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Woman taking a selfie with a smartphone, with a group of friends on board a private jet

Have more fun and pay less – hire a private jet with friends


If you thought you had to be Jeff Bezos or Jay-Z to fly private, it may come as a surprise that private jet charter is more doable than ever before. So if you’re up for adventure, private jet rental is cheaper in a group and still the best way to travel with friends.

Private jet charter may not be mainstream yet, but its popularity is growing every year. While a lot has been written about the jet-setting habits of the rich and famous, many who travel on private jet flights are ordinary people who have found ways to bring the cost of private jet hire within their reach. One of the best ways to do this is by group charter or to travel with friends. We’ll explain.

Reasons non A-listers hire private jets

  • Tourism. A private jet charter can get you to remote locations or land at airfields where there aren’t many airport facilities. Domestic and international travelers spent nearly $1.1 trillion in the U.S. in 2018 – and leisure travel made up 80% of all U.S. domestic travel, according to US Travel. Wellness tourism, mentioned in Skift’s annual travel industry trends forecast 2019, is now the fastest growing type of leisure travel. This is when people travel to take part in activities that promote health and wellbeing – so anything from rock climbing to visiting an organic farm.
  • Sports and concerts. Each year millions of Americans travel to major sporting events and concerts. Whether it’s US Open Tennis, a MLB All-Star Game, the Masters, Daytona 500, or Ariana Grande, an increasingly popular way to jump the queue and cut through the crowds is to set down close to your stadium of choice in a private jet rental. When large jet charters and even private airliners are rented by clubs, sports teams, and groups of supporters, the private jet cost is for the whole aircraft no matter how many people are onboard. This makes the cost per head of group charter a surprisingly cost-efficient way to travel.
  • College tours. One of the easiest and most convenient ways to visit the colleges on your wish-list. Get some friends together and hire a group charter that cuts down on travel time and gets you to multiple destinations without breaking a sweat.
  • Events. Businesses and brands large and small use decorated luxury private jets to launch new products, and group charter is the quickest and most comfortable way to travel to meetings, conferences, and exhibitions. Whether delegates, sponsors, journalists, or top-performing employees, a bespoke private jet rental lets them know you mean business.
  • Birthdays, celebrations, and anniversaries. With so many ways to lower private jet prices, one of the coolest trends around is to take the people you love on a group vacation in your very own luxury private jet, or fly to that special out-of-state place where you first met to celebrate a wedding anniversary. These days, the only limit on travel is your imagination and private jet charter is all about fulfilling your personal requirements.

Group charter costs you less

Group of friends in airport walking and one riding on a luggage trolley
Group of friends in airport walking and one riding on a luggage trolley

Discounted private jet charter empty legs

Empty leg flights are the cheapest way to travel with friends. An empty leg flight is when passengers are dropped off at their destination and the airplane returns to its home base empty. Or when it must fly empty to pick up passengers at another airport. Each empty seat is lost revenue for the charter operator.

Empty leg specials help with fuel costs and can reduce the price of a regular private jet rental by up to 75% if you book in a group. For example, if the jet can accommodate six people, then the price of the discounted flight will be divided six ways – a good excuse to plan group vacations or travel with friends on a private jet charter for a spa weekend.

If you’re a family who loves to explore the country’s many off-the-map locations or you make the most of regular weekend breakaways for skiing, hiking or scuba diving with friends, empty legs are a great way to cut private jet rental costs. Air Charter Service has a selection of discounted Empty Leg Flights. All you need to do is click on an Empty Leg to make an enquiry, or sign up for the newsletter to get weekly emails. In a hurry? Why not reach out to our Empty Legs specialists and let them know your regularly flown routes. They’ll contact you with an update whenever one of your routes is available.

