There are many ways to fly aboard private jets, and the sheer number of private-jet companies in the US can feel overwhelming. Our selection of the best private-jet companies in the US shows you the best-in-class providers for each method of flying privately.
Perhaps the most luxurious private-jet company that exists, VistaJet has set new standards for the industry. Its charismatic founder, entrepreneur Thomas Flohr, created VistaJet in response to the terrible experiences he had chartering private jets. He looked at all of the pain points that private-jet travelers feel, such as the dreaded owner return and last-minute aircraft changes to unappealing catering served in styrofoam coolers. Then, he reenvisioned private-jet travel with a consistent fleet that is always crewed with at least one flight attendant, top-notch wine programs, and delicious catering from top chefs and restaurants, including Nobu. Today, VistaJet operates a fleet of more than 70 silver-and-red Bombardier jets, including the Global and Challenger families. Flohr’s goal was to create a consistent travel experience anywhere in the world, and he certainly delivered.
VistaJet operates two membership options: Direct and Program. Infrequent fliers and one-off charterers opt for VistaJet Direct, which allows charters and access to empty legs. Frequent fliers choose the Program, a flight-hour subscription plan with guaranteed access at a fixed hourly rate. In addition, the Program comes with VistaJet Private World, a luxury travel service that can take you from your jet to a selection of handpicked destinations around the world. We’re particularly fond of the VistaJet-to-Yacht service, which eliminates much of the hassle of chartering a yacht.
NetJets is the largest and one of the best private-jet companies in the world. It specializes in fractional ownership and also offers private-jet cards and leases. Fractional ownership requires an up-front investment and a 36-month minimum commitment, but it offers guaranteed availability with as little as 4-6 hours’ notice. It comes with the benefits of owning a jet, but without any of the hassles and maintenance. The NetJets Lease program is geared toward people who fly upward of 50 hours a year but don’t want the capital investment of fractional ownership. The more flexible jet card program requires a 25-hour commitment over two years, which is also paid up front. The NetJets fleet is quite expansive, with everything from a light jet for short trips to long-range jets that can cross oceans.
Flexjet is another private-aviation powerhouse offering fractional ownership, jet cards, and leases. However, it takes fractional ownership to the next level through its Red Label by Flexjet program. Red Label assigns pilots and crews to a single aircraft tail number, which guarantees familiar faces on every flight, as well as a supremely knowledgeable crew. In addition, Red Label members have one point of contact for all of their travel needs. Plus, all aircraft have custom LXi Cabin interiors with sumptuous design and materials, and the dining is superb.
Wheels Up uses its high-tech marketplace — available on the Wheels Up app — to bring you access to more than 1,500 aircraft. The app makes searching flights easy and displays aircraft pricing clearly. (Many companies don’t list pricing publicly, so you have to get in touch with the company to get a quote.) While Wheels Up doesn’t own the aircraft in its fleet, it does have a thorough safety-vetting process and verification that brings peace of mind to its clients. Wheels Up appeals to fliers who need lots of flexibility and don’t want to be tied to one aircraft. It also allows members to create shared flights, where fliers split the cost of the trip. It’s known for its fun programming and exclusive events, such as its annual Super Bowl party, scheduled private flights to marquee events and destinations, and partnerships with top brands.
While nonmembers can book flights on Wheels Up, the dynamic pricing model means flights can be significantly more expensive that way. The Connect and Core membership programs have price caps on the hourly rates 300 days a year. To join, members must pay an initial fee and annual dues. A business membership program is also available.
XO is one of the most flexible private-jet companies in the US. You can pay as you fly or purchase a membership to book private charters or individual seats on scheduled private-jet flights. Its fleet has more than 180 owned aircraft, plus an extensive network of more than 2,100 aircraft around the world, offering global coverage. Membership options range from the entry-level Rise program, which costs $595 per year and has dynamic pricing, to the $1,000-per-month Elite Access program. Elite Access has fixed hourly rates on both private charters and shared flights, guaranteed availability on off-peak and peak days, and complimentary aircraft upgrades when available. XO is part of Vista Global Holding, VistaJet’s parent company, and adheres to the same high levels of service.
Jet Linx specializes in jet cards and aircraft management. It operates 20 Jet Linx bases throughout the US, each with dedicated staff and amenities. The 105 airplanes in its fleet are each located at one of these 20 bases, so the company prides itself on high-touch service and familiar faces. While it has strong local ties, it flies to more than 5,000 airports worldwide. It offers two membership programs: Enterprise and Executive.
Boston-based Magellan Jets offers a host of private-jet services. The company doesn’t own any aircraft itself, which gives it lots of flexibility. It offers one-off charter flights in addition to a membership service, which guarantees charter rates, eliminates peak-day surcharges, and has a 24-hour callout time. But what is unique about Magellan Jets is its flexible jet-card program. This customizable service allows you to build your card in 25-hour increments of time aboard eight aircraft, ranging from the Embraer Phenom 300 light jet to the Gulfstream G450 heavy jet. Clients who purchase more than 50 hours receive additional amenities.
PlaneSense is one of the big three fractional-ownership companies in the US (along with NetJets and Flexjet). What differentiates it is its all-Pilatus fleet. PlaneSense exclusively flies the Pilatus PC-12 turboprop and the PC-24 jet. By purchasing a fractional share, you receive access to the full fleet. PlaneSense owns all the jets in its fleet. In addition, all of its pilots and flight support operations are in-house.