Depending on who you believe 30-to-50% of all private jet flights are ferry flights. However, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily dirt cheap. Magellan Jets, which sells jet cards and on-demand charter also offers empty legs, and while you have to contact the company for pricing, it says rates start at $3,000 per hour. Airstream Jets enables visitors to its website to download a list of active empty legs and while most of the 13 listings were for the next two weeks, there were flights posted through mid-November, one an empty leg in September on a Gulfstream G-IVSP from New York to London for $49,900. Another broker quoted the same date and route at $92,000. Even more attractive was a G500 charter this weekend from Palermo, Italy to New York for $35,000. Quotes for a non-empty leg charter that I received from another broker for random dates in August started at $111,000.
The most economical option is chartering, which doesn't require any cash upfront (other than a deposit) through companies like Tradewind, Sentient, and Solairus, (which we took home from North Carolina). Of course, there are the old standbys like NetJets and Marquis, who sell fractional ownership (like 1/16th) of a single jet for upwards of $100K. One step down from that, pricewise, is the jet card, where you buy a set amount of hours from a company like Nicholas or Private Jet Services, and can use those hours for different planes. Then there are membership models like WheelsUp, where you pay $17,500 as an initiation fee to fly in their fleet, and then a $8,500 annual dues fee starting the second year. It's like a country club—only you're guaranteed access to a KingAir350i or Citation Excel / XLS instead of a golf course.
Private charter flights offer a range of advantages for busy professionals, including time-efficiency. From quicker check-ins to faster transit times, private jet hire is the perfect way to fulfil multiple meetings in different cities, carry out several site visits in one day or simply have more of an opportunity to remain productive while travelling.