Jet charter costs can vary based on the slightest changes to an itinerary. When you charter a plane for a round-trip, one of three things generally happens:

  • The plane stays at your destination – You pay overnight fees and daily minimum flight time fees, when applicable.
  • The plane flies out and back on both days – The plane flies you to your destination and returns to base that same day. It does the reverse to fly you home for the return.
  • Two different planes are used – You pay for a one-way flight on the outbound and a separate one-way flight for the return leg.

With these basic points in mind, we can discuss how one-way flights work and how to lower the cost to charter a jet for a one-way trip.

Paying for Empty Flight Time

If you don’t use a private jet broker or have a jet card/fractional share, you may be flying with a local fixed-fleet operator in your area.

When you book a one-way charter with a fixed-fleet operator, one of two things usually happens:

  • A plane based in Point A to flies you to Point B, then returns to base in Point A.
  • A plane based in Point B to picks you up in Point A, then brings you back to Point B.

In both scenarios above, you pay for the plane to fly ’empty’ for some distance in order to get you from A to B. Your plane needs to get back to its home base, remember?

As such, many one-way flights are priced at round-trip rates, in terms of the billable flight hours the charterer pays for.

If you don’t pay for the empty air time created by your one-way flight, it would be lost revenue to the owner of the plane. Empty air time charges can greatly increase the cost to charter a jet.

Jet Charter Cost Scenarios

Charter plane prices are largely determined by the following:

  • Hours of flight time booked
  • Number of days the trip spans
  • Type of plane used

Depending on these basic factors, your mission plan and price can change dramatically.

Daily Minimum Fees

Most aircraft have a 2-hr daily minimum flight time commitment to book.

For example, if you book a 3-day round-trip from New York to Chicago, your charter plane price may reflect 6 hours of billable flight time (3 days x 2.0hrs = 6.0hrs) even though the plane is only in the air for around 4hrs.

Keeping this 2hr daily minimum in mind, let’s look at the different ways round-trip flight from New York to Chicago could be priced.

Visit our Glossary to learn why aircraft owners impose 2hr daily minimums.

Jet Charter Cost Breakdown

Routing:New York, NY to Chicago, IL
Flight Time:2hrs each way
Aircraft Type:Light Jet
Hourly Rate:$2,500
Duration:3 Days / 2 Nights
FEE TYPEAMOUNT
Flight Time (4hrs)$10,000.00
Daily Min Fees (2hrs)$5,000.00
Fuel Surcharge$750.00
Crew Fees$1,200.00
Landing Fees$150.00
Subtotal$17,100.00
Federal Excise Tax (7.5%)$1,282.50
GRAND TOTAL$18,382.50

Is there a way to eliminate overnight fees and daily min adjustments?

If you have a dedicated private jet broker, they can provide two different planes for each leg of your trip, both priced at or near one-way value.

Using two planes eliminates overnight fees and daily min adjustments, reducing charter jet prices considerably.

Cost Breakdown (Using Two Matching One-Ways)

Routing:New York, NY to Chicago, IL
Flight Time:2hrs each way
Aircraft Type:Light Jet
Hourly Rate:$2,500
Duration:3 Days / 2 Nights
FEE TYPEAMOUNT
Day 1 Flight Time (2hrs)$5,000.00
Day 3 Flight Time (2hrs)$5,000.00
Fuel Surcharge$750.00
Crew Fees$1,200.00
Landing Fees$150.00
Subtotal$12,100.00
Federal Excise Tax (7.5%)$907.50
GRAND TOTAL$13,007.50

In this scenario, you saved around $5,000 by booking this trip as two separate one-way flights.

What if there are no one-way flights available?

In most cases, even if there are no direct one-way matches for your trip, your charter broker can provide NEAR point-to-point value.

Book the trip with two NEAR one-way matches:

  • On Day 1, there is a plane moving from New York to Madison, WI (.5hrs away from Chicago)
  • On Day 3, there is a plane moving from Chicago to Nantucket, MA (.5hrs away from New York)

While these matches are not perfect for your New York to Chicago routing, they only add one (1) total hour of flight time to your bill (.5hrs each day).

If you use these planes for your trip, you will pay the additional .5hrs per day to get the planes over to their final destinations after you use them.

Cost Breakdown (Using NEAR Matching One-Ways)

Routing:New York, NY to Chicago, IL
Flight Time:2hrs each way
Aircraft Type:Light Jet
Hourly Rate:$2,500
Duration:3 Days / 2 Nights
FEE TYPEAMOUNT
Day 1 Flight Time (2.5hrs)$6,250.00
Day 2 Flight Time (2.5hrs)$6,250.00
Fuel Surcharge$750.00
Crew Fees$1,200.00
Landing Fees$150.00
Subtotal$14,600.00
Federal Excise Tax (7.5%)$1,095.00
GRAND TOTAL$15,695.00

Even when there are no perfect matches available, your charter provider should be able to match your trip with aircraft heading in your general direction.

Want to know the cost to rent a private jet for your next trip?

Check out our Charter Flight Cost Calculator to view instant price estimates.

Browse the articles below to learn more, or return to the Jet Charter Pricing main page to view all available topics.

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