Do amateurs need to be rich to hire a private aircraft?

20-02-18
How wealthy do I need to be to hire a private plane? Can I share the cost of hiring a private plane? Do amateurs need to be wealthy to hire a private aircraft? When should amateurs hire a private aircraft? Do you undervalue your time when travelling by air? How do I find cost effective aircraft hire? Renting a private plane is an option for everyone Private aircraft can fly from smaller airfields

So do amateurs and ordinary people need to be rich to hire a private aircraft or is that a total misconception?

For the vast majority of ordinary people the idea of renting a private plane does not even enter their heads. Normally they would assume that such an extravagance would only be relevant for the super-rich. But is this really the case?

The costs of renting a private plane obviously depend on a number of factors including the availability of the plane, the landing fees at a particular airport and obviously the time between flights. But you might be surprised to learn that a private flight could cost you a lot less than you would expect.

Unlike commercial airlines, private planes can and do operate from a larger number of airports and will often be based in a completely different place, rather like a taxi! This obviously means that the plane has to be repositioned for a given flight. 

To the owner of the plane this is obviously a cost but to the potential renter this provides an opportunity. When a plane is repositioned to another airport, this is known as an empty leg and sometimes these can be sold as a one-way charter to another customer, often at a substantial discount. 

This is one way to make renting a private plane much more economical, although as you are ‘piggy backing’ on another private hire this can reduce the timing flexibility quite considerably.

For most people however, renting a private aircraft actually only makes economic sense for a return journey where the plane is full, thereby reducing the per head cost, and they can derive the other benefits of time saving and efficiency. 

If we put a cost on our time and can eliminate the huge time spent waiting and going through security for a commercial flight, then the costs of renting a private plane start to become quite affordable!

And once you have made the decision to rent a private plane, what then? What type of plane do you rent?

Obviously the size of the plane will be dictated by the number of people who wish to fly but perhaps more importantly (certainly in terms of cost) is what type of plane to rent and the distance to the destination airport. 

Certainly propeller aircraft are the most economical choice for short to mid-range trips. They can operate in and out of a greater number of small and regional airports which might perhaps have shorter runways, which gives you the customer much greater flexibility, but at the same time they can have non-stop flight ranges of approximately 1,500 miles.

So it would appear that renting a private plane is now an option for just about everyone! Welcome to your local airport and see you all there over the summer!

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About the author

Will Graham

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I graduated from the University of Warwick with a BSc Hons in Mathematics & Statistics. Since leaving university I have become Founder and Director of FlexiFly.co.uk.

While studying I played an active role in the family nursing home business, The Graham Care Group, and have continued as a Graduate Trainee alongside my work with FlexiFly, being involved with all areas of the business.

For some years I have been actively involved in international motorsport and achieved numerous awards as co-driver to a European Rally Champion (my dad!). It was these experiences of weekends in Europe that partly inspired us about how we could make air travel more flexible and convenient. The calibre of competitors we met on events have given us insight into the potential our alternative to traditional aircraft charter has.

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