Need A Jet? You Have Options

General aviation offers various options to meet different travel needs and budgets and now there are more than ever for those who travel by jet. The three main choices are charter, jet cards, and fractional ownership. Which is right for you depends on how often you fly, where you fly, and what size plane you need.


Charter is the most flexible and economical option for occasional jet setters. You pay for the specific aircraft and flight hours needed without any long-term commitment. It’s ideal for those flying under 25 hours annually or requiring different aircraft sizes for varying passenger loads and trip distances. Charter provides fast access to aircraft, often quicker than jet cards or fractional programs. However, it lacks guaranteed availability during peak periods.

Jet Cards

Jet cards offer a middle ground between charter and fractional ownership. You purchase a card with a set number of flight hours or a dollar value, providing guaranteed access to a specific aircraft category or fleet. Jet cards are well-suited for those flying 25-50 hours per year, making frequent one-way trips, or needing supplemental lift beyond their primary aviation solution. The big advantage over fractional ownership is lower upfront cash outlay, but all costs are treated as business expenses without any of the benefits of ownership.

Fractional Ownership

Fractional ownership involves purchasing a share of an aircraft, typically starting at a 1/16th share which effectively buys you 50 annual hours. It offers the most cost-effective solution for those flying over 50 hours per year. As a shareholder, you have guaranteed access to the latest aircraft models, can select the appropriate jet for each mission, and benefit from tax advantages associated with asset ownership. However, fractional ownership requires a significant upfront capital investment and a multi-year commitment.

When evaluating these options, consider factors like your annual flight hours, average party size, travel routes, budget, and desired level of service. Charter providers, jet card programs, and fractional companies have varying policies regarding peak travel days, cancellations, service areas, and additional fees, so review their terms carefully.

Top Private Jet Companies

  1. NetJets
  2. Wheels Up
  3. VistaJet
  4. FlexJet
  5. Jet Linx Aviation
  6. Sentient Jet
  7. Magellan Jets
  8. Air Charter Service

Ultimately, the right choice depends on your specific needs and travel patterns. Many flyers combine multiple solutions, using charter for occasional trips, jet cards for supplemental lift, and fractional shares for their primary travel needs. Consulting aviation experts and your tax advisor can also help navigate the complexities and ensure you make an informed decision.


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