How do I get a Flight in a Private Plane?

Mary McMahon

Travel by private plane is an option used by many people all over the world to get from place to place or to tour an area. While such travel might seem luxurious and out of reach for people who are used to being crammed into coach seats on commercial flights, there are actually a number of ways to get a flight on a private plane, and not all of them are prohibitively costly.

Some corporations will donate the use of their jet for charity, which is one way to fly in a private plane.
Some corporations will donate the use of their jet for charity, which is one way to fly in a private plane.

One of the best ways to get a chance to travel in a private plane is to know a pilot. Many pilots enjoy taking friends up for flights in their aircraft, or they may be willing to offer a deal on a private flight to a more remote location. Some private pilots will also accept passengers when they need to move a plane from one location to another. For example, if a pilot is picking up passengers in New York but the plane is in Texas, he or she may take a passenger for free or at a substantial discount from Texas to New York, since the plane will be flying anyway.

Knowing a pilot may help people acquire a flight in a private plane.
Knowing a pilot may help people acquire a flight in a private plane.

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For those who are not fortunate enough to know pilots, or who need services which a friend cannot or will not provide, charters are an option. Chartered flights vary widely in cost, depending on the type of aircraft and the distance, but the big advantage to a charter is that it involves a flat fee. Customers will pay the same amount whether they fly alone or with a group, making chartered flights a great option for families or employees traveling together.

People can also band together to charter a plane and share the cost of a charter. Regular business travelers who need to travel frequently between major cities often take advantage of this option, creating a commuter flight with a group of other businesspeople. Chartering on a regular basis can sometimes be cheaper than commercial flights, which may make this option appealing to employers who might otherwise balk at the idea.

Corporate jets and other executive aircraft also sometimes offer private flights to people, usually people with connections, but not necessarily. Some corporations will donate the use of their plane to charitable or political causes, especially if they can publicize the donation. It is also sometimes possible to work out an arrangement in which a passenger hitches along when a plane is not carrying passengers. Logistics companies which specialize in moving planes between airports also offer steep discounts to customers who want to enjoy travel by private plane, with these passengers flying on the legs when the plane is empty.

There are some definite advantages to private travel. Fliers can avoid long security lines, simply showing up at the airport when it's time for their flight. They can also get direct flights between obscure airports, or reach small airports which are rarely served by commercial airlines. The flight is usually more relaxing, and some planes have a number of amenities which can make private plane travel rather fun.

Private jets may be chartered.
Private jets may be chartered.

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