Flying with a private jet can be quite expensive, which is why it’s not a viable option for a lot of people, unless you find a free leg flight, but those are rare and unreliable. Commercial flights, on the other hand, more often than not cause a lot of frustrations, not to mention they pose health risks due to the ongoing pandemic. That’s why the so-called semi-private flying is the real deal.
The term is quite simple to understand, but is this type of air travel luxurious and private? Or is it similar to a commercial flight in first class? I’d say both. Let me explain.
What Are Semi-Private Flights?
If you first thought after hearing semi-private is half private, half commercial, you’d be wrong. This type of air travel is way more luxurious and private than flying commercially, and a bit less than flying privately, especially in terms of privacy.
If you opt for a semi-private flight, you will enjoy all the perks that come with private flying. This includes luxury terminals, gates, no waiting in line, and fast passport control and boarding. In some cases, you might get even more luxury than that, like catering, or other concierge services.
However, you shouldn’t always expect to get the treatment you see in the movies, where you’ll straight up be offered champagne or shrimps. That’s usually not realistic, even if you book a fully private flight. Instead, prepare yourself for a pleasant flight, in a pretty private atmosphere, but still, with other passengers you don’t personally know. Depending on the type of plane you’re on, this number can vary from six to twenty strangers.
Private Flight vs Semi-Private Flight
There isn’t much information on the internet that explains the difference between these two types of air travel, and the info that exists is too vague and unnecessarily complicated, so let’s simplify things a bit. Semi-private flying is basically buying a ticket the regular way but for a charter flight.
When booking a private flight, you have the whole jet to yourself, make private plans with the pilot about the time of departure, and arrive at the airport any time you wish, which can even be 10 minutes before departure. When booking a semi-private flight, on the other hand, you have to arrive at the airport at the exact time you were told, and share a private jet with other passengers who’ve purchased a ticket the same way you did, via an app or by directly calling the company. This will be further elaborated below.
The advantage of semi-private flying is the price. You can book a flight for $1,000 and fly with a mid-sized turbojet, which will take you to your destination much faster and in a more comfortable and intimate environment than a commercial flight. Of course, the price will vary depending on your destination and other factors, but I’d say a thousand is the lowest threshold.
How Much Does a Semi-Private Flight Cost?
As I explained earlier in the text, semi-private tickets still fall into the high-end category, but are not even close to the prices you would pay to hire a private jet. The lowest figure you could pay is $990, according to Aero, but the prices vary based on the following factors that you should take into consideration.
Of course, the destination is the biggest factor that affects the price. I’m not only talking about the mileage you want to pass, but also the country you want to visit. If you’re from the US, let’s say New York, and want to visit London, different charges will apply due to the cross-border character of your trip.
At the same time, semi-private flight operators offer far fewer routes than you would expect. Indeed, commercial and regular private flight operators offer almost every destination that you can think of, but that’s not the deal with semi-private flights, so keep this in mind.
Type Of Jet
Companies tend to base their prices upon the type or size of the jet. If you get a turboprop airplane as the aircraft of transport, it’s probably going to be cheaper than a mid-size jet, per se. A heavy jet is even more expensive, but in some cases, it can be cheaper to fly with it, due to the bigger capacity it has, which sometimes makes the individual ticket’s price drop.
Another thing that companies pay attention to is the engine, or engines built-in the aircraft. If you have a twin-turbo engine, it will take you from point A to point B faster than a single piston engine. However, luxury flying isn’t only about speed and power, it actually has more to do with comfort and the way you’re being treated.
No matter where you’re going, knowing the prices will help you determine whether semi-private flying is the right option for you. I told you that you shouldn’t expect anything below $990, that is if you plan to visit a destination that’s at least 1,000 miles away.
Let’s take a look at certain destinations, very popular among semi-private travelers, and compare the prices. Bear in mind that the prices are roughly estimated and may vary from one service provider to another.
The prices are expressed in American dollars (USD). The figures you’ll see reflect the price per person, which is the same regardless of how many people are on the plane. The usual way of booking these sorts of flights is for a one-way trip.
|Price ($ USD)
|London to Ibiza
|London to Nice
|Mykonos to Ibiza
|Los Angeles to Aspen
|Napa to Los Angeles
|Loan Angeles to Jackson Hole
|Sun Valley to Los Angeles
|Destin to Houston
|Phoenix to Las Vegas
How To Book a Semi-Private Flight
Now that you’ve seen the prices and have a general idea of how much it’s going to cost you to book a flight, let’s see how you can actually reserve your spot.
