Flying first-class is a traditional status symbol, and chartering a flight takes the journey to a whole new level. While the President of a country or the mega-rich are whizzed around the world by their private jets, there is a growing class among the affluent who are looking for a better way to fly than the commercial flight. Let us now compare the two so you can make an informed decision before you plan your next excursion.
First Class Flight
First class is the highest priced option in most commercial flights. The premium you pay includes additional baggage allowance, better meals and services to guarantee greater comfort. It is generally more affordable than flying a private jet but its flexibility is in no way comparable to a charter flight.
Starting from the moment first-class passengers confirm their booking, they enjoy such quality service as pick-up to the airport, private lounge at the terminal, prior check-in and early boarding, extra luggage allowance and special attention by the air crew staff. All airlines provide exceptional service to their first-class passengers to make them feel special.
Depending on the airline and the aircraft model, first class cabin provides ample legroom and personal space. Most of the time you can expect a reclining seat, private suite, or even a personal compartment with separate sitting and sleeping areas. An onboard lounge and shower spa can also be found in most long-haul flights.
Caviar and champagne! Drinks in glittering glasses and food on exquisite plates! First class offers a fantastic variety of in-flight meals over business and economy class. You can pre-select or mix and match dishes 24 hours before the flight for fancy cuisines. Passengers can decide when the meals are served and order beverages from an exquisite list. From the glass of champagne before anyone else gets on board to the dessert served on fine china, first class passengers enjoy gastronomic satisfaction at an altitude of over 30,000 feet.
Because you are flying with a commercial flight, your schedule is not really flexible. You still need to put up with crowds at the airport to pass through security and wait for the flight to depart even after you have paid more. Travel time is normally longer than charter flights. You may be the first to get off the plane, but the time you spend on a journey would more or less be the same as other passengers on the same flight. And, if you missed a flight, you will need to wait for the next one according to the airline’s schedule.
Instead of paying for a seat, passengers on a charter flight hire the entire aircraft and decide the departure and arrival time as well as the destination according to their own schedule. This can be a more costly option compared to commercial flights, especially for solo travellers; yet it helps to shorten the time for traveling and maximise the time you have at your destination.
Rather than dealing with all the intrusive security checks at a crowded airport, passengers on most charter flights can depart from a private terminal, known as a fixed base operator (FBO), to skip queues and complete security procedures quickly. Sharing cabin with strangers who you do not know is no longer a necessary nuisance because you can choose who to travel with. If you need to hold confidential meetings or want some private time to sit back and relax, you should definitely go for a charter flight which gives you maximum privacy.
Customizable charter cabin
From the number of seats to the different types of entertainment, everything is customisable on a charter flight. Since you are hiring the aircraft for your own use, you determine every detail including the aircraft model, all onboard facilities, as well as who is travelling with you. There is no limitation for baggage and pets are allowed onboard. Passengers with a disability or medical condition requiring special support can also request a cabin fitted with all necessary equipment. Making the journey a swift and smooth experience of safety, speed and comfort has always been the mission goal of a charter flight.
VVIP tasting menu
Similar to first class, a charter flight could provide exceptional dining experience for passengers to enjoy tailor-made cuisines that satisfy their appetite in mid-air. Passengers can design their own menu, request or bring any food from their favorite restaurants to enjoy the most sumptuous meals served by the flight attendants above the clouds. No matter how long your journey is, a buffet party can start from the minute you are on-board till the plane lands.
Full control of schedule
Unlike scheduled commercial flights, a charter flight does not follow regular airline routing. There is no pre-scheduled departure time, and you are not required to arrive at the airport two hours before the departure time to check-in or go through security. You can decide when and where you want to fly, and you will enjoy an array of bespoke service such as limousine pick-up all the way to the tarmac to board. This greatly reduces waiting time for people whose time is their valuable asset.
Which one should I choose?
Both commercial planes and charter flights would get you to your destination in style and elegance. A first-class passenger enjoys excellent service by an established airline while a charter flight offers tailor-made service with enormous flexibility. Flying in a charter jet does not necessarily cost more than flying first class, especially when you are not travelling alone.
Back to the question – first class or charter flight? The choice really depends on your purpose and what you value the most. If you enjoy all the lounge experience while budget is also a concern, flying first class would be a great option, particularly for solo traveller. However, if you enjoy taking over control of your own schedule and, if you believe that time is precious and freedom prized, why settle for being a passenger with all the routines to follow when you can decide how to get to your destination?