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As Airline Frustrations Mount, Travelers Turn to Private Aviation

July 18, 2022


Cancelled. Delayed. Rerouted. All words that can send shivers down the spines of even the most tranquil travelers. Unfortunately, many frequent flyers have been hearing these words repeatedly with no end in sight.

The recent Independence Day weekend was a great example of the industry-wide stress crushing commercial aviation. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were more than 1,100 flights cancelled, 25% of which were United Airlines flights alone. Recently, United Airlines COO Jon Roitman said he expects “the U.S. aviation system will remain challenged this summer and beyond.”

Between air travel cancellations and delays, COVID-19 concerns, and sheer frustrations over convenience, many travelers are turning to private aviation. In fact, last year there were more than 3 million private flights, the highest number on record and 7% higher than the previous high.

Private aviation comes in many forms, and each meets different needs.

  • Full ownership means an individual or an entity owns the aircraft and has dedicated flight crew, maintenance staff, and aviation staff who can provide white-glove service. Full ownership also allows the ultimate flexibility to schedule flights that accommodate personal calendars.
  • Fractional ownership means an individual or an entity owns a share of an aircraft (typically 1/16 to 1/2), and flights are through a third-party flight program. Compared to full ownership, there is a smaller capital outlay but less scheduling flexibility. Although most flight programs are usually able to provide aircraft within a reasonable amount of time to accommodate schedules.
  • Jet cards means an individual or an entity purchases a block of flight hours, essentially chartering in bulk with a third-party flight program. Typically, these offer more consistency and more guaranteed availability compared to on-demand chartering. The jet cards work like fractional programs.
  • Chartering means an individual or an entity contracts with a third-party charter broker on a flight-by-flight basis. Chartering offers on-demand service where costs can be controlled; however, charter flights may be unavailable on certain travel dates without appropriate planning. The charter experience also may not provide a consistent crew, aircraft, and/or experience.

Because these private flying options, their benefits, and travel styles vary greatly, it is vital to discuss private aviation with trusted advisors to ensure benefits are maximized. They can assess specific travel habits, tax situations (including if you qualify for bonus depreciation, which is 100% in 2022), and organizational structure to help determine what type of private aviation is best.

To determine if private aviation is a viable option for you or your business, reach out to your KSM advisor or fill out this form.


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