Fly Privately

Fly Privately


Join the Scores of Frequent Travelers Who Enjoy the Timesaving, Hassle-Free World of Private Air Travel
By James D. Butler, Shaircraft Solutions, LLC

As a private aviation advisor, I frequently hear from frustrated business and leisure travelers who are fed up with the commercial airlines:

“I was in Phoenix on a golf trip with my buddies. We played a round in the morning and then headed to the airport. I’d scheduled a meeting in New York the next day with my biggest client who was flying in from Chicago. No problem. I had a flight to Denver where I’d change planes and get into New York around 10:00 p.m., stay in a hotel overnight and do the meeting the next day. Or so I thought… My flight was delayed out of Phoenix for no apparent reason. (You can never get a straight answer from the airlines.) By the time I got to Denver, I had 10 minutes to make my connection. Sprinting for what seemed like a mile from one concourse to another, I made it with five minutes to spare. Or so I thought… The door at the gate was open but the gate agent told me I was too late. He wouldn’t let me on the plane. I explained my situation, but to no avail. There were no other options to fly east from Denver that day. I ended up flying to Los Angeles, and then taking a packed red eye to Washington, D.C. that got in around 5:00 a.m. I waited for the first flight to New York and barely made my meeting.”

This may sound extreme, but I’m willing to bet that something like it, or worse, has happened to you.

Contrast this nightmare (or substitute your own) with flying on a private jet. You fly where, when and with whom you want to fly. Fully 80% of domestic commercial flights fly into only 50 airports, holding you hostage to the airlines’ arbitrary hub system. By contrast, private jets fly into 5,500 airports in the U.S. alone. That means that you can fly direct to an airport that likely is very close to your final destination, avoid connections (and the delays and lost luggage that go with them) and shave hours off your travel time.

No one can deny the quality of life benefits of private jet travel. Have a critical meeting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in another city? If you’re flying commercial, you better fly out tonight just to be sure you make it; or, you could go home tonight, coach your kid’s baseball game, have dinner with your family and fly out first thing tomorrow on a private jet … ending up back in your office by 3:00 p.m. the next afternoon. [member]

Taking the family on a one week ski vacation to Aspen? Rather than skiing five days and spending two full days traveling (and dealing with the anxiety of making your connection out of Denver), you can ski seven days and fly directly home from Aspen. No lost luggage. No intrusive searches.

You fly on a clean, well-maintained and safe aircraft, with a pilot who’ll even help you with your luggage. Catered meals and drink of your choosing await you; there’s Internet and phone service and, perhaps most importantly, a comfortable seat with plenty of legroom.

In leaving the commercial airlines behind, you’ll find that the sense of civility and peace of mind that comes with  private jet travel is priceless. As one client summed it up, “Flying privately used to be a luxury, but today it’s a necessity.” Of course, nothing’s free and the benefits of private air travel come at a cost. In most cases, you’ll pay more to fly privately than you will to fly first class on the commercial airlines. And, with the increased media scrutiny of  private flying, it’s important that public companies and other high profile businesses craft clear policies for executives’ use of private jets based on demonstrable benefits to their bottom line.

Sold on the idea of private air travel? The next step is making sure that you make the right investment from among the various flying options because mistakes can be very costly. In an upcoming article, I’ll discuss your various options from fractional ownership to jet card programs, to traditional charter, and how to go about deciding which option is best for you.

James D. Butler is an attorney and CEO of Shaircraft Solutions ( – a Maryland-based consulting firm advising individuals and businesses with respect to the full range of private air travel investments, including fractional ownership, jet card programs, air taxi services and charter, and specializing in fractional share valuation disputes. Butler also authors Inside Private Air Travel – a blog offering an unvarnished and timely look at the private jet industry as a whole as well as the latest developments with specific jet companies. He can be reached directly at or (301) 652-9885.

Copyright © 2010 by Shaircraft Solutions LLC. All Rights Reserved. [/member]

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