Thanks to the pandemic, private jets have never been more popular. To service a burgeoning global demand, an ever growing list of charters, brokers and operators have arisen to take on the challenge of becoming the best in the business.
Some have been operating for decades, others have come into the market relatively recently – DDW unpicks this tangled web of apps, charters and services to cherry pick the very best out there:
The granddaddy of the PJ charter world, NetJets has been operating since 1964 and is owned by famed investor Warren Buffett, through his company Berkshire Hathaway. Operating both jet-card and fractional ownership programmes, it is by far one of the world’s most popular PJ services. Their fleet is 790 strong (with 40 added just this year due to a Covid-led boom which has tripled demand) and flies to over 5000 global destinations. Innumerable celebrities and business tycoons rely on NetJets, so you can rest easy knowing that they can always deliver.
Vista’s 70 Challenger and Global jets quietly scream elegance. Instantly recognisable from their light grey livery and a thin red stripe that goes from nose to tail, they stand out from the heap. And rightfully so; founder Thomas Flohr is famous for his taste and Swiss-bred adherence to meticulous luxury. Inside – each plane features elegant interiors and unmatched comfort paired with world class service.
Where other companies may scrap together the nearest available charter – Vista guarantees a five star plane from their own fleet (boasting the largest privately-owned Bombardier fleet in the world).
Operating a number of member-based plans, Vista flies from all over the world and bookings can be made directly via the VistaJet app or craft a bespoke subscription-based plan for the flight hours they might need.
Interestingly, in the past few years Vista has also acquired newer players XO and JetSmarter (the two now offered as a singular XO app) both popular services that sell pay-as-you-go jet travel. Through the new XO app you can book empty-legs and empty seats on aircraft which in turn allows planes to optimise their spare capacity. A win-win.
If you think it is odd that a major American carrier operates a private jet service, you are not alone. However, Delta Jets has been running since as far back as 1984 to great success, delivering jet cards, on-demand charters, and pay-as-you-go corporate jet solutions.
Leveraging the sheer size of its parent company, customers can also use the Delta commercial plane infrastructure and earn miles (which can be used on private or commercial planes), with an automatic upgrade to SkyMiles Diamond Medallion Status.
Founded in Tanzania by entrepreneur Ameerh Naran, Vimana (named after the mythological flying palaces described in Hindu texts and Sanskrit epics) is the broker of choice for governments and society alike across EMEA.
Being an independent broker they have access to over 5000 aircraft worldwide and can cater to on-demand charters, long term leases and sales acquisitions of private and commercial aircraft. No request is too outlandish for Vimana and they pride themselves on bending over backwards for their many dedicated clients around the world.
FlexJet understand that luxury travel is more than just about convenience, it is about the experience. They operate four private terminals (1 in NYC, 2 in Florida and 1 in Arizona) exclusively for FlexJet customers and cater to any request on demand via their Red Label service which provides anything from fine dinning on board to personal errands. As with Vista, interiors are carefully curated especially aboard the FlexJet’s LXi Cabin Collection which feature custom elements such as premium, hand-stitched leather, exotic wood veneers, masterful metalwork, and tailored textiles.
FlexJet hold the prestigious accolade of being the exclusive North American fleet holder of the all-new Gulfstream G700, a long range private jet that will deliver more distance at faster speeds than anything else in its class – getting you to far off places like London, Mykonos, Ibiza or Tulum with rapid ease.
Global charter leader SHY prides itself on providing access to every possible aircraft in the marketplace at any given time. With unparalleled round-the-clock service, award-winning support and a meticulous attention to detail they look after any request, no matter how big or small. The can handle any size request, whether your journey calls for a private jet, group charter or even a cargo charter.
Anyone who has ever summered in the Hamptons knows that BLADE is the only way to travel. With a specialisation in helicopter powered short-distance transport, this service allows you to take back control of your precious time and avoid tedious traffic. Operating out of city centres around the US, you can charter your own rotary or fixed wing aircraft (including seaplanes) or crowdsource it with other passengers.
Backed by Uber founder Garret Camp – Aero offers semi-private jet travel for “less than the cost of commercial first class” by matching travellers going to the same destinations. The ultimate social lux experience, Aero boasts a strong community of customers and partners including the coveted Mykonos and Ibiza routes for the summer.
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