Willem de Kooning, the Dutch American artist once said, The trouble with being poor is it takes up all your time. Whilst flying business class hardly constitutes being poor, hiring a private jet can save you a great deal of time. Of course its never going to be cheaper, but where time is money and convenience is king, flying by private jet charter has much to recommend it. Lets imagine youve booked a luxury ski trip to Verbier in Switzerland. You would probably fly from London Heathrow to Geneva. You would turn up a couple of hours before your flight, go through the usual check in rituals and wait patiently to board; OK, you get priority boarding but you still have to sit on the plane and wait; its not going to take off any earlier just because you got on first. The flight itself takes one hour forty minutes. Youre in Geneva waiting for your bags and the transfer is parked outside waiting to take you to Verbier, a two hour drive. So from arriving at Heathrow you could safely say that the journey/waiting time was at least seven hours, maybe even eight. There are other considerations with flying business class too. Mark Twain once said I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. You cant avoid people in an airport or on a plane. Sometimes it takes a generosity of spirit to overlook the shortcomings of some of your fellow passengers and their loud children. Then theres the security check to contend with too, the indignity of removing your belt and your trousers falling down while the officious-looking jobsworth pats you down and sneers at the hole in your sock. Then theres the risk of missing baggage; did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone? Well, it did once… until it boarded a different plane. Then theres the potential of missing the flight in the first place. There must have been many instances of people sitting in traffic jams on the M25, biting their fingernails down to the elbows as the car in front reaches the giddy speed of one inch per hour, departure time approaching and stress levels rising, then finally the dam burst of tears when the realisation dawns on the whole family that they arent going anywhere, which they arent, but they arent going skiing either. Now let’s enter a different world, the world of private charter; for many, an enchanting world inhabited only by the extremely wealthy and privileged. This is a misconception, as hiring your own six seater can be relatively inexpensive. You can turn up 15 minutes before youre due to fly. Youre running a little late? No worries, the jet will wait. The security check is cursory and then its straight on board and youre away. There is a host of airports in England for private charter flights and odds on one will be pretty near where you live. In most cases you can park at the airport free of charge. When you arrive at your destination, with your bags, the transfer takes considerably less time as you will have in all probability landed closer to your resort. Taking all into consideration flying private charter is a massive time saver, considerably less hassle and let’s face it, a luxury, but not an unaffordable luxury. Its an option definitely worth consideration. Let’s crunch the numbers. There are six of us heading to Verbier for a luxury ski holiday. A business class flight from Heathrow to Geneva, plus long stay parking fees and a two hour transfer from Geneva up to Verbier would be around £560 per person. For the same trip I could hire a six seater King Air 200 private aircraft from Stapleford Aerodrome direct to Sion. The transfer time from Sion to Verbier is dramatically reduced and the combined cost of flight and transfer would be around £1,150 per person. So, for just £590 extra you could feel like a movie star, slash at least 4 hours off your journey time and travel in utter comfort and style. Is it worth it? I think so. Rebecca Taylor is Director at SkiBoutique. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.
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