With legroom decreasing even as ticket prices rise, more people are seeing that flying commercial is (pardon the pun) for the birds. Even if you get a first-class seat with all the trimmings, it’s still likely to be more expensive and less comfortable than had you chosen a private jet. Going private is rapidly becoming the only way to fly; both from a monetary and a comfort standpoint.
Coolest Private Jets
Though private planes might be superior to larger airliners in nearly every way, they are not all created equal. A bad ride on the smaller aircraft could be terrifying and disastrous, which is why you should know which are the best private jets, and which are not worth the money. Whether you’re looking to buy, lease, rent, time-share, or charter, each of these will get you from point A to wherever you want in safety and style.
Game Changer: It’s not facetious to say that when the EA500 hit the market in 2006 it altered the Very Light Jet (VLJ) world. Using a pair of turbofan engines the EA500, and all its siblings, are meant for the budget buyer who needs to get around, but never needs to go too far afield.
Light & Sassy: Beloved by short to mid-range business travelers for its peppy ability to get off the ground quickly and ride smoothly both across town and across the country. Redesigned seating from the previous model allows 7 passengers in complete comfort, even with a cruise speed of 400 knots.
Many Flavors: With small planes, what you see is often less than what you get. On the G90XT, you get the option of many cabin layouts. It’s is alluring in that it offers so many choices, even with the limited space. Beneath the cockpit sits the Garmin G1000 navigational instruments, making course charting child’s play.
Small Wonder: You can tell from the comfortable, friendly, inviting sitting arrangement of the Honda Jet that it comes from a car manufacturer. Able to eliminate high-speed drag, it doesn’t have the longest or widest range, but it can move with serious intent for making meetings across the pond.
Cessna Citation M2
Break from Form: Cessna may be the top of the twin prop heap, but the M2 is something a little bit different. Made with electronics so simple they can be operated by the most amateur pilot, there’s not a lot to this private jet besides space, a quality engine, and a smooth ride.
Hold ’em: The PC-12 is a spunky little dirt devil able to handle unpaved runways and jump into the air with a moment’s notice. The huge cargo capacity and comfortable cabin make it ideal for jet-setters who need to carry a lot of wares or luggage with them as they bop from town to town.
Beechcraft King Air 350i
Skipper: Not made for anything more than short moves between cities, this is built for the domestic flyer who needs to be doing business in San Antonio on Monday, Denver on Tuesday, and Toronto on Wednesday. 8 passengers can ride in this small but luxurious craft, with plenty of tables and outlets for work on the move.
Small Packages: Built for getting on and off of small runways, the PC-24 would be Pablo Escobar’s dream. It’s built like a turboprop, but includes the cabin space of a medium corporate jet. The interior feels like a penthouse suite, with premium materials on every square inch.
Embraer Phenom 300
Space to Spare: The oval design of the cabin adds a sense of spaciousness to the Phenom 300 that you won’t find in most planes. Beneath the slick exterior is also a wide and deep storage area so that each of the 8 passengers can bring along the kitchen sink.
Embraer Legacy 500
Untethered: This is all you need to know: Tablet-controlled cabin settings. Yes, there’s also some heated, reclining seats, a nice level floor for easy movement at any time, and a more comfortable, ergonomic design meant to encourage proper posture and health; but really – Tablet-controlled cabin.
Bombardier Challenger 350
Wired: Truly private, you can shove 8 or 9 people into the Challenger, but if you go higher, you’re going to need to start ripping out reclining seats, downgrading the glorious multi-media and communications wiring, and strip out some of the cabin controls. We suggest you fly it as-is and enjoy.
Cessna Citation Hemisphere
Go the Distance: Cessna was cursed when it came to their private aircraft. 4,000 nautical miles seemed to be the ceiling of their double-prop design. Unveiled at the 2015 NBAA show, the new Hemisphere breaks new boundaries by adding 500 nm’s without losing any of the comfort or reliability for which Cessna is known.
Bombardier Global 8000
Coming Soon: Couches galore and fuel-efficiency, the Global 8000 still hasn’t hit the shelves, but with the expanded galley and the furthest reach of any private plane, it’s going to be the name to beat in upcoming years.
Flexjet Global Express
Get There: Meant to go the distance, and do it quickly, the Global Express lives up to its moniker by offering nearly 7,000 miles worth of range coupled with a top cruising speed of 561 mph. Semi-circular seating makes conferences, meetings, and high-stakes gambling while aloft easily done.
Dassault Falcon 8X
Redefined: The Falcon 7X changed the way private jets are built by using a computerized system to aid in the layout. The result was more efficiency and a more comfortable cabin. With the 8X, the game hasn’t changed much, but with an extended fuselage and an expanded range, it’s the little things that count.
Distance Runner: If you don’t have the extra 5 million laying around to get the G650ER, might we humbly recommend the G550. It has an exceptional range of almost 8k miles, and since it’s the middle child of the Gulfstream family, you can get it for less than the competition. It’s a safe buy since it will retain a high resale value so long as you don’t crash it.
Platinum Standard: Able to go from New York to Hong Kong fully loaded with 18 passengers, there’s very little that can compete with the G650ER in terms of range. Though seating is slightly limited, those you have on board will have the smoothest, fastest flight of their lives.
Big ol’ Jet Airliner: A throwback to 1983, the private model of the Boeing 757-200 seats 62 passengers with dual cabins for privacy. Full club seating and a state room, it’s Air Force One without the pomposity…or armor plating.
Boeing Business Jets
VIP: A marvel of modern technology that puts Donald Trump’s little 757 to shame, the BBJ3, as it is known around the company, can seat between 25 and 50 people depending on how you want it arranged. For changes on the fly, it can easily be altered to accommodate whatever needs your business has. (Note: the above gallery also contains the 757, the 777 and the 747 — sheer pleasure)
Airbus 319 Corporate Jet
Spy Plane: Beneath the placid, professional exterior beats the heart of a clandestine services mastermind. Removable panels create enhanced security and offer greater options for customizing the interior, while extra, removable fuel tanks give you as much or as little gas as is needed to get the job done.