The private jet industry has long struggled against the stereotype of the typical user as a well-off guy in a big corporate jet.
But as the National Business Aviation Association points out, about 75 percent of the 11,000 business jets in the United States are operated by small to midsize companies and entrepreneurs. And increasingly, especially within that niche, the boss in the company jet is likely to be a woman.
XOJet, the big private jet company, says that about 15 percent of its customers who contract for 100 hours or more a year in flight time are female. And while few keep precise statistics, all of the private jet companies I spoke with, including charter operators, said that women are a growing part of their market.
"I need to more carefully pick and choose how I spend my time, and the airplane to me is an enabler," said Mary K. Swanson, a businesswoman in the Phoenix area who founded a wellness company, HealthCare Dimensions, in 1992 and sold it in 2006. She then founded the Swanson Family Foundation, a philanthropy that works among the poor in the United States and abroad.