Hitch a ride on a private jet
by Barney Gimbel, FORTUNE magazine writer-reporter

(FORTUNE Magazine) - There's a saying in the private-jet business: If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. But that's beginning to change as more charter operators offer ways to find discounted flights. Typically, if you charter a jet, you're paying for the trip there and what it costs to fly the plane home without you on it (instead of idling at your destination, most jets "deadhead," or fly home empty).

But a company called OneSky Jet Network (www.onesky.com) is helping more travelers take advantage of those empty planes--often saving customers up to 50% between top markets. A small jet from Los Angeles to Aspen in May, for example, will cost about $8,000 each way through most brokers, but OneSky says it can offer the same plane for $5,900.

If your days are flexible, the price could drop to $3,600. (Flying first class from L.A. to Aspen is around $1,600 roundtrip, but you can't always fly nonstop.) Other companies like Blue Star Jets and Jets International will also help customers find deadhead flights, but their prices tend to be higher. For same-day flights or unusual locales, these services probably won't deliver. But for flexible fliers, it's a worthy upgrade. Top of page