I work as a travel journalist, but the job isn’t always as spectacular as it seems. When need to take a flight, I frequently book commercials in the coach to get my wife and children where we need to go for the greatest price. But, there are better decisions to make, and I’m not talking about first class, there are reasonable choices on a case-by-case and route-by-route basis. Yes, I’m talking about a private jet flight.
The private jet industry has grown dramatically in recent years, due primarily to the COVID epidemic. In general, most individuals believe that flying on a private plane is safer (for their health) than flying on a commercial airline. Prices have reduced significantly as a result of greater competition in this area, while supply has also grown. The following are the primary reasons for the rise in popularity of employing private jets:
- Avoid COVID by flying on commercial airlines and airports that are packed.
- Terrible airport service and huge queues.
- Onboard the carriers’ planes, there is crammed seating and bad service.
- Commercial flights to “secondary” cities and locations are few.
Instead, flying private or semi-private is a viable option. In certain situations, it is even less expensive than flying economy, because it avoids the huge lineups and delays that come with busier airports. Private jets lend themselves more readily to social separation since boarding takes place in private hangars and planes, allowing for a far smaller passenger number.
I sorted some of the top carriers, from boarding your own flight to booking an openly available seat on a semi-private jet flight. I did that after my own wonderful experiences flying semi-private. Do you want something even better? They provide reasonable pricing to the general public.
The following are the most cost-effective private jet companies:
Best overall – JSX
JSX is a private major airline that offers luxurious private-flying services, yet tickets are available to the general public. JSX operates out of private airports and hangars (officially known as “fixed-base operators,” or FBOs) that are located near several big airports, and it caps flights at just 30 persons.
According to data published by the brand’s internal analytics department, JSX witnessed a 55 percent growth in new leisure-market clients from February 2020 to February 2021. I’ve flown it several times and always chose it when the cost is less than or equal to traveling commercially, which is typically the case.
You’ll go through a private jet terminal instead of a standard airport with JSX. You won’t have to deal with crowds or TSA lines, but you’ll still be safe since JSX employs TSA Secure Flight, which uses the same TSA-provided background-check methods as big airlines.
The ticket is fairly competitive on regular or off-peak days (even cheaper than certain budget carriers’ for some legs) and the experience is significantly superior, including food, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), checked luggage, and pet expenses.
-Price: $119 as a starting point. For example, a recent search revealed a slew of $119 flights between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as $179 flights between Oakland and Orange County during off-peak hours. During busy periods, those same flights might cost upwards of $400.
-Checked luggage, pets, food, and alcoholic beverages are all included.
-Cities that are served include Reno-Tahoe, Concordia-Napa, Oakland, Monterey, Burbank, LAX, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Destin, Miami, Westchester County, New York, Lajitas/Big Bend, Horseshoe Bay.
-Advantages: JSX is hassle-free (arrive just 20 minutes before your trip), quiet (30 seat maximum per plane and no commercial airport facilities), and a great bargain beginning at $119. On non-peak or off-peak times, the airfare is quite affordable, even lower than other budget airlines’ for some legs while providing a considerably greater experience.
-Disadvantages: For the time being, routes are limited, with no options for connecting to other locations. In addition, peak-season costs might skyrocket.
Best for design enthusiasts – Aero
Aero is one of the country’s youngest airlines, with its first flight scheduled for February 2021. It uses custom-designed 16-seat planes to provide premium seats on direct flights between private airports; no trip will include more than 16 guests.
This shared-charter concept combines the advantages of private aviation — such as avoiding commercial airport terminals and overcrowded planes — with a handpicked selection of sought locations at a fraction of the price.
Aero provides a seamless experience for all passengers through its customized concierge service, which includes hosts who provide individualized service on everything from booking on-the-ground transport services and localized experiences to compiling in-flight amenities and supplying special beverages and artisan snacks — basically any pre-flight and post-flight logistics that the traveler wants to be managed.
