Private Jet Charter vs Business Class...London to Paris Day Return

L et's fly a group of 8 passengers on a short notice day return flight from London, United Kingdom to Paris, France...

We will consider 3 options for this principal business route - (1) a private jet charter, (2) a business class service on a major scheduled alliance airline and (3) taking a flight with a "no frills" low-cost carrier. We will look at the effective cost per person for the flights and we will analyse how the travel schedule for the day pans out. While the business jet charter works out the most expensive in this case, we will see how time-effective it can be compared to the commercial airlines.

1. Private Jet Charter Day Trip

A day return is probably the most cost effective way to utilise a business jet charter. This is because we avoid any overnight costs for travellers and crew; or any "empty leg" fee - the cost to get the aircraft back to its homebase - charged for a one-way charter. In this case we will fly from London Luton to Paris Le Bourget, one of the primary business aviation airports in Europe and very close to central Paris.

London to Paris by private jet charter
Day return £6,250 all-in for a midsize jet
8 passengers - price per person £781.25
Outbound/Inbound Travel Schedule for London Luton - Paris Le Bourget
Arrive at London Luton Airport at 0805
Check-in at private jet terminal, wait in lounge
Board plane 0825, take-off 0835
Land Paris Le Bourget 1030, enter terminal 1035
12 km road trip to city - reach destination in central Paris at 1115
On business 1115-1915 (8 hours)
Leave city for airport 1915
Take off Paris Le Bourget 2025
Land London Luton 2030

private jets vs business class

2. Business Class Day Return Flight

Booking at the last minute we expect to pay a higher fare and some flights may be sold out as we have 8 business class seats to find. We will fly British Airways Club Europe from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Paris Charles De Gaulle Terminal 2B. Aircraft used on the route are Airbus A319s and A320s.

While this option in our example works out some 20% cheaper than the private jet charter, we have a much earlier start and have 2 hours 15 mins less time in central Paris. On the plus side we will earn miles/points and qualifying tier points if we belong to BA's Executive Club or other Oneworld frequent flyer program.

London to Paris by British Airways Business Class
Club Europe day return for 8 passengers costs £5,004.80
Price per person £625.60
Outbound/Inbound Schedule for London Heathrow - Paris Charles De Gaulle
Online check-in the day before
Arrive at London Heathrow T5 at 0530
Through security, then spend 1 hour in BA Galleries lounge - then move to gate
0720 flight delayed 35 minutes - take-off LHR 0755
Land Paris CDG 1005 (25 minutes late)
25km trip to city - reach Central Paris by 1115
On business 1115-1700 (5 hours 45 mins)
Leave for airport in rush hour 1700
Arrive CDG 1815
Check-in/security/wait in lounge
Depart on time at 2025
Land London Heathrow at 2035

3. Low Cost Carrier Day Return Option

Booking on no frills airline Easyjet for a London Luton - Paris CDG flight the day before travel will cost our party £2,569.12, or £321.14 each for a Flexi-fare which includes "Speedy Boarding". We also purchase access to the Servisair lounge for an additional £18.50 each. Total cost £339.64.

London to Paris by Easyjet
Day return + Servisair lounge access for 8 passengers costs £2,717.12
Price per person £339.64
Outbound/Inbound Schedule for London Luton - Paris Charles De Gaulle
Online check in - print boarding pass the day before
Arrive London Luton at 0600
Clear security, wait in Servisair lounge
Depart on time at 0750
Land at Paris CDG at 1005 (5 mins early)
25km trip in rush hour - reach Central Paris by 1115
On business 1115-1600 (4 hours 45 mins)
Leave for airport at 1600
Arrive CDG 1645
Check-in and wait in hall
Flight delayed by 40 minutes
Delayed departure at 1845
Land London Luton at 1900 (35 mins delay)

In terms of time management, the private jet charter is by far the most effective - we avoid the very early start of the scheduled flights and can set our own timetable. With the business jet we stay in central Paris for 8 hours compared with 5 hours 45 mins with BA and 4 hours 45 mins with Easyjet.

Paris Le Bourget airport is a lot closer to central Paris than Charles De Gaulle which cuts down on ground transfer time. Within Europe it is thought that the average return flight on a business jet saves about 5 hours compared to a standard airline. In this example, London-Paris is a very well serviced airline route.

Note: Another excellent option on the London-Paris route is the Eurostar train which gets you from London St Pancras to Paris Nord station in just over 2 1/2 hours. Booking a last minute Business Premier ticket for 8 passengers will cost around £3,920 (£490 per passenger) which includes lounge access at both ends and meal/drinks on board. Obviously the Eurostar should be considered for travel from central London to either Lille, Paris or Brussels.

That said, private jets really come into their own when flying to more remote airports, making multiple stops in one day and/or if needing to change the schedule at short notice.

Whilst the jet charter is most expensive here, on some routes it can work out cheaper than the business class option. It could also be a challenge to book 8 passengers on the same commercial flight at such short notice. The low-cost airline is by far the least expensive option and would actually be very cheap if the booking was made well in advance. However, this is 'no frills' travel and we are faced with an extremely long and stressful day, perhaps not conducive to doing important business.

In summary, private jet charters can be a very useful business tool when travelling on day return trips. With the introduction of Very Light Jets, air charter over short distances is becoming even more affordable.

Note, prices are for illustrative purposes only and can always vary. Paris is 1 hour ahead of London time.

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