Posted on March 8, 2018

Private Aviation 101


Published by Paul West

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking…

These eight words have immense power. Occasionally, they are the precursor to an early arrival, but more often than not, they are the harbinger of turbulence, delayed flights and unexpected sprints through airline terminals.

The truth is that anyone who has traveled more than a handful of times has experienced the pitfalls of commercial aviation. With nearly 30,000 flights a day in the United States alone, odds are good that something will go wrong. Unfortunately, you never know if that unforeseen maintenance issue or late departure is going to happen when it’s least convenient for you.

Missed meetings, missed family events and missed opportunities have recently opened the discussion of private aviation for many of our investor and entrepreneur clients. While they are fed up with airports and extended travel times, they are also cautious about the cost involved. To help explain some of the myths, benefits and personal decisions you need to be aware of, I’ve compiled a crash course through the world of private aviation.

Myth vs. Reality

Myth #1: Private aviation is for the ultra-wealthy.

Certainly, a private flight will set you back more than the cost of an average business-class ticket, but not all those who charter a jet are among the 1%. There are several ways to make private aviation affordable, including renting or fractional ownership.

Myth #2: You have to spend at least $100k per year.

Private aviation isn’t restricted to those who travel dozens of times a year. We’ve helped clients secure private flights for a number of singular circumstances, such as when one couple planned a dream anniversary trip to a location that had no large airport or when an employee of a client found out there was a baby available for adoption but no flights out that day.

Myth #3: You can write the whole thing off as a business expenditure.

Although there are tax advantages, there are also major tax complexities that you must be aware of to avoid an unneeded and very costly mistake.

Myth #4: Most people think it’s enormously complicated.

You can actually keep it very simple by utilizing subscription services.

Benefits of Flying Private

Of all the men and women we know who regularly utilize private planes, the number one reason for doing so is convenience. Having the ability to control when you leave and how long you stay is a game changer for those who were previously at the mercy of national airlines.

Take, for example, a simple flight from Omaha to Chicago. A person flying on a commercial plane leaving at 7 a.m. will have to arrive at the airport at 6 a.m. Then, after their hour-long flight, they will spend at least another hour exiting the aircraft, finding their baggage and procuring a rental car. If the same person were to leave on a private flight at 7 a.m., they would arrive fifteen minutes early and be in their rental car fifteen minutes after touchdown. In the 90 minutes they saved, they could fill their agenda with an activity that is the highest and best use of their time. Consider now how the hours would multiply exponentially in situations that required layovers or for those who take weekly business trips.

Beyond the flexibility, the other commonly cited benefit of private travel is the chance to enjoy life experiences like never before. Gathering your entire family for an unforgettable getaway or being able to provide a loved one with special needs a stress-free environment can be worth the extra dollars and cents. After all, the greatest use of money is often in creating memories.

When is the Right Time to Get into Private Aviation?

The answer to this question will vary from person to person, based on their unique position. The turning point for each individual, however, seems to be when they value their time enough that the financial tradeoff is no longer a deterrent. A clear sign you are ready is when you know time is your greatest asset and making your life easier will justify the extra expense.

Is private aviation right for you? Meet with us for a custom listening session, and we can show you how it ties into your financial plan. Click here to connect with me OR take this risk quiz to learn your tolerance for risk as it relates to your overall financial goals.