Aero’s in-house design department is in charge of the interiors (not common among startup airlines, where design is typically outsourced). Vibrant lighting, a unique Bongiovi Acoustic Lab audio system embedded into the panels of the walls for 360-degree sound, hand-stitched Italian leather seat coverings, handmade suede sidewalls, and distinctive ultra-leather piping on the ceiling. These are just a few of the interior features.
-Price: $1,000 each trip as a starting point
-Professional concierge service, involving pre-and post-flight journeys, is one of the standout features.
-Flights to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Los Cabos, San Francisco, Sun Valley, Idaho, and Aspen are available from a VIP airport lounge in Los Angeles. Flights to Geneva, Nice, and London are available as Europe destinations.
-Advantages: Unlike most commercial flights, Aero provides white-glove treatment from booking to departure and even after the journey. A professional concierge, luggage assistance, curbside greeting, and car service booking. They are all provided to every flyer. The interior decor is exquisite, and dogs are permitted on board.
-Disadvantages: Aero currently only serves a few locations in the United States and Europe. It’s also a brand-new service, which may excite some tourists but frighten others.
Best value – Set Jet
Set Jet is a membership-based private jet rental company in Scottsdale, Arizona, that is offered to security pre-screened and pre-approved members. While there is a monthly membership charge, the value might be substantial if you fly frequently.
Only members are permitted to travel, and you must be a United States resident with a valid driver’s license or passport issued domestically to be eligible.
Set Jet arranges private jet charter flights to six of the most popular West Coast locations, as well as nonstop flights between Los Angeles and New York City and occasional flights to Cabo San Lucas and Aspen. The service runs through private facilities, avoiding the usual drawbacks of commercial plane travel.
Members fly on Bombardier Challenger 850/CRJ 200 and CRJ900 aircraft with cabin layouts ranging from 15 to 19 seats. These planes have high-gloss wood, marble embellishments, buttery leather, and luxurious carpeting, making them feel like luxury hotel rooms. Pilots are usually military-trained jet fighter pilots with a lot of experience and a good track record.
-Price: Starting at $99.95 per month (month to month) membership fee; flights start at $560 each way.
-Checked luggage, food, beverages, and pets with the advance written notification are all included.
-Cities that are served include: Scottsdale, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, and New York, these are all open all year. Cabo San Lucas and Aspen are opened occasionally.
-Advantages: You determine the timing if you’re the first to book a flight on a route. And Set Jet has promised to fly even if only one of its members booked a flight. That’s excellent VIP treatment.
-Disadvantages: You must be a member of Set Jet to fly, which is wonderful for frequent travelers but less so for casual passengers. Members must pay $99.95 per month in membership fees as well as $99.95 for a security check.
Best for luxury – Wheels Up
Wheels Up enable tourists to book private charter flights at an hourly fee that is all-inclusive. Wheels Up are one of the leading players in the private jets industry, having purchased several others along the road. It was founded in 2013 and became a publicly listed corporation in July 2021.
Originally a membership-only service, the firm now allows anybody to use the app to book available flights on-demand. The fleet consists of 1,500 planes, including the King Air 350i (an eight-seater turbojet), the middle-class Cessna Citation Excel/XLS (with a four-hour range), and the ultra-fast and high-flying Cessna Citation X (with a big, elegant interior). It has a nonstop flight time of over six hours.
On a company-sponsored trip between Los Angeles and Napa, I did try out two of them. Wheels Up provide a really premium private jet experience, with seven to ten passengers in each aircraft (compared to, for instance, 30 for JSX or up to 19 on Set Jet). The interior of Citation X has eight sumptuous leather seats and even a beautiful leather-covered lavatory when I flew it. The journey was smooth, quiet, and calm, with snacks and refreshments provided on demand in a small lounge area.
Wheels Up members also get discounts at Wine Access and Waldorf Astoria hotels, as well as a pay-by-the-seat shuttle service from Westchester to Nantucket through Nantucket Shuttle Service, AmEx membership discounts, and a slew of additional advantages.
-Price: The Connect Membership has a one-time initiation charge of $2,995, with yearly dues of $2,495 beginning in year two. Non-members can now book on a per-leg basis as well, with lower prices and other benefits. For under $7,000, you can book a complete jet from Burbank to Las Vegas.
