There’s no single simple answer to this question. In some regards yes, even passengers in economy and coach seating on a commercial flight will enjoy some of the same benefits that were at one time exclusive to private and business jet passengers. In other respects, no, there are some physical and spatial realities that simply make it impossible for the average major airlines flyer to enjoy the same type of passenger experience.
Where There’s Overlap
Air travel is an industry of gradients. If you mapped on a line graph which passenger experiences were closer to one another you’d likely put the first-class passenger closer to the private jet flyer than the economy passenger.
Some airlines are offering private cabins on commercial flights. These cabins feature a lot of amenities that in some respects exceed the average charter and private passenger experience.
What’s less common on commercial carriers, at least domestic carriers, are the open lounge areas where passengers can informally congregate for drinks or to watch movies. The layout and accoutrements of those types of spaces on a private plane or business jet aren’t at all uniform. In the smaller jets the atmosphere and space constraints may not be entirely dissimilar to what one would find in a traditional major carrier jet.
There are likely first-class airline passenger experiences that are more luxurious and comfortable than some private or charter experiences.
Smaller business jets, such as Learjet, interiors can be nice. They can be equipped with comfortable seats and have beautifully appointed tables with oak veneers. Some cabin design features can make the limited space in narrow cabins feel roomier, but they can’t physically alter the square footage or cubic volume of the space.
Except for larger jets like the Gulfstream G650 or Bombardier Global 6500, the private jet passenger environment will likely not feel as spacious as a Singapore Airlines A380 Suite. The seat map of Singapore Airline’s A380-800s aren’t all that different from any other Airbus passenger carrier, but the upper deck sections are heavily modified to create truly luxurious suites and business-class seating and sleeping areas.
When comparing the suite to a cramped private or charter flight, many passengers would likely consider the suite to be the superior in-flight experience,
Space is maybe the main way in which commercial carriers can – in rare circumstances – outclass private jet, charter and business jet passenger experiences. Except in those relatively rare scenarios, luxuriously outfitted private and business jets will still lead commercial alternatives in passenger experience.
The Ease of Boarding and Disembarking
There are logistical benefits for private, business and charter jet flyers. They simply don’t have to deal with the same hassles commercial passengers face on every flight. Whether you have the nicest suite in modern air travel or are flying coach, you’ll still need to deal with the same concourse and terminal experience as every other flyer. Those traveling by private jet generally aren’t forced to endure that time-intensive process.
Food and Entertainment
Certain airlines offer some remarkable cuisine for first and even business class flyers, but they’ll always struggle to replicate what private jet owners have available. The quality of food is also dependent on the private jet owner/operator. Not every private aircraft will have a robust kitchen and world-class chef, but it’s an option that won’t ever be available to airline passengers.
Economy, economy plus, business and first-class passengers may in some circumstances have access to more reliable connectivity and a larger library of media than passengers on private or business jets, but this is highly dependent on the IFEC technology on a particular aircraft.
Private jets equipped with large displays, such as a 55” OLED, would enjoy display sizes that even first-class flyers in a major airline private suite won’t possess.
There’s not a clear winner in terms of IFEC, but commercial flyers will likely never be able to replicate the size and scope of custom in-flight entertainment equipment a private jet owner can access.
Comfort and Personal Space
Based on current circumstances and technologies it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a day when economy flyers will enjoy the same type of comfort and personal space available to private jet and business travelers.
While advancements can be made in things like temperature control and the arrangement of seats, the incentive structure for major carriers is unlikely to change.
Their goal is to maximize passengers per flight. You can pay for space and comfort on a commercial flight, but the average budget flyer won’t be enjoying personal space on the same scale as private jet flyers anytime soon. No matter the available space, private aircraft offer a level of privacy that is only rivaled by personalized suites or pods in a commercial environment.
Maximize Your Cabin’s Passenger Experience
The cabin design and engineering experts at Rosen Aviation strive to innovate in all types of air travel environments, whether they’re working on technologies for major carriers or private jet cabins. We are always on the lookout for the next bit challenge and opportunity to improve the passenger experience.
Learn more about our capabilities by contacting us at 888-668-4955.