Whether you’re a time-strapped billionaire or a high-profile celebrity looking to travel between engagements in style, buying a private jet is, in many ways, the ultimate in personal transportation. Jets are eye-wateringly expensive, with some celebrities forking out nine-figure sums to purchase their aircraft, to begin with, and then there are the additional running expenses to consider, like crew salaries, fuel, and storage costs. It’s safe to say, then, that owning a private jet is a privilege afforded to only the very wealthiest members of society.
While owning any jet is going to be a significant step up from traveling on commercial flights, there are a few manufacturers that stand out as being at the top of the game when it comes to abilities, comfort, and perhaps most importantly for VIP customers, customization. After all, part of the appeal of owning your own aircraft is to be able to deck it out exactly how you want it, and so the leading manufacturers make sure to offer a litany of configurations and personalization options for anyone with deep enough pockets. These eight brands are all favorites among the most privileged men and women in the world, and for good reason.
Airbus is one of the world’s largest commercial passenger plane manufacturers, and if you’re a frequent flier, you’ll most likely be well acquainted with its passenger jets. However, alongside its main operations, the company also has a private jet division, Airbus Corporate Jets, which caters primarily to businesspeople and corporations looking for an alternative to traveling commercially. ACJ currently offers four models, ranging from the ACJ TwoTwenty (based on the Airbus A220 line) to the widebody ACJ350 (based on the Airbus A350).
The smaller TwoTwenty offers 786 square feet of floor space, while on the other end of the spectrum, the ACJ350 offers an astonishing 3,315 square feet in its most capacious layout. No matter which model buyers choose, one of the biggest selling points of the line is each jet’s range — ACJ focuses on travelers who need to travel long haul on a regular basis, and so the ACJ350 offers up to 22 hours of nonstop flying. For context, that’s longer than the record-breaking London to Sydney Qantas flight that’s scheduled to launch in 2025. Even ACJ’s smaller planes get class-leading range, with the TwoTwenty able to fly for up to 12 hours nonstop, or 5,650 nautical miles.
Like every major private jet manufacturer, Gulfstream focuses primarily on ultra-high-net-worth businesspeople and corporations for the core of its business, but it’s also picked up a reputation over the years as one of the go-to manufacturers for wealthy celebrities. Kim Kardashian and Oprah Winfrey both own variants of the brand’s G650 aircraft, with Kardashian owning an extended-range G650ER. However, Gulfstream’s flagship model, the G800, needs no celebrity endorsement to prove its status as the top of its segment. That’s because it boasts the longest range of any private jet of its size, with up to 8,000 nautical miles of range on offer.
Of course, having an impressive range is no use if the cabin isn’t comfortable for long flights, so Gulfstream offers a range of interior personalization options with luxury upholstery and up to four separate areas for sleeping, eating, or relaxing. Passengers can take in the landscape from above with panoramic windows, which are the largest of any private jet, and the cabin altitude remains lower than the competition while in the air, which helps VIPs feel fresher after a long-haul flight. With such an impressive spec sheet, it’s no surprise that Gulfstream jets sit at the top end of the private jet price spectrum, with the likes of Kim Kardashian reportedly spending around $150 million to get her own private sanctuary in the sky.
While Boeing’s range of business jets are out of reach for even the average private jet buyer, if you have an exceptionally large bank balance and the need for an aircraft bigger than some intercontinental passenger jets, the brand has you covered. The smallest craft in the range is the BBJ 737-7, while on the other end of the size spectrum, the 777-9 offers a massive 3,689 square feet of cabin space. Naturally, an aircraft of this size will only be of interest to multi-billionaires, who can essentially design a unique home in the sky complete with its own bedrooms, bathrooms, office space, kitchen, and living areas.
One of the most famous Boeing private jet owners is Drake, whose $185 million 767 is nicknamed “Air Drake.” One of the difficulties of owning such a large aircraft is that storing it is difficult, and can require transferring the jet from one airport to another overnight. The rapper was criticized for these so-called “logistics” flights when details of several 14-minute long flights emerged in 2022, with each trip to and from the 767’s overnight storage location emitting the same amount of carbon dioxide as the average person’s yearly carbon footprint.
