Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Is buying a private jet the right move for you?

Private jets aren’t just about the first-class service, polished wood, and plush leather seating — although those definitely are excellent perks — but rather about the freedom and convenience to go wherever you want, whenever you want. After all, there’s something to be said for the convenience of skipping boarding lines, avoiding the screams of someone else’s child, and having the freedom to move around without being crammed between a bulkhead and the passenger in the next seat. — by Joanna Kresge

Make a Commitment

If you’ve got the cash — anywhere between $6 million to $50 million depending on brand, size, and add-ons — owning your own private plane might be the way to go. You can hire a decorator to design the interior and you can loan it out to friends, family, or business partners whenever you’d like. However, potential shoppers should remember to factor in the added costs. With aircraft insurance, fuel, catering, pilots, and maintenance, you’re looking at an additional investment per year. Not to mention, there’s plenty of FAA paperwork to be filed and you’re responsible for all of that upkeep and manpower, unless you pay an aircraft management firm to do it for you.

Jet Plane Timeshare

The prohibitive cost and time management commitments of owning a plane might turn many potential investors away, which is why fractional ownership is such a widely accepted option. Think of fractional ownership like a timeshare on a plane where an investor has all the benefits of owning, without all the burdens of crewing, maintenance, storage, and insurance. Carriers like FlexJet and Flight Option will help investors determine the share size — usually ranging from 50 to 800 hours per year — by asking about the number of hours one anticipates flying, and the distance of those trips. Investors will pay a monthly management fee and an occupied hourly rate and will, in return, be able to travel anywhere with only 10 hours’ notice.

Put it on My Card

Not a huge jet setter? No problem, many private jet companies also offer a card option, like Flight Option’s JetPASS 25-Hour Jet Card program. If fractional ownership is like a timeshare, then jet card programs are like a debit card for air travel. This option allows travelers to avoid the commitment and investment of purchasing or sharing a plane, and instead use prepaid hours which are deducted as they are used based on a predetermined hourly fee. In some cases, prepaid hours are available for up to 24 months, and travelers need only to schedule 24 hours in advance to fly within the service area.

is an assistant editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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