The private jet card

It’s an exciting time to fly by private jet. More people are trying out the private jet charter experience: boarding within minutes of take-off, all the comforts of flying onboard a luxury private jet, disembarking as close to your final destination as possible (whether remote or crowded) with luggage taken care of. So air charter operators are coming up with interesting ways to make private jet hire a travel option for those of us who haven’t made our first billion yet.

The Jet Card is one of these innovations. It works like a membership card for private jet charter services. So you can use different aircraft at an agreed-to fixed hourly rate. It’s one of the best ways to save on private jet flights. This way you have more flexibility in the amount of aircraft types you can choose and you’ll typically have the benefit of a shorter callout time for the aircraft. You also have other benefits like a dedicated concierge service available 24/7 to organize other aspects of your trip, from accommodation and transfers, to tickets for scheduled flights.

If your thing is traveling with friends to music festivals in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Tribeca or Toronto, or using long weekends to take a vacation with friends to explore national parks, a jet card lowers private jet rental costs and puts all the time and hassle of planning a trip in the hands of your dedicated concierge. Remember, you lower the private jet price when you and your friends book out an aircraft. Happy travels all the way!

Luxury private jets to suit your pocket

A young couple drinking champagne on board a private jet
A young couple drinking champagne on board a private jet

You can save significantly on a group charter or private jet flight by choosing an aircraft that’s perfectly suited to your requirements – no more and no less. This way you’re never disappointed with an inadequate charter and you don’t have to pay for more aircraft than you need.

So if you’re flying a short distance, your dedicated charter expert will help you select a smaller aircraft that will lower your private jet price. Very light jets or ‘air taxis’, helicopters and propeller planes, cost less to fly but they’re still really comfortable for short-haul flights. Air taxis are a great way to travel with friends or use for group vacations because they’re cheaper to operate and can land and take off from shorter runways and landing strips. This gives you access to remote destinations and smaller, local airports closer to your destination. An example is the six-passenger Cessna Citation CJ2 and CJ2 Plus that delivers an ideal balance of performance and comfort.

Mid-size jets, like the sleek Hawker Beechcraft 800XP, are better for longer cross country trips. The base price of hiring these jets is higher than an air taxi, but you won’t have to refuel or pay extra landing costs and layovers. For long distances across the U.S., we advise chartering a long-range private jet like the Bombardier Challenger 601 that has a large fuel tank.

If you’re after a group charter, often used by sports teams, entertainment management companies, and large event organizers, then you’ll need a larger passenger aircraft like a regional jet airliner, turboprop or VIP and executive airliner. The 18-passenger Airbus A318 Elite has a range for transatlantic flight as well as intercontinental travel.

How you travel impacts the cost of a jet charter

The type of trip you take will have an impact of the cost of your private jet rental. So chartering a private jet for a single journey (from a major airport to a remote location) will be cheaper than a return trip (to one location and back again). A multi-leg journey (letting you access multiple destinations without having to make alternative arrangements for car hire, buses or taxis between destinations) will be the most expensive charter. Private jet charter costs include:

  • Fuel for the distance you travel – prices change constantly so a surcharge is usually added to make up the difference between the projected cost on your quote, and the actual cost of flying.
  • Landing fees are worked out on the size and weight of your aircraft and vary depending on the airport. These fees go towards maintaining airport facilities.
  • Airport fees are charged for managing an aircraft while on the ground by a Fixed Based Operator (FBO) or Aircraft Handling Company. This includes servicing the aircraft’s toilets, arranging fuel and passenger transport to and from the terminal, and rest facilities for the crew.
  • On a return journey, ramp fees are charged when a plane is parked at an airport overnight or for any length of time.
  • Other costs of multi-leg journeys can include overnight accommodation for private jet charter crew members and their taxis to and from hotel to airport during stop-overs.

How much will it cost to travel with friends on a luxury private jet?

If you would like to book a group charter or travel with friends on a private jet charter, speak to our team who will take you through the options available to you to meet your specific needs. And don’t forget to ask about the world’s most flexible jet card and other ways to lower private jet rental costs.

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