Private jet versus business class – which would you choose?

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 it’s never going to be cheaper, but where time is money and convenience is king, flying by private jet charter has much to recommend it.

Private jet

Let’s imagine you’ve 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; it’s not going to take off any earlier just because you got on first. The flight itself takes one hour forty minutes. You’re 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 can’t 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 there’s 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 there’s 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.

The airport frenzy

Then there’s 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 aren’t going anywhere, which they aren’t, but they aren’t 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 you’re due to fly. You’re running a little late? No worries, the jet will wait. The security check is cursory and then it’s straight on board and you’re 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. It’s an option definitely worth consideration.

Private jet

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.

Private jet

Rebecca Taylor is Director at SkiBoutique.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Anastasia says:

    From the point of view of cattle class, it appears odd that needing wheelchair assistance I get boarded before business class, but after first class. Then I hang onto the backs of seats to help me along as I walk through business class.

    Many times I have sat in business class, as I disembark last while waiting for wheelchair assistance.

    So I get in free, so to speak.

    As I support myself along these posh business class seats, I look up the swank staircase to the first class bar, at which the luxury class of the world lean with cocktail hour in full swing. To be told by the Emirates lady, There is even a spa plunge pool up there.

    And business class are at the same gate as me in cattle class. I’ve yet to see where these mysterious first class passengers embark the plane.

    Yet we all suffer the delays of commercial flights, whatever class we are in.

    A private flight means none of the hassle of commercial flights.

    But one thing even better. That screaming baby that screeches the whole of a flight, especially a long haul flight. Never tiring, with its (boy or girl) operatic strength highest pitch.

    The little kid that loves to kick the back of your seat endlessly.

    The guy who wants to recline his seat, unconcerned if you are still eating and trying to drink your coffee, and in any case trapping you with the seat right into your face. The days of reclining cattle class seats should come to an end.

    Ah private planes. Now that is serious luxury. What is the point of working hard for it and still having us peasants walk right through your business class and still having to wait for take off even in the exalted heights of first class cabin.

  2. Kevin says:

    If you want to visit a city or a country via private plane then that may be the best option for you and your business executives. On the other hand, business travel may be the best option if someone wants you to travel with multiple people!

    There are definitely a lot of charter services opening up now that allow you to charter a small plane specifically for business executives.

  3. Having been very fortunate to experience both I return to the Business cabin as my favourite. There is something very comforting, exceptionally reassuring, of an airline and its cabin crew being there. From assistance with boarding, to a topped up drink, a delicious meal or on-arrival logistics I appreciate the service when required. Private jets are great for adventure, for getting to a destination not easily reached by commercial flights, when you’re working very closely with the owner and/or other passengers. For me, flying is one of the few places that I achieve ‘me’ time, unable to be easily contacted by email or by phone. It’s where I switch off and appreciate great service and attention to detail. It’s where I relax.

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