How to Rent a Private Plane

Rent a private plane if you are going to fly it.
Rent a private plane if you are going to fly it. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

It is important to understand the correct terminology when dealing with air travel. Renting a plane means that you must be a licensed pilot. Chartering is contracting an aircraft with crew for a specific trip or trips. Whichever you choose you will be sure to travel on your terms.

The convenience of this type of travel is not just reserved for the rich and famous any longer.

Charter or lease a private plane or jet. Private plane companies will offer you the choice of size to coincide with your needs. Remember when you order a plane, the sky is the limit to the amenities, price and comfort.

Concern about chartering a private plane is typically money. It will be pricier than using a regular plane ticket, but remember that you will be getting a lot in return, as well. Charter rates vary by operator but are generally determined by an aircraft's size and capacity whether it's a single engine or compact jet and how far you're traveling.

Rates will typically range from less than $2,000 per hour, as of 2008, and extend up to approximately $4,000 per hour for the wide body, large cabin international jets. Turboprops are about $1,000 per hour and a small twin engine aircraft at $500 per hour. Usually there are two-hour daily minimums, plus airport fees and federal excise taxes.

Although this gives you sticker shock, if you travel with a group by sharing the costs, the trip will be substantially lower per person, thus making traveling this way more desirable. An east to west coast trip would run $400 per person based on a group of ten. This becomes less expensive by chartering a carrier than flying first class on a commercial airliner.

Adapt to your schedule and not the one assigned by the airline. You can leave at a time that is suitable for you. Avoid and cut down on a great deal of the problems that you experience at public airports. You'll find that you don't need to leave your home four hours early to get to the airport and then wait two hours for your flight to leave. There is no need to purchase your ticket 21 days in advance, as many private plane firms can take a reservation within 24 hours.

Decide what you want on the menu or other amenities that are needed, as customized concierge and catering services are available at your discretion. Baggage capacity varies depending on aircraft size. Most aircraft will accommodate your family pet.

Flights can be arranged within North America, Central America and the Caribbean with larger aircraft flying to Europe and other distant destinations. Check the web for all the major chartering companies and fly away. You're responsible for the pilot's lodging and expenses, if necessary, as well as taxes and local airport landing and parking fees. To avoid fly-by-night outfits, make sure the company you hire has an FAA Air Carrier Operating License.

Visit your local airport to locate a company that services rentals to licensed pilots. As a licensed pilot you are the only one authorized to rent a plane based upon FAA regulations. Be aware that you must pay for the fuel that is used as a separate charge over the rental fee. You can lower the expenditure even more by taking the opportunity to join a flight club at the airport. This will give you the advantage of having access to equipment when needed.

Be aware that the cost will depend on the type, age and equipment of the airplane you want to rent. Each company sets their own rental rates, but most try to keep their rates competitive. For a four seater, the average rate is at $60 an hour. Some companies may charge extra or require a minimum amount of flight time per day if you take an airplane overnight or for a very long period of time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan your trip with a group for savings.
  • The price of fuel has increased dramatically, make sure the price you are quoted includes any fuel surcharges.

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