Does First Class Beat Private Jet Travel?

With commercial airlines scrambling to recapture luxury market share from private jet companies, goalposts in the sky have moved. Flying first and business class has never been more attractive but the same can be said for flying private, thanks to new technology, charter methods and accessibility. The shrewd traveler should place value on a few key points when choosing premium air transport: price, time, customization and comfort. Here is a look at the contrasts between choosing to fly commercial or privately.


In general, chartering a private flight is more expensive than the average first class seat. For example, if you were to look at a direct round-trip flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Tokyo Narita Airport on Delta Airlines two weeks out, your first class ticket price would range from $3,300-$6,101, depending on time of departure. Pentastar Aviation's long-range jets can be chartered for $7,000-$9,000 an hour, which for a fully booked 11-hour round-trip flight to Tokyo comes out to around $11,647 per seat. 

However, Silicon Valley is looking to democratize private charter prices through JetSmarter, BlackJet, and Skyjet, to name a few. Founder and CEO of JetSmarter Sergey Petrossov places a high value on democritization, claiming, "It's more than just opening up the market - we want to provide a social aviation experience that brings social networks alive with human interaction." Each company offers a range of prices, from individual seats on a plane to chartering a whole bird, so there are more choices than there have been in the past. If you need to do a soup to nuts juxtaposition, Paramount Business Jets offers a price comparison calculator, which takes into account origin city, additional travel time, and other travel metrics so you can make the best decision.

When flying commercial, what you see is generally what you get, unless you’re tracking flights and have time flexibility. That said, if you’re a frequent flyer, price can change dramatically depending on how often you fly and how many miles you have. Of course, you can always go for gold and book a seat on Singapore Airline’s recently introduced Suite Class, which is about $32,000 per ticket.

Jackie Bryant Jackie is the Lifestyle Editor at Her freelance work has appeared at, Harper's Bazaar, The Infatuation, and Locale Magazine. Her favorite vices are peaty alcohol, rich textiles, far-flung hotels, and all food from any part of the world that can be found in a dumpling-like format. She can usually be found hanging out in her current homes of San ...(Read More)

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