and cancellations are one of the covered events that travel insurance is designed to help with. If your flight isn’t considered a Common Carrier, there are certain events that would not be covered by travel protection that might otherwise be covered if you were to fly commercial.

For example, if you shell out big bucks for a fully rented private plane for you and your friends, that likely wouldn’t qualify as a Common Carrier, since the arrival and departure times likely aren’t published and the plane would be rented.

In that case, if you insured your trip, you could still have your trip costs reimbursed if you were unable to make the trip because you became sick or injured, but you wouldn’t be eligible for Trip Cancellation coverage due to Common Carrier flight cancellation or delay.

You can search our Coverage Details page for “Common Carrier” to see the three covered events where this limitation applies.

Should you take a private jet? They can be more convenient than commercial air, and offer privacy, flexibility, and an undeniable air of luxury. On the other hand, they almost always cost more than commercial air.

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your budget. But be warned: Once you get a taste of the private jet terminal, it’s hard to go back.

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*Flight pricing example is dated March 2024

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