You don’t need to own a plane to have an aircraft to yourself when you travel, with private jet charter companies offering more various hire options.
Flying with a private jet offers you complete privacy and luxury, while minimising your waiting time at the airport and have you flying within minutes of your arrival.
The cost of a private charter can vary considerably, depending on the length of a trip and the type of aircraft flown.
The flight price depends on a number of factors including aircraft type, locations, timings and the distance of the flight.
A flight on an 8-seater jet from Johannesburg to Cape Town, for example, could cost R70,000 when booked through a private jet charter company.
However, the quoted price is for the whole aircraft so, it becomes cheaper per person depending on how many passengers you have.
In the example above, a plane filled with 8 people would work out to R8,750 per person (possibly small change for the high flyers).
For larger groups on some journeys, the cost per head can actually be comparable with first class airline fares.
If those same 8 people were travelling from Cape Town to London, for example, the cost for the plane might be R1.2 million.
This works out to out to about R160 000 per head, which is about what a first class flight would cost on the same route, depending on the airline you choose.
The cheapest option, however, is to book the ‘empty legs’ of chartered flights, which can be up to 75% off the original charter price.
When a client charters a plane from Cape Town to Johannesburg, the plane often returns empty – referred to as an ‘empty leg’.
Because the plane would have returned empty anyway, charter companies often sell the flights back at a huge discount.
For a trip between Johannesburg and Cape Town, for instance, an 8-seater plane might only cost R25,000.
This works out to R3,125 per head if you can fill the plane, which is cheaper than a business class ticket would be for the same trip.
However, destinations and flights aren’t flexible and you have to book out the entire plane – you can’t just book two or three seats.
Flights might also be cancelled by the operator unexpectedly due to unforeseen circumstances, although you will receive a full refund.
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