Flying in a private jet is a luxury most people only dream about—but it may not be as expensive as you think. Sure, chartering a plane to fly where you want, when you want, is going to cost you more than an arm and a leg. However, there are a growing number of companies selling individual seats or subscription memberships on semi-private flights across the United States.
What is a Semi-Private Flight?
To put it simply, a semi-private flight is basically strangers sharing the cost of a private jet. This allows travelers to get the experience and convenience of flying private while not footing the bill for the entire plane. Each company operates differently so the experience (and cost) can vary quite drastically depending on which type of flight you book.
A few operate just like commercial airlines and anyone can buy seats just like you can on, say, American or Delta—the difference being you’ll have a private terminal, extra space and comfortable seating throughout the cabin, and a much more personalized experience. Think of it as an entire flight of first-class seats—and oftentimes a better product than what you’ll get flying first-class on a commercial airline.
On the other hand, some of these companies operate on a subscription model where you join a club to either have access to shared private flights or receive unlimited flights for a monthly fee. There are also opportunities to book an “empty leg flight” at extreme discounts when aircraft are repositioning for the next flight.
Companies That Sell Semi-Private Flights
Aero launched semi-private U.S. flights in February 2021 after a successful debut in Europe in 2020. The premium leisure-travel airline flies sleek Embraer ERJ-135 jets with 16 first-class seats arranged in a 1-1 configuration. This means every seat is both a window and an aisle seat.
The airline currently operates out of Van Nuys Airport (VNY) in Los Angeles to Aspen, Colorado (ASE); Sun Valley, Utah (SUN); and Los Cabos, Mexico (SJD). It also flies from San Francisco to Los Cabos (SJD), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Los Cabos (SJD and CSL), and Dallas (DAL) to Aspen (ASE) and Los Cabos (SJD). Flights depart from private terminals and you’ll be catered to at every step.
Tickets range between $1,600 – $2,300 one-way, which is one of the more expensive semi-private flight options in this list. Still, it’s not nearly what you would pay for similar flights if you were to charter a private plane for yourself.
Well-known for its helicopter transfers between Manhattan and NYC area airports, Blade also sells private charters and allows anyone to propose or join a charter flight anywhere in the U.S.
Blade has scheduled service as well. From November through April, BladeOne flies between New York and South Florida on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays. The flights depart out of Westchester County Airport (HPN) in New York and travel to and from either West Palm Beach (PBI) or Miami’s Opa Locka Airport (OPF). There’s also the option to add a helicopter connection between Manhattan and Westchester Airport.
The BladeOne aircraft are Bombardier CRJ 200s that have been converted to luxury jets with just 16 extremely spacious seats in a 1-1 configuration. You’ll be treated well on board with gourmet meals, preloaded tablets with entertainment, and special amenity kits. Plus, you won’t mind the short wait for your flight with private lounges at each airport.
Standard seats are typically around $2,600 one-way, though it can sometimes cost less for last-minute seats or more for peak or holiday seats. Frequent travelers can purchase a 10-pack or 20-pack of flights to receive a 10 or 15 percent discount, respectively. At these prices, Blade is catering to more affluent passengers looking to indulge in a high-end private jet experience while sharing the cost with others.
One of the most affordable ways to get a private flying experience is by booking a flight on Boutique Air. The commuter airline offers semi-private flights for the price of commercial tickets, though you won’t be flying in a jet. Boutique Air has a fleet of turboprop planes including Pilatus PC-12 and Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft.
In addition to charter flights, Boutique Air has a codeshare agreement with United and an interline agreement with American to offer connections to Essential Air Service airports around the US. United MileagePlus members can also earn and redeem miles when flying Boutique Air. Since all of Boutique Air’s flights are sold as economy tickets, you’ll find some great fares and mileage redemption rates that allow you to get a glimpse of what private flying is like.
The cabins may be outdated but you can expect comfortable seating on board that resembles a private plane with only eight or nine seats per flight. Service is minimal and may sometimes be carried out by the pilots themselves. Prices vary much like commercial flights but can go as low as $39 one-way for advanced purchase tickets on short hops within its route map.
The best-value way to get a private jet experience is to hop on one of JSX’s Embraer ERJ-135 or 145 jets. The fleet is outfitted with 30 seats per plane so it isn’t as “private” as some of the others listed here but you’ll get a similar experience with private terminals, spacious seating on board, and complimentary cocktails.
The number one selling point is its promise of a hassle-free experience. Rather than arriving hours before your flight, JSX claims that “20 minutes is all you need to get from the curb to your seat”. It has a growing network of flights within the West Coast, Texas, and has even started flying between Westchester County and Florida destinations.
JSX had occasional fare sales as low as $99 one-way in the past but you’ll now generally find that prices range between $169 – $439 per seat. Miami flights seem to be a bit more expensive ranging between $599 – $849, but pricing is variable so it is always subject to change. JSX also has a partnership with JetBlue allowing you to earn TrueBlue points when flying JSX.
Set Jet is a membership-based private jet club that primarily flies between Arizona, California, Utah, and Nevada, with its headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. It also has seasonal flights to Cabo San Lucas, and plans to start serving Aspen and Texas soon.
To join, there is a one-time security check fee of $99.95 and a month-to-month membership fee of $99.95 per month. Members can book regional domestic flights for $750 one-way. Seasonal flights to Cabo go for about $1,300 each way. In the near future, Set Jet hopes to expand to New York and San Francisco with cross-country flights starting from $3,800 one-way. Elite Members have access to additional routes, including coast-to-coast flights starting at $4,500 one-way. Elite Members are subject to the same security check fee as well as a $999.95 monthly membership.
Flight times are determined by the first person who requests a flight and then Set Jet will sell the remaining seats to other members. When flying with Set Jet, you’ll get VIP treatment with private terminals and exclusive flights aboard Bombardier Challenger 850 aircraft configured with 13-16 seats. The fancy cabins resemble a 5-star hotel suite with high-gloss wood and marble galleys, and soft leather seats.
Surf Air is another membership program, which acts as an agent to book on demand charter flights around the country. The company currently has two membership options:
- Access – $199/month: Members can book discounted seats on private flights across the West Coast and Texas. Surf Air states that seats can be booked for as low as $99 per flight.
- Freedom – $2,499/month: Book flights on most of the scheduled service for free, excluding special event flights.
All memberships also come with preferential pricing for on demand flights.
Surf Air’s scheduled flights are operated by 8-seat Pilatus PC-12 turboprop aircraft that feature luxurious seating and a personalized experience. You can arrive at the private terminal just 15 minutes before your flight departs, saving valuable time compared to flying commercially.
One of the original semi-private flight companies, Tradewind Aviation, has been around for more than 20 years. Today, it has a network of scheduled flights in the Northeast and Caribbean with a fleet of Pilatus PC-12 and Citation CJ3 aircraft.
In the Northeast, there are daily seasonal flights from White Plains, NY and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
In the Caribbean, there are scheduled connections between the islands with a focus on flights to St. Barths. You can fly nonstop between St. Barths and San Juan, St. Thomas, Anguilla, and Antigua, as well as scheduled flights between San Juan and Anguilla.
All domestic flights depart from private jet terminals and you’ll get to enjoy a VIP lounge experience when flying from San Juan. Plus, there is champagne on every flight. Flight prices can range anywhere from $200 a seat up to $1,000 or more depending on the route and travel dates. Anyone can book a flight through Tradewind Aviation—no membership is required.
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