Taking A Private Jet Can Be Cheaper Than You Think

You Can Afford A Private Jet, Too

When your calves involuntarily cramp at the mere thought of flying in economy yet again, it might be time to book a private jet.

Yup, some private planes will fly people just like you for rates that dip -- not always, but sometimes -- below the cost of a regular plane ticket.

They're called "empty legs," and they happen after a private jet drops off its high-profile clients at their desired destination. About 40 percent of the time, the planes don't have passengers for the way back, so they offer their seats to regular folks at discounts of up to 75 percent.

The deals are admittedly hard to find, but they do exist.

To score a cheap private flight, make a daily habit of scouring the interwebs -- sites like PrivateFly, JetSuite and Victor list last-minute empty leg offers with the type of jet, date and destination for potential passengers to book. If you log in at the right time and are willing to travel with limited notice, then the plane is all yours.

One day last month, for example, PrivateFly offered a flight from London to Cannes for about $283 per person, The Telegraph reports. That same trip would've cost well over $300 on budget airline easyJet. Similarly, JetSuite recently posted trips from New Jersey to The Bahamas for $179 per person and from LAX to Cabo for $124 per person, according to the New York Post. That's about $67 cheaper than a next-day flight to Cabo would cost right now.

Deals like these, however, don't happen every day.

Our recent search of PrivateFly's deals, for example, turned up a next-day flight from New York to Fort Lauderdale at a rate of more than $1,000 per person -- that's hardly cheaper than a typical commercial ticket. And the best option on JetSuite's "SuiteDeals" page was a flight from Monterey, California to Napa for $134 a head.

But when we tried to compare, commercial flights weren't even available from Monterey to Napa. And maybe that's the point. When you fly a private jet, you can show up at the airport minutes before takeoff. The security process happens in instants. You can bring a pet, eat off fine china and sit in tufted seats with your best friends. You'll fly to places the regular planes don't go, because you're not on a regular plane.

Private jet tickets may not always be cheaper, but they're always more awesome. And that's worth scouring the interwebs.

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Before You Go

East Sister Rock Island, Florida Keys
Located less than a mile off of Marathon, this private island offers a 5,000 square-foot home, complete with veranda, boat dock, helicopter launch pad, swimming pool, and a 25-foot boat to get back and forth to the mainland. Rates start at $1,000 per night.
Little Whale Cay, Bahamas
About 100 miles southeast of Fort Lauderdale, the 93-acre Little Whale Cay has three luxury villas that can accommodate up to 12 people. There's an infinity pool, gym, tennis court, gardens, and it's own airstrip. Rates start at $10,750 per night.
Spectacle Island, Maine
Off the coast of Bar Harbor, travelers can stay on the six-acre Spectacle Island, which comes equipped with a 16-foot sailboat and kayaks, perfect for exploring the coast. Rates start at $1,200 per night.
Villa Lilot, Mauritius
Roughly 1,200 miles off the coast of Africa sits this four bedroom villa that boasts panoramic views of the Roches Noires lagoon. Parts of the property are open-air, giving guests the ability to enjoy island scenery from the comfort of the couch or a chaise lounge perched in the sand. Rates start at $400 per night.
Cayo Espanto, Belize
Three miles of San Pedro, this island has not one but seven seaside rentals, each with their own plunge pools. Snorkeling and scuba diving is offered on the island. Rates start at $1,995 per night.
Devil’s Elbow Cottage, Bluffton, South Carolina
Located on a 150-acre island within the gates of Colleton River Plantation, this cathedral-ceilinged cottage is nestled among massive oak trees overlooking the water of the Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge. Rates start at $280 per night.
Royal Belize, Belize Cayes
This luxurious private island offers three luxury villas. Located in the World Heritage Marine Reserve near central Belize, the property comes with a personal chef, an outdoor bedroom and expansive windows. Rates start at $2,950 per night.
Syke Scalpay, Isle of Skye, Scotland
This could be your view from the 4-person quaint cottage located on this island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Rates start at $156 per night.

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