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What size air­craft do you need?

There’s a ris­ing scale in the size of pri­vate jets. “Very light jets, such as the Em­braer Phenom 100 or the Cessna Ci­ta­tion Mus­tang, seat up to four and have a fly­ing range of two hours or so,” Heron says. “Then there are mid-size jets, such as the Ci­ta­tion XLS or Hawker 800, which seat up to nine. Next there are heavy jets, such as the Das­sault Fal­con 900, which seats 15. Fi­nally, there are ul­tra-long-range jets, such as the Bom­bardier Global Ex­press, which can cross the At­lantic.”

Choose the most con­ve­nient air­port.

Many pri­vate jets use smaller air­ports. Serv­ing Lon­don, for ex­am­ple, there is RAF Northolt, Lon­don Big­gin Hill, Farn­bor­ough and Lon­don City. In Stock­holm, you can fly to Bromma in­stead of Ar­landa.

“One of the ben­e­fits of fly­ing pri­vately is you can dic­tate the ex­act time you want to travel,” Heron says. “Plus you only need to get to the air­port 20 min­utes be­fore your flight, since we is­sue all pass­port de­tails in ad­vance. This means you can visit mul­ti­ple cities in one day, for ex­am­ple.”

Which on-board ser­vices do you need?

Meet­ing ta­ble? Fac­ing seats? Sofa seats? Cater­ing re­quire­ments? Pri­vate jets al­low you to be much fussier than you could ever be in nor­mal busi­ness class. “On larger air­craft you can even make up a dou­ble bed with du­vet and pil­lows,” Heron sug­gests. Although wifi is nor­mally of­fered on Amer­i­can pri­vate jets, it’s less widely avail­able in Euro­pean air space.

How to save on costs.

To give you an idea of cost, an en­try-level pri­vate jet on an overnight re­turn trip from Farn­bor­ough to Paris-Le Bour­get would set you back around £7,500 for four pas­sen­gers. Heron ad­vises us­ing bro­ker ser­vices since they have the power to ne­go­ti­ate. “Also, you should avoid fly­ing at the busiest times of year – school hol­i­days, es­pe­cially the start and end of half-term dur­ing the ski sea­son.”

The other way to re­duce char­ter prices is to be flex­i­ble on de­par­ture dates, or to buy tick­ets for empty legs. The lat­ter are avail­able when a pri­vate jet based in Lon­don, say, has to pick up pas­sen­gers in Nice. If the ini­tial leg of the jour­ney is empty, it is of­fered at a re­duced rate.

When it comes to prob­lems, you don’t get more first-world than the dilemma over which pri­vate jet to hire. Ge­orgina Heron works at Air Char­ter Ser­vice, which has more than 6,000 air­craft on its books.

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