-Snacks, beverages, pets, checked luggage, access to partnerships such as Wine Access services, and exclusive resort rates are all included.
-Wheels Up can service passengers on all point-to-point excursions within North America and Europe, as well as trips throughout the world if they begin or conclude in the United States.
-Advantages: Through a community messaging function, Wheels Up enables travelers to share flight legs with other passengers traveling the same route, making your private flight more practical. There’s no need to negotiate a Venmo payment because the airline invoices the other party. Members may also reserve tickets on empty-leg journeys (when an aircraft is moved to a different destination) for as little as $320 per leg.
-Disadvantages: Unlike, say, JSX, there are no $119 fares available here. The entry-level Core membership’s initiation price approaches $3,000, so Wheels Up is suited for a frequent traveler who intends to remain.
Best subscription service – Surf Air
Surf Air, situated in Los Angeles, provides members with access to private charter flights for a monthly subscription.
The service concentrates on planned short-haul flights throughout California and Texas, offering regular trip choices similar to commercial airlines but with the luxury ambiance and advantages of private air travel. Members may book excursions using an easy-to-use smartphone app and then arrive at the airport 15 minutes before the flight without having to wait in queues or dealing with crowds.
Memberships start at a reasonable $199 per month and include per-seat access to all flights. Travelers may obtain unlimited off-peak flights and access to everything else for $999 per month. Prices rise from there: for $2,999 per month, you can travel throughout the whole network without restrictions.
-Price: The cost of membership begins at $199 per month. You may also book per seat for as little as $99. Unlimited flying memberships start at $999 per month – yes, flights are included in this membership category.
-Noteworthy inclusions: Some membership categories provide unlimited flights as part of the monthly charge.
–Surf Air offers on-demand flights (which customers may book according to their preferences) to more than 5,000 regional and international destinations around the United States, as well as scheduled flights (which follow a pre-determined schedule) along the West Coast and Texas.
-Advantages: SurfAir is affordable, with flights starting at $99 per flight or $199 per month. It’s significantly more flexible than many other subscription-based businesses because of this.
-Disadvantages: There is a $500 membership registration cost.
Best for a wide range of aircraft – Blade
Blade enables customers to book seats on regular flights around the Northeast and West Coast, as well as a charter or crowdsource a journey anywhere in the world. For maximum versatility, the range comprises not just jets but also helicopters, turboprops, and seaplanes. As a result, they provide a wide range of alternatives at various price points for a wide spectrum of travelers, and the Blade fleet’s diversity is unrivaled in the industry.
The blade may be flown without a membership. For planned flights, users just download the app or book online. Travelers can also book a private charter, a crowdsourced charter, or individual seats on a scheduled aircraft using the app.
It’s becoming a popular way to go to JFK Airport in New York to connect to important flights rather than fighting gridlock.
-Price: Starting at $195, Blade allows customers to fly between Manhattan and JFK six days a week in New York City. The cost of charter flights and trips over larger distances rises from there. To go from Manhattan to the Hamptons, for example, budget $795.
-Access to the lounge, meals, and beverages are all included.
-Blade Anywhere allows you to charter an aircraft to any city on the globe.
-Advantages: Scheduled, crowdsourced, and private flights may all be booked using an app. Blade’s fleet comprises helicopters, seaplanes, and jets, providing a diverse range of transportation alternatives.
-Disadvantages: If you can’t find an open scheduled flight, expect to pay a high price for a charter trip.
Frequently Asked Questions about Low-Cost Private Jet Flights
How much does a private flight cost?
It is dependent on the airline that you select. The only semi-private flights on our list begin at $119 per flight with no subscription fees.
However, be expecting to pay thousands of dollars in most circumstances if you charter a completely private jet.
What is the most affordable private jet service?
On a per-flight basis, we’ve found JSX to be excellent value, as their tickets are quite reasonable as long as you don’t book during busy times.
What is the best way to explore private flights?
Here’s where to start: our list. Many of these firms have websites or smartphone apps that allow you to book affordable private flights.