Remember the first time you ever flew on an airplane? You were more than likely stuck in coach, crammed into a middle seat with a screaming baby on one side and a snoring neighbor on the other.

And to get to that less-than-desirable seat, you had to make the jealousy-inspiring trek through first class — with its wide chairs, glasses of champagne, and leg room for days.

Whether for business or pleasure, flying first class has a lot of benefits — you get priority boarding and de-boarding, complimentary food and drinks, attentive service, privacy to get work done, and room to stretch out and relax.

With so many cushy first-class options, does flying private really make a difference?

Choosing between first-class and a private charter jet goes way beyond free snacks and more leg room.

Private means less time spent at the airport. It also means flying when and where you want to, and bringing along all the baggage you want. And you get a lot more freedom when it comes to what you bring on board — whether it’s a gourmet dinner catered for 6, or extra room for your 2 Irish wolfhounds.

If first class has left you wanting more out of your flying experience, here are 5 reasons why it might be time for you to make the jump to private.

When Flying Private Makes Sense

If you’ve been flying first class for a while now and have been thinking about making the jump to private, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

1. How Often Do You Travel?

The more you travel, the more tiresome commercial flights can become. Here are a few benefits of private charter jets over commercial options:

  • No security.
  • Board/de-board right by your plane — no need to go inside the airport.
  • Arrive at the airport just before your flight is scheduled to leave.
  • Fly when you want: Finish a meeting at 10pm and want to get home for breakfast with the kids the next day? A commercial airline probably doesn’t have a flight so late at night, but with private, the planes fly on your schedule — not the other way around.
  • Reschedule on the fly: Stuck in traffic on the way to the airport or trying to seal a critical business deal? No problem — a quick phone call and your jet can be held for you.

Plus, private jets fly in different airspace than commercial ones, which means less scheduling conflicts and faster flight times.

2. How Many Times Do You Have Layovers?

When traveling between hubs like LA and New York, you probably have no trouble getting direct flights when you want.

But if your work regularly takes you to Columbia, South Carolina or Des Moines, Iowa, you’re probably over all the layovers.

Layovers add hours to your travel time, and require you to get off a plane, find your next gate, and re-board.

A private jet can fly directly from your departure point to where you need to go, without needing to pick up your bag at luggage claim or going through security.

If need to get to a really remote destination, a private jet has the option of landing at small landing strips at regional and private airports — something no commercial airline can do.

3. Do You Have Long Travel Times from the Airport to Your Final Destination?

If many of your flights land at a major airport that then requires hours by car, train or bus to get to your final destination, it’s time to consider private.

A private jet can land at regional and private airports, which have a much smaller footprint than big commercial airports. Because of their size, they can fit wherever makes sense for proximity to nearby attractions.

Say you want a weekend of relaxation in a mountain hot springs resort in Colorado. Landing at Denver International Airport, which is on the far east side of Denver, from where you can barely even see the mountains, will still leave you with hours to go by car.

A private plane can touch down at any number of small mountain airstrips that could get you just minutes from that soothing soak.

4. Do You Manage a Business or Hold a High Position?

Whether you own a business that requires travel, network-building, and impressing hard-to-get clients or work a demanding job as a high-level executive, private is probably for you.

Business benefits of private include:

  • Less time in the air makes for more efficient use of work time.
  • Less stressful travel leaves you with energy to focus on the business at hand.
  • Nothing impresses a potential client like the perks of private — which is great for building new relationships and increasing future business opportunities.
  • Peace and quiet makes for more productive work time while traveling.
  • Privacy means important business discussions can happen on the plane.
  • More satisfied employees and lower turnover rate.
  • Pay for the aircraft, not the seats: If you need to send 6 executives on a business trip, the cost of all those first-class seats could become comparable or even pricier than chartering a jet.
  • Business travel is tax-deductible.

In the long run, the extra money you spend on flying private should be considered an investment in the future health of your business’ bottom line.

5. Does First Class Meet the Demands of Your Lifestyle?

Do you find yourself dreaming of a weekend getaway on Friday at 3pm? And do you hate the idea of leaving your 2 cats and beagle behind?

With commercial, you’re stuck daydreaming at home. But with private, you can arrange a flight when you want to wherever you want — and bring the entire family along for the ride (pets included).

If first class on commercial flights has been leaving you wanting more flexibility and more options, it might be time to switch to flying private.

And with private, you don’t just fly in style — you fly knowing you’re in safe hands. Private jets are just as safe as commercial aircraft, which, when coupled with all the perks they offer, makes them the right choice for people on the go.

And in many cases, private can be the safest choice for your travel needs. Learn more about what makes private aviation a particularly safe choice »