While Bombardier might not make any aircraft quite as lavish as Boeing, its super mid-size Challenger 350 has proved to be a hit among private jet buyers. It’s the best-selling business jet of its kind, with large corporations and charter companies favoring it thanks to its low running costs and roomy, comfortable cabin. The Challenger 350 is Bombardier’s smallest business jet, with the Challenger 3500 and Challenger 650 providing extra range or passenger capacity for fliers looking to commute across the country and beyond with ease.
However, for intercontinental travel, the manufacturer’s Global line is the best bet. Starting with the Global 5500 and topping out with the Global 8000, these jets offer significantly longer ranges and larger passenger capacities to take a VIP and their entourage wherever in the world they need to be. The Global 8000 boasts a range of 8,000 nautical miles, enough to comfortably fly from Los Angeles to New Delhi with range to spare. It’ll get there faster than many commercial jets too, with a top speed of 0.94 Mach, or more than 620 mph.
Honda might be most famous for its best-selling range of automobiles in America, but the Japanese manufacturing giant also makes business jets through its HondaJet division. HondaJets are smaller in size, and so best suited for travelers who need an affordable (at least in jet terms) way to travel between cities regularly. The largest aircraft the brand currently offers is the HondaJet 2600, which is still in development, although early expressions of interest are being taken. The HondaJet Elite II represents the mid-range for the lineup, while the standard HondaJet is the entry-level option.
The base aircraft offers a range of up to 1,223 nautical miles, which is enough to comfortably fly from Los Angeles to Dallas. While it might not offer as much flexibility as a larger jet, the HondaJet boasts significantly lower purchase and running costs, making it a great option for buyers who need to fly regularly, but only for shorter distances.
Embraer’s portfolio of business jets covers a range of sizes and uses, but they’re united by one factor — each is a great choice for well-heeled business travelers looking for a step above commercial flying. The smallest of the bunch is the Phenom 100EV, with room for just four passengers in its least capacious layout. In this form, the seats are arranged to face each other, meaning they can be used for on-the-go business meetings or to grab a bite to eat via the extending wood center table.
At the other end of Embraer’s lineup, the Praetor 600 super mid-size jet offers intercontinental capabilities with room for up to 12 passengers, and enough range to fly from New York to London. As with all of the best private aircraft, the company’s range of jets each features a highly customizable cabin, with the buyer’s preferences dictating the exact layout of the seating, as well as any extra tech or luxury features they want to add.
While a private jet can never be called climate friendly, Dassault’s Falcon business jets are among the least polluting a buyer can get for now. The company aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, and its aircraft can use up to 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), cutting emissions compared to traditional fuel. It’s a relatively small step and isn’t going to offset the increase in emissions compared to commercial travel, but it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless. Eco credentials aside, the Falcon range packs all the essential elements any discerning private flier will look for, including a long range, a spacious, comfortable cabin, and enough capacity to bring along colleagues, family, or even a security entourage if needed.
The Falcon 2000LXS is the smallest in the range, with room for between eight and 10 passengers depending on the layout. It boasts one of the widest bodies in its class, making it a great option for longer flights where sitting in a cramped cabin will take a bigger toll. On the other end of the spectrum, the Falcon 10X will provide up to 19 passengers with high-speed intercontinental travel, with a range of up to 7,500 nautical miles.
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One of the most popular private jet lines is the Cessna Citation, made by leading U.S.-based corporation Textron. With a capacity for between seven and 12 passengers depending on the model, the Citation is best for travelers looking for cross-country commutes or quick weekend getaways. The largest model in the range is the Citation Longitude, a super mid-size jet that Cessna claims has the lowest operating costs of any aircraft in its class. With 3,500 nautical miles of range, it can’t match the best in class in terms of continent-crossing capability, but for everyday executive flights or regular inter-city travel, that won’t be an issue.
The smallest jet Cessna offers is the Citation M2 Gen2, with just 1,550 nautical miles of range. It can fit up to seven passengers and recently received a cabin overhaul to keep it competitive with the demands of business and private travelers. It’s a small but luxurious aircraft, and buyers looking for a convenient, lower-cost option should find it to be all the jet they need.