When Comparing Charter Jet Aircraft, Is Bigger Always Better?

In the competitive world we live in, the general consensus in most comparisons is that bigger always equals better. We all want bigger homes, bigger cars or bigger boats.

But in matters of aviation, does size really matter? Is bigger always better? Well, first you need to understand the difference between the size options in corporate jets. There are three different classes of jet, starting with the smallest or Light Jets, moving up to Mid-Sized Jets, and continuing on to the largest, or Heavy Jets.

Heavy jets are the biggest class of business jets, but are they better than mid-size or light jets? That certainly depends on your definition of “better.” At Stratos Jet Charters, we define “best” dependent on what you are trying to do. Based on this definition, there are number of variables to consider, including your budget, the number of passengers you are traveling with and your itinerary.

Light jets are configured to seat six to eight passengers, have shorter ranges, smaller cabin sizes – which may make moving around inside the cabin more difficult during long flights, and baggage space can also be limited. Another consideration is that the lavatory configuration may consist of a potty seat with a curtain providing the only source of privacy. Although mid-sized jets are also typically configured to seat the same six to eight passengers, as expected their capabilities such as range, cruising speed, cabin room and cargo space all increase within this class of jets.

Continue upward to heavy jets, and you now have aircraft with greatly increased range and configured to seat up to 16 passengers, offering a full “stand up” cabin with plenty of space to move around during the flight, large capacities for baggage and a fully enclosed lavatory. Flight attendants, not present on light and mid-sized business jets, are another nice addition. Jet charter rates per hour and the speeds at which they travel also increase as the aircraft size increases.

If you have two passengers trying to hop over from Boston to Washington D.C. for a quick meeting, and then they will jump right back on and head home to Boston, the best jet for the trip would be a light jet. They are fast, efficient and inexpensive. With just two passengers on a one-hour flight, the comfort level is fine.

If you have four passengers flying from Atlanta to Phoenix for a couple days of golf, a mid-size jet will be the best option. On a three hour flight, 4 passengers with four sets of clubs would probably be a bit cramped on a light jet. You would certainly fit but the added comfort might be worth the added expense, especially if the trip is for a special occasion like an anniversary, a birthday or for entertaining important clients or good friends.

Flying from Miami to London? Your best option is probably a heavy jet. You’ll want to have enough room to stand up and stretch your legs, or lie down to get some sleep on the 7 hour flight. The cabin attendant will tend to all of your needs by providing you with meal and beverage service, and with the extended range, you won’t need to make a fuel stop in either direction.

So when chartering a business jet, bigger isn’t always better. The best jet is always the one best suited to your individual needs – one that has enough space for you and your luggage, enough range to get you where you want to go non-stop, if possible, and that has all the amenities you will need and expect for your trip.

There are also other specific flight requirements that we use to assist our clients in choosing the right aircraft for their trip, including things like high altitude capabilities, aircraft that are better suited for bad weather conditions or that can takeoff and/or land on short airfields, or that have specific cruising speeds or cargo capacity.

We will shine the spotlight on each of these individual capabilities, and the market leading jets in each category, in future posts. But the bottom line will always remain the same at Stratos Jet Charters, we always focus on providing our clients with The Right Jet for the Right Trip.


Joel Thomas – President, Stratos Jet Charters

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