Technology has changed the way companies use business jets charters.

Corporate jets were once sought after by travelers wanting to avoid busy airports and time-draining check-in procedures; they’ve become much more than that. Today, business aircraft and WiFi go hand-in-hand. Travelers crave internet connectivity to maximize their productivity levels in the sky.

In many ways, WiFi for private aircraft has transformed the way business travelers get from Point A to Point B. They don’t just want to fly in a private jet — they want to create a flying business headquarters.

Business travelers can now perform many of tasks that they could only previously tend to on the ground, such as:

  • Sending emails
  • Making phone calls
  • Holding video conferences
  • Reviewing reports and documents
  • Performing market research
  • Planning strategically for the meeting at the destination

But how exactly does business aviation WiFi work, and what does it cost? Let’s take a closer look.

Can You Get WiFi on a Private Jet?

There are two types of WiFi network options available to travelers using business jet charters, each with their strengths and limitations. Those are:

  1. Air-to-ground WiFi: Similar to the towers used by cell phones, an air-to-ground system relies on land-based towers that send wireless signals upward to aircraft flying overhead.
  2. Satellite WiFi: With this type of system, a business jet is able to offer Internet service by connecting to a satellite in geostationary orbit (about 22,300 miles above the earth’s surface). The WiFi signal is then distributed to passengers using an onboard router.

How Fast is WiFi on a Private Jet?

An air-to-ground service is typically cheaper than its satellite counterpart, however, it’s also a little slower.

Internet speeds can vary based on the service provider, but air-to-ground systems typically offer about 10Mbps (Megabytes per second). Inflight satellite Wi-Fi ranges anywhere from 12 to 20 Mbps. For comparison’s sake, according to technology research firm Statista, the average household Internet speed in the US is about 20Mbps.

Where Can You Use Inflight WiFi?

While air-to-ground WiFi works well for domestic charter flights, the ground-based towers are unable to deliver a signal over open water (signal strength is typically effective up to about 50 miles offshore). Therefore, business travelers who want to stay connected on international charter flights will need a satellite service.

Additionally, until last year, the only option for inflight WiFi in Europe was through a satellite connection, as the first air-to-ground networks were only introduced in 2017.

When it comes to private jet travel in the US, Federal Aviation Administration regulations only permit charter operators to offer WiFi connectivity at altitudes above 10,000 feet.

How Much Does Private Jet WiFi Cost?

Some charter operators pass the expense of private jet WiFi service along to customers as a separate charge and others embed it in the hourly rate. If you’re paying extra for the service, you could expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 an hour for satellite service, depending on your data usage. To ensure you receive the service you expect, and to avoid any unforeseen costs, talk to your Stratos charter agent about the available WiFi options.

Do Certain Aircraft Offer Free Corporate Jet WiFi?

Exterior Citation X

The Citation X is a popular Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft capable of performing fast coast-to-coast corporate missions.

Most modern charter aircraft—such as the Citation X and Challenger 300—come equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity as an option, but whether or not it’s free depends on the operator.

It’s worth inquiring with your charter agent about the cost of private jet WiFi when booking.

To book business jet charters with the latest in-cabin technology and comfort, talk to a Stratos Jets air charter associate (877) 979-2607, or start a quote online.