If you’re lucky enough to have the option of either a private jet charter or traveling commercial First Class, you will want to know what you’re getting for your money.
There’s a lot to consider, from flight duration, accessibility to remote destinations, onboard facilities, and even luxury airport lounges. The other thing to consider is the cost. To travel in luxury requires considerable funds.
First Class Flights
Commercial flyers who travel in First Class enjoy access to exclusive airport lounges as standard. However, these are often shared with Business Class passengers.
Instagram regularly features The Emirates suite in Dubai. The facility is the most impressive luxury lounge globally, boasting comfortable seating, shops, a cigar bar, and even a nap room.
The Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge in Doha is just as impressive, offering a similar style of luxury and service as The Emirates suite but with a spa and the use of a jacuzzi. Thai Airways First Class lounge offers a free Thai massage and special Thai food.
As you would expect, check-in, screening, and customs services are much quicker in First Class, but on a commercial flight, security demands that you arrive several hours before your flight, and this may not always be convenient.
Even First Class passengers have to negotiate busy airport terminals, security queues, and even long walks between terminal buildings. You’re invited to board first, but you still have to wait for all the other passengers to embark before take-off. You’re also required to wait for everyone to get off the plane before you can collect your luggage.
Inside the aircraft, First Class offers suites with lie-flat beds. The cabins often feature large TVs, adjustable mood lighting, a drinks cabinet, and gourmet dining options. Some planes have showers and bars for First Class passengers.
Private Jet Charter
Private jet charter passengers avoid the hectic airport terminals because services run from private fixed base operators or FBOs. In most cases, a concierge service will collect your luggage and check it in for you.
FBOs use express security and an express customs procedure to save time and inconvenience. If you choose to arrive just before the flight, you will often be driven straight onto the tarmac to meet the plane.
Should you wish to take advantage of the FBO facilities, expect to enjoy a five-star experience that includes interior designed lounges with delicious complimentary food and drink. The use of multimedia conference rooms with Wi-Fi and audio-visual equipment is also standard.
Farnborough Airport TAG Aviation is a renowned FBO that has a lounge overlooking the runway. Facilities include a pub, hotel, conference rooms, shower rooms, relaxation areas, and nap rooms.
Once on the plane, the first thing you notice is that passengers get total privacy. With an entire cabin to yourself, you can sleep or work in peace. If you’re traveling with colleagues, you can hold confidential meetings, conference calls, or presentations in fully fitted staterooms.
There’s more luggage capacity than on a commercial jet, ideal for bulky items such as skis or golf clubs, and most aircraft will even accommodate pets.
Private Jet vs. First Class Flights: Price
Other details need to be considered when flying first class or by private charter jet
Private charter jet pricing starts at under €11,000 for 6 passengers to fly to Barcelona, while a Business Class flight start at €4,500 for 6 passengers as you can’t fly from London to Barcelona in First Class.
First Class travel is not available for short trips around Europe. The private jet charter is the only option if you want to travel with all the luxury of First Class but with the flexibility that comes with a private hire jet.
Looking at longer flights, London to Hong Kong travel First Class with British Airways can start at as much as €55,400 for six people return. Private charter jet costs begin in the region of €165,000 one way, but you can take between 10-17 passengers on a heavy jet, making the cost of flying at capacity €9,705 each.
Private Jet vs. First Class Flights: Convenience
Using private charter jets allows executives to visit three or four cities in a single day, and that’s not possible with commercial airlines.
Private Jet vs. First Class Flights: Security
There is also the question of security. Many top-flight executives and world leaders require heightened security and privacy; therefore, flying by private jet is the only option. Reports in the media state that Apple CEO Tim Cook no longer flies on commercial airlines.
Flying by private charter jets is also true of Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, who rely on private aviation for all travel requirements. Reports in the media say the reason for this decision is based on private aviation’s flexibility and security.
Private Jet vs. First Class Flights: Safety
Due to COVID-19 executive travelers, their staff and family members are looking to minimize risk to themselves and others. A private charter is therefore considered a more sensible option.
All commercial airlines are taking extra sanitary measures involving the aircraft and crew. Certified private jet operators are following the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s recommendations of protection. These measures are strict and in place for the protection of passengers and crew.
Ongoing precautions ensure the risk of infection is minimal; if you have the funds, private aviation may well be the obvious choice.
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