Comparing Cost-Effectiveness: When is Chartering a Private Jet More Economical than Commercial Flights?

Mar 11, 2024

It is often thought that booking a private jet is much more expensive than flying on a commercial airline. However, there are certain instances where choosing to travel via private charter can be more cost-effective and advantageous. 

Sharing a Charter Flight 

When planning a vacation with a group, purchasing first-class or even business class tickets on a commercial airline can cost each traveler at least a few thousand dollars. In addition, you will also have to adhere to whatever flight routes and times the airline has set in place. 

Alternately, booking a private flight on a light jet like the Citation Ultra and splitting the cost amongst you and your group can lower the price significantly for each of you, you will be able to travel in a less crowded cabin with premium catering options, and you’ll be able to customize your travel itinerary to when and where you wish to fly. If you aren’t traveling with a large group and perhaps it’s just you and one other flyer, through XO you can book whole aircraft charter flights globally and sell any extra seats you don’t need to fellow flyers. 

XO also offers the ability to create or join crowdfunded flights — splitting the cost of a private jet charter among several passengers for private travel at a fraction of the cost. You do not even need to be an XO Member to create a crowdfunded flight or to book a seat on one.  

Simply search our mobile app or website for shared flights where you want to go and when you want to fly. Book your seat and experience flying private for less.

Fly Private and Save Time 

To busy executives, time is a commodity that is often more valuable than money, as it can’t be bought back. Flying on a private jet allows them to maximize their time by allowing direct travel to locations that would often require connecting flights, layovers, and hotel stays. Plus, while flying onboard a business aircraft, such as the Global 7500, teams can have the privacy they need to conduct meetings without interruptions or other parties listening in on what can be confidential information. 

As private jet pilot John Bell explains, “ Let’s say you have a meeting at 9:00 a.m. on a Wednesday. With commercial air travel, you’re probably not going to be able to get a flight early enough to get you there that morning. You’ll probably have to leave the day before and get a hotel. If the meeting lasts all day, you may not be able to get a flight out either. So that’s three days of travel for a one-day meeting." He continues, “If you’re netting a million dollars from your meeting, what is a $10,000 flight?” 

Empty Leg Flights and Last-Minute Deals 

For those flyers who are looking for a cost-conscience way to fly private, empty leg flights can be a great way to travel. Also known as “dead heads,” “one-way flights,” or “repositioning legs,” empty legs are one-way flights on private jets that would be flying without passengers to either reposition for an upcoming flight or return to their home base. As most of the costs have already been absorbed during the inbound leg of the trip, seats on these flights could be available at a very low price that is comparable to a first-class ticket. 

Last-Minute Private Flights 

If you have a lot of flexibility with your travel schedule, oftentimes last-minute bookings become available from operators who are looking to fill empty seats on their private aircraft. This can be a little tricky if you have to coordinate with a large party, as there is often not much time to plan, but if you are able to make it work for you then you can take advantage of cost-effective last-minute travel.   

Commercial flying may seem like the obvious choice in terms of price, but there are ways to make private flying work within a certain budget. Then when factoring in all the time saved, convenience added, flexibility, and ability to travel on your own terms, private flights can quickly add a tremendous value that commercial airlines cannot compete with.