Win a luxury hotel stay at the five-star Rixos Premium Magawish Suites and Villas in Egypt

First class vs private jet travel: Which is better?

When it comes to dilemmas, the decision between whether to fly first class or private is a nice one to have. When money is no object, the idea of investing in your own private jet may be a tempting one – flying according to your own schedule and having all the privacy you could want are both appealing prospects. But flying first class comes with a charm all of its own, offering top-notch service and the utmost in luxury – so which of the two is best?
To help you decide, we’ve delved into the pros and cons of each – and while it’s still likely to be a tough decision, it should make things a little easier.

Luxury private jet over the sea at sunset time
There is one big advantage of flying private that trumps flying in first class – you can take off when you want

Mile high luxury in first class

The exclusivity afforded to flyers travelling first class is one of its main appeals – offering something that goes beyond the perks of business class to create a league that is all its own.

Once upon a time, first class travel was a given for the rich and famous when getting from A to B, with special sections located at the front of most planes offering a range of lavish touches looking to those travellers who could afford to pay the price tag. These days, however, many first class sections have made way for improved business class offerings instead – still a great way to travel, but not quite the same for those who used to enjoy that extra touch of opulence.

Nonetheless, some of the most well-respected services have maintained their first class offerings, and those that have have gone all out to offer flyers an incredible experience. From lie-flat seats so that you can get a little shut-eye, to champagne on tap, there’s a lot to love about flying first. Gourmet dining, high quality entertainment systems and sometimes, even showers, have kept the appeal alive – and the remarkable standard of service doesn’t end when you step off the plane. Limo transfers to and from your destination, along with exclusive first class lounge access either end make this a five-star experience from start to finish – and of course, you can skip all the queues, too, with priority boarding and disembarking as standard.

If you’re looking for the best of the best, then airlines such as Etihad certainly won’t fail to impress. Offering butler service throughout your flight, the wealthiest passengers can book a private three-room cabin – known as ‘The Residence’ on board the A380. Much like you’d expect in any luxury apartment, it boasts a bedroom, bathroom and lounge, and with luxurious touches and impeccable service throughout, it’s the ultimate way to travel in style.

Young successful Afro-American businessman in glasses and a stewardess shows a bottle of wine in the cabin of a private jet. Service and flying first class.
The exclusivity afforded to flyers travelling first class is one of its main appeals

Exclusive opulence on board a private jet

Despite the luxurious experience available to flyers in first class, you are still restricted to a schedule, and though you might get to board before everyone else does, you’ll still need to wait until your allotted time for take-off.

With a private jet, though, you can fly whenever you like; you design the schedule, according to your needs. Not only that, but you can fly in the utmost of privacy, too – inviting aboard only those you would like to accompany you, and no-one else.

Charter jet costs can be pricy, so if you can, it is often better to buy. Many private jets will seat up to 16, making them the perfect size for carrying family and friends with you, so there’s no need to worry about having to travel separately. Whether you rent or buy a private jet, the details of your journeys will always be up to you.

Perhaps one of the best things of all about flying private, though, is that you can skip the queues and security checks, and avoid the noisy hustle and bustle at the airport. If your flight is a domestic one, you will often be able to drive straight up to your plane and board with ease, making it a quicker and smoother experience that promises to cut out all of the waiting around and the other things that slow you down.

Luxury interior in bright colors of genuine leather in the business jet
Flying in a private jet has the massive advantage of being quick

The final call

Is there a clear winner between first class and private flying? In a word, no. In the end, it’s a decision that comes down to personal preference, and often that relates to your needs.

For the likes of celebrities, politicians and others who have international reputations, flying by private jet is often the better choice due to the discretion and privacy it affords. If you don’t want to be seen or bothered by members of the public – and in some cases, the paparazzi – then buying a private jet could be the best investment you ever make. However, with the infinite resources being invested by some of the world’s top airlines into providing an impeccably luxurious experience for wealthy flyers, first class flying is a tough act to follow.

First class or private, the choice is yours – and whichever you opt for, you’re guaranteed one of the best flights of your life.