How do private and commercial jets differ? Evaluating five pieces of tech


Air travel became more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to McKinsey, airlines lost around $168 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic and a stark decrease in passengers booking flights. This was a dark time in the aviation industry. Flying by private jet became more popular during the pandemic due to the decreased number of passengers and the ability to social distance during flights. However, commercial airlines gradually returned to normal operations as the federal mask mandate was lifted. More people are now willing to travel by plane for leisure trips. This is good news for an industry battered by lockdowns and travel restrictions.

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Travelers considering flying by private jet may wonder how they differ from larger, commercial jets. Private craft may offer other tech-savvy features that commercial flights do not. Here are some of the main tech differences between the two types of jets for passengers to consider before booking their next trip.

1. Air Pressure and Quality Is Better in Private Jets

The cabin pressure is typically much lower on a commercial jet than on a private one. This means there is more oxygen in the cabin during the flight. Private jets also use continuous fresh air circulation to maintain good air quality. In contrast, commercial jets will often come equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

Commercial jets simulate air pressure at an elevation of 8,000 feet for their passengers. In contrast, private jets typically have an air pressure similar to a height of 6,000 feet. This is not a critical difference, but it usually means travelers will feel less tired after flying by private jet than flying on a commercial plane.

2. Commercial Jets Have Lower Carbon Emissions

Different factors affect the number of emissions released, including size, occupancy and fuel efficiency. However, the BBC reported that private jet flights generally produce more carbon emissions than commercial flights.

A commercial jet flight will use more fuel per hour, but these planes will transport more people than a private jet, meaning emissions are lower per passenger. The number of passengers on a private aircraft is limited, so some people argue that flying privately negatively affects the environment and exacerbates the climate crisis. The commercial jet industry has made significant progress in achieving better fuel efficiency. However, it still has a long way to go in decreasing emissions.

3. All-Electric Private Jets Are Available

Commercial planes have not become advanced enough to be considered all-electric yet. However, small electric jets are now entering the aviation industry. Two companies, Pipistrel and Eviation, have introduced fully electric aircraft. Advancements in batteries, electric motors and other hardware seen in electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more prevalent in aircraft manufacturing.

Commercial flights may eventually become electric. Two leading airlines, United and EasyJet, are early adopters of electric planes. It’s expected that these companies will roll out electric aircraft for commercial flights in 2026. Countries like Denmark and Sweden are trying to make all their domestic flights free of fossil fuels by 2030.

commercial jets

4. Wi-Fi Speeds Are Faster in Private Jets

Private and commercial jets offer Wi-Fi connectivity during flights, but it can be much easier for passengers to have a seamless connection on a private jet. Consumer demand for internet connectivity is increasing, especially among business travelers who need to use their time wisely to conduct meetings, make video calls or work on critical projects.

Wi-Fi on commercial flights is typically slow and expensive, making it challenging to use mobile devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones. Private jets offer a Wi-Fi connection similar to an office or home setup. Additionally, a private plane will often have fewer passengers on board sharing the same network. This allows for faster uploading and downloading speeds.

5. Passengers Can Use Cryptocurrency to Book a Private Jet

Some people believe that combining cryptocurrency payment methods with private aviation is a match made in heaven. Many individuals invest in crypto, whether Bitcoin, Ethereum or Tether. Passengers can book private jet flights using cryptocurrency, which will likely become more popular in the future.

Crypto payments are fast, cheap and secure because of blockchain technology. Blockchain will likely become prevalent in the aviation industry, including in the commercial sector. According to PwC, blockchain is poised to help with aircraft maintenance, improve efficiency and monitor plane conditions by diagnosing potential issues.

Expect New Aviation Technologies to Take Flight

Private jets and commercial flights are mainly used to transport passengers to their destinations, but they leverage different technologies for those flights. Flying by private jet is becoming more popular but is usually more expensive than flying on a commercial plane.

Private and commercial jets offer plenty of benefits to the average traveler. Some people may prefer to fly privately, while others don’t mind the commercial flight experience. Much of the decision will come down to individual preference and budget. Private jets typically have better amenities onboard, such as fast Wi-Fi and catered meals. Commercial jets have vastly improved by incorporating better in-flight entertainment and more comfortable seating. It will be interesting to see what other new aviation tech emerges and how air travel changes as a result.

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