Skip to content
Corporate jet flying in the blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Private jet charter and types of private jets


Private jets are synonymous with the image of wealth, luxury and exclusivity. We hear about celebrities jetting off in their private planes from a shoot in LA to an interview in New York, and top executives and government officials going from continent to continent for important meetings and functions. When you imagine the experience of flying private you probably picture the finely embroidered leather seating, ample legroom, sparkling Champagne and great food, the company of your closest friends and colleagues, and the comfort and privacy to enjoy your flight in whichever way you choose. But thanks to private jet charter being more attainable than ever, you don’t have to be a millionaire or a high profile celebrity to fly private.

While private jet charter offers all these luxuries, and many more, not every private aircraft is able to offer the same things. Some aircraft are too small to have an on-board lavatory or private bedrooms, and some too small to seat a flight attendant; but some jets are also too large to land on certain runways or at smaller airports and cost far too much to charter for a quick city-hop or short-haul flight. You wouldn’t want to charter a 12-seater heavy jet like the Bombardier Challenger 605, for example, for yourself and a few colleagues to make a short one or two hour journey. Firstly, it would cost far more than it should to get you comfortably to your destination, but you also wouldn’t have any time to experience all the luxuries and facilities that a private jet like that has to offer. Instead you would be better off chartering a very light jet like the Cessna Citation Mustang, which is better suited to short-haul flights and would be more cost-effective and still luxurious. The key to private jet charter, and doing it well, is to know what type of private jet best suits your journey and your needs.

In part 1 of this post we will discuss the different types of jets and their amenities, what sets each type of private jet apart, what each type has to offer, and why it is important to know what type of aircraft is best suited to your travels. Private jets can be broken up into 6 basic categories: light jets, super-light jets, mid-size jets, super-mid-size jets, heavy jets, ultra-long-range jets, and executive airliners, also known as bizliners. These categories are determined based on passenger capacity, the range, and the size of the aircraft. But let’s start small.

Light jets are the most commonly chartered aircraft for short-haul flights and are extremely popular for business and point-to-point air taxi services. Light jets do also come in varying sizes within their own category, so let’s look at some examples of these.

In part 1 of this post we will discuss the different types of jets and their amenities, what sets each type of private jet apart, what each type has to offer, and why it is important to know what type of aircraft is best suited to your travels. Private jets can be broken up into 6 basic categories: light jets, super-light jets, mid-size jets, super-mid-size jets, heavy jets, ultra-long-range jets, and executive airliners, also known as bizliners. These categories are determined based on passenger capacity, the range, and the size of the aircraft. But let’s start small.

Light jets are the most commonly chartered aircraft for short-haul flights and are extremely popular for business and point-to-point air taxi services. Light jets do also come in varying sizes within their own category, so let’s look at some examples of these.

Very light jets

The first – and smallest – are the very light jets (VLJs), which are a relatively new and exciting addition to private aviation. They primarily offer an alternative to piston and turboprop aircraft, and though they are often referred to as entry-level jets, this is not a measure of their popularity or quality as passenger aircraft, or the level of comfort and luxury that they provide.

VLJs are cheaper to run and maintain than their standard light counterparts, and while they can’t manage the range that light jets offer, they can sometimes match them in speed with the added benefit of being able to land on short runways. The very light category is a combination of the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of turboprop aircraft, with the amenities and performance standards of a light jet – although the smaller size of a VLJ does mean that you will not have access to certain features.

Some jets in the very light category such as the Embraer Phenom 100, which can carry four passengers and reaches a cruise speed of 391mph, will feature a lavatory. But the Eclipse 500, which also seats four passengers and can reach cruise speeds of up to 425mph, does not. Also, neither of these jets have the capacity to crew a flight attendant. The major benefit of the very light jet class is that they provide flights into areas ignored by most commercial airlines (a benefit of being able to land on short runways) and they will get cover distances of 1,000-1,200 miles in a hurry, while carrying up to five passengers and a moderate amount of baggage.

Light jets and the super-light class

This is where you might want to upsize to a more standard-size light jet. What you are upgrading to here is a slightly increased passenger capacity, as well as an increased flight range. So, if you need to get a little further than just city-to-city, chartering a light jet could suit your journey better. Though most light jets won’t be able to crew a flight attendant, they will typically be able to seat up to eight passengers and most will come with an on-board lavatory. Despite their size, light jets can typically manage flight distances of 1,400-2,500 miles, and some can reach cruise speeds of over 500mph. Such is the case with the Bombardier Learjet 35, with a range capability of up to 2,500 miles at 540mph, carrying up to six passengers in absolute comfort. The Cessna Citation II is another popular light jet and can carry up to eight passengers with a range of up to 2,002 miles and at cruise speeds of up to 463mph.

While the light jet puts up impressive numbers for its size, there is another class of light jet that pushes those numbers even further. The super-light jet is simply a step up from the light jet in terms of range, size and comfort. One of the most popular jets in the super-light category is the multi award-winning Embraer Phenom 300, which can carry up to eight passengers in the most spacious cabin you can find in a light jet, and with the most luggage space in its class. The Phenom 300 can take you just over 2,000 miles at cruise speeds of up to 517mph, so you will reach your destination in no time at all. If you’re looking to travel slightly further, let’s say from Seattle to New York, then you will need a super-light jet with even more range. The Gulfstream G100 can easily manage trips of up to 3,000 miles, at cruise speeds of up to 494mph. No slouch in the numbers department, the G100 is a slightly dated model, but some models feature newly-fitted interiors that make this aircraft a great and viable choice for your charter needs.

If you’re interested in chartering a flight on a light jet for your travels, or just want to find out more about what makes these aircraft so good at what they do, then please contact us and book your charter today. Or you can browse our aircraft guide to see what aircraft are available for your private charter from ACS.

Mid-size jets

If a light aircraft won’t take you far enough or isn’t big enough to fit you and all your friends or business associates, or if you are simply looking for a more luxurious but still well-rounded mix of comfort and value, then you might need to charter a mid-size jet.

There is an abundance of choice when it comes to mid-size jets in terms of range, speed and comfort which makes them ideal for both short and long-haul flights. The mid-size class of aircraft offers more comfort and amenities than light and even super-light jets, such as ample luggage compartments, fold out divans, an on-board lavatory, and most have stand-up cabins. The Hawker Beechcraft 900XP, for example, seats nine passengers in a spacious cabin with a beautifully designed interior. The 900XP can travel distances up to 3,242 miles at a cruise speed of about 530mph, which will get you to where you’re going extremely quickly.

But if you require really long range from a mid-size jet, as well as luxury and absolute comfort, you might want to charter the Cessna Citation Excel. One of the most popular mid-size jets worldwide, the Excel model from Cessna has a maximum seating arrangement of up to 11 passengers, can travel up to 5,100 miles, and does so at a cruise speed of about 494mph. This puts you in intercontinental range, which means a trip with family and friends from New York to Cyprus is entirely on the cards for your holiday plans.

If you feel that a mid-size jet is the best private aircraft suited to your journey, then why not contact us today about your private jet charter. For more information about private jet charter, mid-size jets, and what other aircraft are available to you, check out our aircraft guide.

If a light or mid-size jet isn’t the best suited type of private jet for your charter, and you have your hopes set on something bigger, then continue to part 2 where we take a look at super-mid-size jets all the way up to massive executive bizliners.

  • DEDICATED ACCOUNT MANAGERS
  • NO OBLIGATION
  • 25 YEARS EXPERIENCE
  • AVAILABLE 24/7