Looking to head off to the Bahamas for a weekend of leisure? Or, maybe you need to arrange a last-minute business trip overseas?
Chartering a private plane will elevate your journey to an unparalleled level of luxury. There are no security lines to contend with, or armrests to wrestle over. Instead, you have an entire aircraft all to yourself that’s ready to depart whenever you are. Plus, first-class crew members to attend to your every need. Of course, we could spend all day highlighting the perks of flying in a private jet, but you might be wondering just how much does it actually cost?
Unfortunately, there’s not a straightforward answer. Several factors impact the potential price tag of chartering your own private plane—such as the size and type of aircraft, scheduling, passenger limits, and even in-flight amenities.
Below, we’ll go through some ballpark figures to answer the question about how much does it cost to charter a plane and help you understand whether it’s a feasible option for your personal or business trips.
A common misconception is that private planes are only for A-list celebrities and high-powered CEOs. While it’s typically more expensive than the average commercial flight ticket, chartering your own plane can actually be quite affordable, and sometimes a better value for regular travellers.
Chartered flights are usually priced on an hourly rate, which can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. For instance, you can charter a small piston plane that seats 3-5 passengers for between $400 to $1,000 USD per hour (500 to 900 mile range), while a larger plane with capacity of 9 passengers, such as the Cessna C441, will set you back $1,450 USD per hour (1,700 mile range). Once you move up the ranks towards a light to mid-sized jet, you can expect to pay around $1,800 to $3,500 per hour.
|Aircraft||Range (miles)||Passengers (average)||Price (Per Hour)|
|Piston||500 to 900||3 to 5||$400 to $1,000|
|Turboprop||900 to 1,500||4 to 9||$1,300 to $1,800|
|Light Jet||800 to 2,400||4 to 7||$1,800 to $2,800|
|Mid Jet||1,000 to 3,400||6 to 9||$2,600 to $3,500|
|Heavy Jet||4,000 to 6,000||10 to 19||$4,500 to $7,500|
Below are the main factors to consider that will impact the final cost.
The size of the plane will probably have the most significant bearing on the price. After all, when you’re talking about private planes–size matters! The bigger the plane, the more you can expect to pay.
When considering plane size, make sure you take into account the number of passengers on your trip and their luggage. It may seem obvious, but every person needs a designated seat. Depending on the desired level of comfort, you can sometimes save by choosing a smaller plane. For instance, turboprop planes can seat between 4 to 9 passengers and cost approximately $1,300 to $1,800/hour, while a midsize jet holds a similar number of passengers (this can vary depending on the model) and can cost up to $3,500+ per hour.
The type of onboard experience you want will also play a role when selecting the size of your aircraft. You might need to opt for a mid to heavy jet if you’re looking for your own bed, or you want to move around freely and conduct business meetings at a boardroom table. However, if you’re simply looking for the most cost-effective option to relax in the privacy of your own plane–you can’t beat a turboprop!
The type of aircraft you choose is where you can make some real savings. The two most common types of planes are turboprops and jets. Many people often lump them both in the same category, although you can typically save up to 40% by choosing a turboprop plane.
A turboprop plane has propellers on the front which are powered by a gas turbine, whereas a jet has an encased turbine engine and generates direct power through “thrust” (no visible propellers). Turboprops burn less fuel than jets and are much more efficient at lower altitudes, making them a cost-effective option over short distances (i.e. much lower hourly rate). They also have the advantage of a slower landing speed which means you can access airports with shorter runways in remote areas–specifically destinations in the Caribbean.
The further afield you want to travel, the more expensive it becomes. Planes have very different ranges–primarily based on the amount of fuel they can carry. For instance, a small turboprop plane can travel up to 1,500 miles without having to refuel–which can get you from Miami to New York.
On the other hand, if you need to travel internationally, you will either need to charter a larger jet that has a bigger distance range or make frequent refueling stops, although this can add extra time and costs to your journey and is sometimes not feasible. As an example, to get you across the Atlantic (New York to London), you’ll need to charter a heavy jet with a range of 4,000 to 6,000 miles. You should expect to pay a lot more for these type of long-haul flights, with some aircraft costing in the six-figures to charter ($4,500 to $7,500+ per hour).
Fuel charges are probably the biggest unknown, as prices can fluctuate significantly. While fuel is generally built into your hourly rate, it can be the reason that the costs increase drastically from one trip to the next. Fuel can also vary depending on the selected airport locations due to accessibility.
Overall, jet fuel prices have dropped considerably over the last decade. The jet fuel price index sat around $1.40 US per barrel in September 2012, compared to approximately $0.75 US per barrel in September 2019.
For many, the most appealing part of traveling on a private jet is the premium service provided by attentive crew members–including experienced pilots, co-pilots, and flight attendants.
While crew costs are often factored into the hourly rate, you may also need to pay additional fees to cover your crew member’s accommodation and meal expenses, particularly for long-haul flights and return trips. Crew costs do vary between companies and will be largely based on aviation experience. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay around $500 to $1000 in crew costs for a 5-hour return flight.
Flying a private jet is the dream for many air travellers. With no security queues to pass-through and a plane all to yourself, what’s not to like? You don’t have to fight for legroom or pry for a crew member’s attention every time you’d like something to eat or drink.
If you’re considering a private jet for your next getaway or business trip, get a free quote with us today.