Some companies have scheduled flights and are just filling up the seats, while others are waiting for a certain number of people to gather, and then create the flight. In the US, most companies work as transport sharing apps, just like Uber only for airplanes.
Here are some companies that you can use to book your next semi-private flight.
SurfAir is the most popular, and perhaps the best option for booking a semi-private flight. It operates with over 5,000 airports in the US and has very competitive prices. The website is very easy to manoeuvre and covers almost every popular American route.
To be more precise, the platform offers over 10 million flight options. This is ten times more than what commercial carriers offer. Semi-private flights take off from small airports, where generally there are 99% fewer people than at regular airports.
According to the company’s website, the company has very satisfied clients, as 96% have said that SurAir’s flying experience was hospitality-driven. For each type of flyer, there is a suitable membership option, starting at $199.
Blackbird is a well-known flight-sharing platform that offers a plethora of destinations. The platform is not limited to any continent, although most flights include European routes, but you can also find a flight from or to Dubai, New York, or even Aspen if you’re lucky.
You can subscribe to the platform’s newsletter and be informed every time there is a good deal or a flight near you. If you become a member, you’ll also get information on empty leg flights which is always a good thing.
The Denmark-based company offers all kinds of flights for different kinds of end-users. There are VIP charters for those who like to fly in luxury, but also corporate charters for businesspersons who are interested in one quick flight.
Aero is yet another flight-sharing platform that has gained the trust of many thanks to its quality and honest work. With Aero, you won’t get all the flying options like with SurfAir and Blackbird, but it has all the “important” routes covered.
Every flight you take with Aero is a first-class luxury experience where you’ll get a private terminal, concierge services, and everything that goes with it. The boarding process is brought to a minimum since the company praises safety.
The company’s fleet is carefully selected. The interior and exterior of their jets are tailor-made, including soft and high-quality seats, powerful engines, and remarkable design. They tend to make a whole event from your journey, so flying Aero is certainly a great option.
Benefits Of Flying Semi-Private
Every time you upgrade from commercial flights – you win. While there’s nothing better than fully private flights, which are full of luxury and special treatment, semi-private flights have their own charm. Maybe the reason is exactly the imperfect perfect components of a shared private jet.
Avoid Long Lines
If you decide to book a seat on a semi-private flight, say goodbye to long lines and passport controls that take a lifetime. Instead, you will go to a special private terminal where your luggage scanning and passport control will take up to 20 minutes in total.
Of course, this will save you a lot of time as you will not be obliged to be at the airport 3 hours prior to your flight (at least). Instead, you could be at the airport only 30 minutes before take-off.
Save Some Money
Booking a semi-private flight is not cheap, as you might’ve already noticed. However, compared to regular private flights, where 1 hour can cost you up to $10,000, a ticket for a shared private flight is quite affordable.
Moreover, if you become a member of a platform or company, you can get early deals, discount notifications, and alarms for empty leg flights that sometimes offer up to 75% discounts. Semi-private flights can really save you money if you take into consideration that you’re flying with style.
Enjoy The Privacy
As we already mentioned, flying semi-private means sharing the plane with other passengers. However, there will be 99% fewer strangers than there would be on a commercial flight. At the same time, private jets are cozy with a lot of legroom, so you’ll barely notice the people flying with you.
Add to this the almost empty terminals, the fact that you land on a private terminal, and that you’ll be out of there in just a couple of minutes. You will exit the airport of your destination in mere minutes, which wouldn’t be the case even if you choose flying first-class on a commercial flight.
The concept of semi-private flights and flight-sharing, in general, is still misunderstood by many, so I hope that this article made things clearer and you now know all the basics regarding this topic. Just in case, let’s sum everything up.
Unlike private flying, semi-private jets are shared with other people, which explains the whole “semi” part.
- Are more affordable;
- Require spending far less time on a terminal;
The factors that influence the price are the following:
- Type of engine;
- Seat capacity;
- Jet size.
Another factor comes into play when it comes to flying semi-private, and that’s whether the flight is within the country’s borders, or cross-country. If you’re planning on visiting a different country, the price will be higher.
A seat on a semi-private flight can cost as low as $500, even less for a very short destination, but can also reach $5,000.
At the end of the day, I’d say that $2,000 is enough money to get you a ticket on a semi-private flight, for almost every destination.