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Do Private Jets Fly Faster Than Commercial?

Traveling by private jet like a superstar is a dream for many of us. There is no doubt that private jets offer unmatched luxury and comfort. Flying private saves time as you’ll not have to queue anywhere. But do private jets also fly faster than commercial planes?

TLDR – Private jets typically travel faster compared to commercial jets because they fly at higher altitudes. The average private jet is also smaller compared to most commercial jets, which allows for faster speeds.

How Fast Do Private Jets Fly?

Private jets can typically travel at speeds between 400 mph and a little over 700 mph, with an average cruising speed of about 600 mph. The fastest private jet is the Cessna Citation X, which has a top speed of 711 mph. The Gulfstream G-650 can travel up to 704 mph and the Dassault Falcon 7X can reach speeds of 685 mph. 

A Boeing 747 has a cruising speed of about 500 mph, which is significantly slower compared to the average private jet. However, the average speed for a commercial aircraft can range between 460 mph and 575 mph.

Many factors impact the top speed of an aircraft, including the mass of the airplane, altitude, and temperature. An airplane with more mass creates more drag, which limits its speed. A larger airplane requires more thrust to accelerate faster. 

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As the airplane climbs in altitude, the maximum possible speed increases. However, there is an optimal altitude for achieving the best speed, which is why jets travel within a specific altitude range.

The temperature also decreases as the airplane travels higher. Lower temperatures increase maximum thrust, which allows the plane to travel faster.

Private jets are smaller compared to the average commercial airliner. The Cessna Citation X is one of the most popular private jets. It typically provides seating for eight passengers and has a maximum capacity of 11 passengers.

The Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 are the most popular commercial airliners in the world. Both airplanes typically seat up to 160 passengers and have maximum capacities up to about 180 passengers.

Private jets are much smaller compared to commercial jets and fly at higher altitudes, allowing them to travel faster.  

How High Do Private Jets Fly?

Private jets typically fly at altitudes of 41,000 feet. Commercial aircraft fly at lower altitudes, cruising between 31,000 and 38,000 feet. 

Commercial aircraft are much heavier compared to the average private jet. At higher altitudes, the air becomes thinner, which provides less resistance for keeping the plane in the sky. Flying too high also creates a safety risk, as it would take longer to reach a safe altitude during an emergency. 

Private jets are lighter and can safely achieve higher altitudes. Climbing to a higher altitude also keeps private jets out of the same airspace as commercial routes, which makes it easier for civil aviation authorities to monitor and control air traffic.

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Single-engine private airplanes and helicopters fly at much lower altitudes compared to private and commercial jets. Single-engine planes and helicopters lack the power and life support systems for flying tens of thousands of feet in the sky.

The thinner atmosphere holds less oxygen, making it difficult to breathe. At altitudes below 12,500 feet, the aircraft does not require supplemental oxygen. At 12,500 to 14,000 feet, the plane needs to provide passengers and crew with supplemental oxygen for flights lasting longer than 30 minutes.

Commercial and private jets are equipped with pressurization systems to deal with the thinner atmosphere. The cabin is typically pressurized when the jet reaches an altitude of 8,000 feet.

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Do Private Jets Fly Overseas?

Private jets can fly overseas. However, flying internationally involves more planning compared to domestic travel. Passengers need to be cleared by the destination country’s immigration agency before departing the origin country. The company handling the private flight also needs to gain clearance for the flight from the destination airport.

Some private jet charter companies require passengers to provide at least two days prior notice for international flights. However, some companies only require a few hours to arrange international flights. 

What Is the Fastest Commercial Plane?

The world’s fastest commercial aircraft operational today is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It can reach speeds of 776 mph. However, it normally cruises at about 560 mph.

The second-fastest commercial plane is the Boeing 777, with a top speed of 745 mph. The Boeing 747-400 and the Airbus A380 fall close behind.

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Which Private Jet Can Fly the Farthest?

The Bombardier Global 8000 is a long-range private jet that can travel up to 9,091 miles (7,900 nautical miles) with a cruising speed of about 850 mph. 

Before the release of the Bombardier Global 8000, the Gulfstream G650ER could travel the farthest. It has an estimated maximum range of about 8,630 miles. 

The Dassault Falcon 8X and the Gulfstream G550 can travel over 8,000 miles while the Bombardier Global 6000 can travel just under 7,000 miles. However, the average private jet has a range of just 2,500 miles, as they often have less fuel capacity. 

Do Private Jets Need Two Pilots?

If a private jet weighs more than 12,500 pounds, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires the aircraft to have two pilots on board. The FAA requirement for two pilots applies to both commercial and private jets.

The FAA does provide an exception to the two-pilot rule. If a private jet is owned and operated by an individual instead of a charter company, and the plane weighs less than 12,500 pounds, the owner may certify the plane to be flown by one pilot.

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Are Private Jets Safe?

Private jet operators need to follow strict regulations for air travel. Modern technology has also helped increase the safety of private jets. Overall, private jets provide a safe way to travel. 

Airplane accidents are rare occurrences. Most accidents occur on the runway and do not result in fatalities. The overwhelming majority of fatalities involve small, single-engine planes and not large private and commercial jets.

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