2 ways to fly private that won’t break your piggy bank

The rich may be getting richer but many of the perks that have long been associated with the wealthy are becoming available to a less stratified clientele. This follows on the heels of many societal perks opening for the middle class.

Examples abound. The adoption of fiberglass for sailboats has made yachting affordable while high-end auto manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes Benz have created cars that are within the reach of the middle class.  Sensing an opportunity, and with the current stranglehold on airline flights in the United States by a few large companies, smaller companies have stepped forward to meet the demand for charter flights that have a reasonable price tag.

Defining wealth

Reasonable is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. What might seem a reasonable price for someone with the last name of Hilton might be unreasonable if you are located solidly in a working-class lifestyle. Some charter flights, though, can be had for less than $150 per person. Granted, that is per passenger and you will have to fill all the empty legs (usually six) but for a family thinking about flying on vacation or a business trip with multiple people going, filling a small, private jet is not out of the question.


Compared to the cost of flying first-class on a domestic flight, the luxury of spending time with six co-workers, family or friends can make this a viable way to fly. The novelty of chartering a jet for small groups has worn off, there have even been etiquette articles written about flying on small jets.

Chartering is the easiest

There are many ways to get yourself booked on a private jet. If this is a one-time trip, the easiest way is to charter the flight. Like booking a flight with a major airline, the cost for chartering is dependent on the destination, the dates you are wanting to go and whether it’s one-way or round-trip. There are literally hundreds of charter jet companies in the United States and the best choice will depend on your location. By design, most charter companies are tied to a location.

If you live in Los Angeles, it doesn’t make a lot of financial sense to charter a New York jet to fly you to Disneyland. Local charter companies exist in most large metropolitan areas and several companies have established services to find flights for customers no matter where they are located.

Private shuttles merge the intimacy of charters with the ease of scheduled flights

Private shuttles are available in many parts of the country. Propeller driven small planes, including jets, make scheduled runs between several cities. Many of these private shuttles are based on membership models – which give an advantage to frequent travelers – but allow their members to fly as much as they want.


Private shuttles are typically not as luxurious as charter jets and are generally used by businesses to keep travel costs down. One of the main advantages of private shuttles over airlines is the relaxed boarding regulations and shorter time spent getting on your flight and into the air.

Some thoughts on private jets

These are the two least expensive ways to avoid the hassle and soaring prices of the airline industry. There are tradeoffs, of course, chartering a plane means you are responsible for putting people in it. The cost will be the same whether it is one person or six (or however many the plane will hold) and you are guaranteeing the payment to the charter company. But, for many of the people who fly on private jets, the costs are secondary to the ability to actually enjoy the flying experience.