When is Private Air Travel Worth the Price?

Picture yourself at O’Hare Airport, clutching a bagel and coffee in one hand, dragging your suitcase behind you with the other, racing toward your gate, which will inevitably be the last one in the terminal.


Now imagine driving directly up to the runway, where valets meet you to park your car and load your luggage as your board a luxe private jet stocked with your favorite foods and drinks. Sounds just a little bit more enticing, doesn’t it?

Private air travel comes with a hefty price tag, but if you’re an avid traveler or are frequently out of town for business, your may want to consider trading your seat in coach for a spot on your very own jet. Ken Indart, director of sales in Blue Star Jets’ Chicago office, says the sky is literally the limit when it comes to private jet charters.

You can fly from Chicago to Naples, Florida, on a small jet that accommodates up to eight people for about $10,000, Indart says. Or, if you have an extra $1.5 million lying around, you can travel in style to Dubai on a 737 with private state rooms, and crystal and china dinner service. Most people will never be able to afford that kind of luxury, but Indart says there are some cases where private air travel makes sense, even for the mere mortals among us.

You won’t be standing in security lines or waiting at baggage carousels when you fly privately, which can shave hours off your travel time. Indart says high-level executives should consider the money they may save by conducting meetings in the air or completing a trip in one day instead of paying for hotels.

“It definitely comes in handy for business, it is not all luxury,” he says. “If you’re making a certain amount of money, you have to figure out how much it is costing you to sit in an airport all day.”

David Brittsan is the president of Waukegan-based DB Aviation, which offers customers private jet travel both by individual flight and in blocks of 25 to 150 flying hours. Brittsan says his smallest jet costs about $2,000 per flight hour. Their cheapest flight from Waukegan to Naples would be approximately $12,000 for four passengers.

Another perk of private air travel, Brittsan says, is access to places commercial airlines just can’t get you.

“There are about 200 commercial airports in the U.S., and there are maybe 4,000 general aviation airports,” Brittsan says.

If you have a second home on Marco Island, or a factory in a remote part of Colorado, buying a block of time on a private jet may be the way to go.

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