Using Private Aircraft for Business Travel
An increasing number of companies are beginning to consider private plane trips for employees. Rather than jumping on a commercial airliner, executives are springing for seats on private jets and other private aircraft.
There are a number of benefits to private jet travel that have companies investing good money in flying corporate teams or others to their destinations by private plane, rather than asking them to cram themselves into commercial flights. A March article on Investopedia shows how some of the 488 million Americans who fly for business each year get “upgraded” to private air travel for a variety of reasons.
Here are some of the considerations that businesses think about when they book private jet trips for leadership teams or other flyers:
Time and Productivity
One of the most fundamental arguments for private jet flights is how these types of flights get people to the destinations much faster. Private flights can save time in a number of ways.
First, there is the obvious time saving of not having to go through the intense process that commercial flyers are subjected to. Going from the terminal to security and through to the boarding area can take up to several hours, as regular commercial flyers know only too well.
With private flights, you skip all of this process and get up into the air much more easily. It’s a matter of showing up in ground transportation, walking onto the plane, and getting into the sky right away.
More time is saved in the air. Private jets tend to fly faster than commercial airplanes, as they use a separate air space and are not bound by some of the constraints of commercial flights.
In addition, the time that you have on a private plane can carry more potential for productivity. A 2014 story on Business Insider talks about the real advantages of private jets, pointing out the obvious time savings discussed above, but also citing a 2009 survey by the National Business Aviation Association showing that private jet flyers rate themselves as up to 20% more productive than those flying on commercial airlines.
Private flights can save time and money in another way, too – flying on a private jet or airplane gives flyers access to many more smaller airports.
Commercial flyers know that it can be difficult to get a direct flight into a particular community, especially if it’s less urban, or not as close to big populous areas like the Atlantic seaboard. For example, residents of a town like Marfa, Texas know that they’re really only served by big regional airports in El Paso and Midland, and that visitors will have to drive about three hours from either one. Some of these communities are thriving tourist destinations or have their attractions for long-distance visitors, but they’re hard to get to, because flyers have to drive hours from the airport.
That’s not to mention the obvious time-wasting that happens when people have to book non-direct commercial flights. Travelers often face delays related to overbooking, or storms or other issues. They may have to go through the whole security and screening process multiple times in order to get where they’re going. All of this adds a lot of time and hassle.
By contrast, those traveling on private jets can get right to their destination, the same way they get into the air — just by showing up. Private pilots can direct the aircraft right to a local airport or even a small landing strip somewhere in the community, instead of dispersing passengers and letting them figure out how to get the rental car desk so they can drive dozens of miles through the country.
Preparing for Presentations — Privacy and Comfort
Another argument for private plane travel is that flying commercial airlines can be, in a word, demoralizing.
Many agree that the TSA process, regardless of its necessity, is fraught with problems. There’s the discouraging prospect of getting selected for additional screenings or the pressure and hustle of trying to get carry-on electronics through security. It’s just not a way to set up people for success.
Along with the productivity gains that come with private air travel, private jet travel can be a way to relax and prepare for a big meeting. If there is a lot of money riding on the results of that meeting, it may make sense to invest in a better atmosphere for those who are attending. Companies might look at springing for private plane tickets to get travelers access to better wi-fi environments, more privacy, and/or a more relaxing atmosphere.
Going back to the equation of time and money in air travel, companies might be more willing to look at private air travel for groups of travelers.
Suppose a team of executives is going to the destination somewhere around the country. If that group is more than 5 or 10 people, the commercial airline ticket prices quickly add up. Companies may actually be able to save money by going with a private airplane that’s just the right size for the group, whether it’s a four-seater or a larger private jet.
All of these are compelling benefits of private air travel, in an age where commercial airline travel has become generic and mediocre.
In its heyday, air travel was seen as a glamorous thing, but with all of the cost-cutting and other challenges of maintaining commercial flights for large passenger volumes, it’s become seen as the equivalent of a Greyhound bus. However, that’s not really why many companies invest in private air travel — the benefits above show why flying on a private plane can actually save money or add value to get travelers onto private flights for sales meetings, presentations and other important business trips.