“Berkshire [Hathaway] has been better off by me having a plane available to go and do deals. It’s a plus; we’ve done things I would not have done if we hadn’t had a plane.”
— Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway (owner of NetJets)
Although some private jets can fly faster than commercial airliners (the Gulfstream G650 has a top speed of 982 km/h), the biggest time saving of a private jet is the end of unnecessary waiting while you are still on the ground.
Next time you fly on a commercial aircraft, count the minutes – or even hours – that it takes between getting to the airport and actually taking-off. Think of the lines at immigration and security, the time it takes all of the passengers to board and the long wait for your luggage after you have landed.
When you fly on a private jet, the average waiting time at an FBO is around five or six minutes. There is no pointless queuing and no rushing from one gate to the next. When you land, a car will be waiting to take you to your final destination with minimum fuss.
This time saving is even greater when business jets allow you to fly direct and avoid connecting flights or – as is often possible – when you fly into a business jet airport closer to your actual destination.
In the US, private jets can land at around 10 times as many airports as commercial airliners (over 5,000 compared to around 550). The added accessibility afforded to private jets is even more of an advantage if you are looking to reach parts of the world, which are not particularly well served by airlines; a business jet flight can literally save you several days of travelling.
“If you want to finish a meeting, fly home over night and feel refreshed in the morning, a large-cabin private jet is perfect.”
— Ben Jacques, International Bureau of Aviation
Business jets offer passengers the ability to make business trips that would be impossible when flying on commercial airlines. This is true with all sizes of aircraft; smaller light jets like Cessna’s Citation Mustang make it possible to have meetings in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Milan in one day and still get you home that night.
On bigger aircraft models, capable of flying faster and further, it’s possible to have breakfast meetings in Hong Kong, business lunch in Shanghai and dinner in Mumbai.
When you fly on a private jet you are in complete control of your own schedule. This means you can arrange an aircraft at short notice or submit a last-minute flight change using your mobile phone.
Even if you wish to change your plans and land at a different airport half way through your flight, it is usually no problem. And of course, if you are running late, the aircraft waits for you.
“The private customer is really looking to take the space and lifestyle that they are used to on the ground into the air. They want a comfortable environment to relax and entertain.”
— David Velupillai, Airbus Corporate Jets
The golden age of flying by airline has truly gone. To airlines you are just a seat number. On a private jet the crew are truly there to serve you; they will refer to you by name and treat you as valued customer. You can also forget the vacuum-packed stodge that you’re used to eating while flying on airlines, there are now plenty of specialist catering companies that provide fine dining for private jet passengers and even Michelin-starred chefs.
Even the smallest private jets – although not much bigger than a car – provide enough space to sleep, entertain and do business. At the larger end of the private jet spectrum, converted airliners – also known as ‘bizliners’ – are often described as “flying apartments” and include fully-furnished bathrooms, master bedrooms and features as lavish as you can possibly imagine.
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But the comfort of business aviation starts before you board your private jet. Online charter bookers – and new membership companies like Wheels Up – are using technology to take away the stress that is usually involved with booking a flight. Once you arrive at the airport, the FBO and/or aircraft operator will guarantee your private jet experience is as comfortable as possible, offering impeccable standards service until you reach your final destination.
Your luggage also travels in the jet with you and can be loaded straight into your car, which is important if you are carrying valuable items.
“We have a whole range of clients; they range from corporates to high-net-worth individuals to celebrities who just find it very difficult going through an airport, especially with family.”
— Adam Twidell, PrivateFly
Private jets are described as “private” for a reason. When you arrive at the terminal, you are seconds away from stepping onto the aircraft without attracting any unwanted attention. When you are on board, you are free to behave as if you were at home, or to discuss business, without the risk of compromising sensitive information.
Larger private jets also feature separate conference facilities, allowing you to make the most of your time even when you’re 40,000 ft above the ground.
“The entrepreneurs and companies that rely on business aircraft to meet their travel needs are well aware that business aviation shares a safety record comparable to commercial airlines. That’s in part because the training, certification, and continuing-proficiency requirements for business aviation pilots and crew are often comparable – and at times more stringent.”
— Ed Bolen, National Business Aviation Association
Good private jet operators have impeccable safety records. They select the only the best pilots following a rigorous recruitment process and enforce safety management systems that rival any commercial airline.
In countries were the local airlines have been involved in a number of incidents, some companies will only allow their staff to fly on a private jet, because they feel it is far safer.
When you own a private jet, you also have the freedom to select your own pilot(s) and flight crew to guarantee peace of mind.