How Much It Really Costs To Buy A Private Jet

Scheduling delays and cancellations. Overbooked flights. Lost luggage. Those of us who attempted to travel this summer may be only too familiar with the horrors of commercial flights. And before you think that all problems associated with flying commercial can only happen to those who buy coach-class tickets, think again, because when a flight is delayed, canceled, or rerouted, those in first- or business-class feel the pain, too. 

So it comes as no surprise that high-net-worth travelers could actually think about taking the sting out of commercial travel by buying a private jet to use, and as Condé Nast Traveller points out, there are some good reasons to do just that. Dan Kilkeary, Jetcraft senior vice president of sales for North and South America, points out that with private jets: "You can tailor the flight experience to meet the specific trip requirements ... and have the freedom to make changes or extensions to a trip at the last minute." This means your travel arrangements are within your control, weather permitting, from where you go and when you leave, to whom you fly with.

But these jet-setting perks come at a cost.

How much a jet costs depends on how large it is

The cost to buy a private jet can vary greatly and will, ultimately, depend on how old the plane is, its size, its make, how far it can go, and how much it can carry. The site says a plane like the nine-seater Embraer Phenom 100 can set you back less than $3 million, while a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ 777x) carries a price tag of more than $400 million. 

But there are plenty of choices between the price extremes. You can also choose from a range of jet sizes and weights, from very light private jets that can fly for about three hours for $1.5 million to light jets that can hold up to eight persons for $6 million. Mid-sized jets, meanwhile, can fly for about five hours and cost up to $20 million. And ultra-long-range heavy jets, which can fit 17 and carry full-sized beds, can run you about $62 million.

The cost of flying and maintaining the jet adds to its price tag

But if boats are just "holes in the water into which one pours money," per Boat Safe, airplanes are not much better. If you buy a brand-new private jet, you'll need to factor in the cost of customizing the jet's interiors, and if you buy it second-hand, you'll need to budget for refitting, maintenance, repairs, and upkeep. Regardless of the plane's age, you'll need to hire a crew to fly your plane(s), and you'll need to fuel the jet so it can fly. There are also insurance fees, airport fees for landing and taking off, and storage fees for when you decide not to travel.

Given the prohibitive costs of not just acquiring but also maintaining a private jet, deep-pocketed passengers may choose to lease a private jet instead. Doing so gives a frequent traveler the option to have a jet without having to pay for it upfront. Alternatively, high-net worth individuals might opt for a charter flight membership, which gives you the chance of using a private jet without paying for it; Charter fees start around $1,300 per hour for medium-sized jets and can reach $16,000 for bigger aircraft.