So you have decided you want to give flying private a shot – a far-fetched dream of most, the extravagance of private aviation’s speed, privacy, safety & comfort.
Now that you have made up your mind, who are you going to contact to get going? Which aircraft best suits your travel requirements and entrusts your safety & security. Have you discussed your options for in-flight dining/catering menus and concierge services? Are there any hidden costs involved?
If it is your first time, it can get pretty overwhelming and you might get in a muddle trying to figure out the rules of this game. Keeping first-timers like you in mind, this easy-to-read article is to help you ask the right questions and thus make the right decisions. We believe this 10-minute read will give you a fairly good run down of what to look out for when booking your first private jet flight as well as the common terminology used.
- How Much Should It Cost To Charter A Private Jet?
Well it depends on a few factors:
• - Where you want to go, since the distance between these two locations helps define the size of aircraft you will need. The longer the distance the larger the size of aircraft you will need, unless you are happy to stop for refueling.
• Number of people and the baggage. Again a directly proportional relationship to the size of aircraft and the cost.
• Re-fueling stops, if applicable.
• Other items that can affect the price are the departure time and date since prices increase during periods of peak demand. As in commercial travel, traveling in busy summer months is more expensive than traveling in non-peak times.
• Want only one-way? You still have to pay for the repositioning of the aircraft as it going to travel empty, which is a common term in aviation called the ‘empty-leg’.
• Where you are starting your journey and the destination. Government fees, navigation charges, airport fees and handling costs are incurred. These can drive up the total cost of the flight.
• Although your Charter quote is not really a minefield, there can be some costs that you can incur on top of what’s on the contract. For example, in case of snow, an additional de-icing cost needs to be borne by the customer. The average de-icing cost for a small jet can range from USD $1,000 per application, however for a larger aircraft it can cost over $10,000.
• Do you have a flexible schedule? And are you after a good deal? Flying an empty-leg will be beneficial in cost-terms, as operators will offer them at a discounted rate.
- Should you choose a Charter Broker or book directly with an Operator?
Brokers usually have access to a much larger fleet of aircraft types and varieties, which usually means more aircraft options matching your needs and better rates. If you contact an operator directly, you may be offered a handful aircraft options to choose from.
Charter broker also checks everything for you including the obvious but possible to miss items, whether the operator is entitled to and insured to conduct commercial operations, checking Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) and insurance certificates validity + other legalities as well as understanding your needs & wants, so that they can make your trip special, worry-free, personalized and memorable.
- So many Charter Brokers out there! How to choose the right one for you?
When choosing a charter broker, we recommend you choose one which has been around for a while. It is a good idea to look them up on the internet to find out if they are a member of any associations, employ professionals from the industry, have a B2B presence in the marketplaces for different types of aircraft chartering and are physically present around the world. Easy access and availability of this information indicates that the particular charter broker is serious in his business and his integrity to clients.
It has been the experience over the years that the perception – a bigger charter brokerage company is always better, is not really true. Size is usually not the best determinant of service quality in this industry. Brokerage with hundreds of people may come with less personal touch (though they might be very professional) vs. a smaller charter broker with dozens of employees but 24/7 service and a key account manager to answer all your questions and arrange everything for your from A to Z.
After you have completed your flight and are completely satisfied with their service, it may be convenient and effective to stick to them for subsequent air charter needs as they already understand you and how to meet your expectations.
- How far in advance should you book?
Booking charter is different than booking commercial. Booking in advance doesn’t mean you’ll get a better price. The benefit of booking early is you will get a wider range of aircraft to choose from as well as better airport options. We’ve got clients on their flight within a few of hours, so it can’t get better than air charter in case of last minute plans or emergencies.
Don’t forget the basics of air traveling. If traveling international make sure your passport has not expired, or will not expire during the trip (some countries require 6-month validity). If traveling local, carry your photo ID.
- When and how to pay? What are the top-line terms?
Private jet charter flights need to be fully paid after the contract has been signed. Any additional costs incurred during the flight are subsequently settled. Cancellation policies are somewhat rigid. This is because putting a private jet in the air costs a lot of money once the contract is executed. Many costs including the fuel, possible crew/aircraft repositioning, catering and airport fees are taken care of soon after, and cancelations are expensive. You can be charged a minimum of 25% effective right after contract execution to 100% if you are near the departure date.
Depending on the broker you are using and the payment methods they accept, payments can be made by bank transfer (most commonly used), credit card, debit card, Apple Pay or even bitcoin!
- What should you receive once the contract is executed and payment made?
Your broker will send you an itinerary with details of Fixed-Base-Operator (FBO), aircraft operator, where to park your car and where to go upon arrival at the airport.
- When should you reach the airport and once there, what will happen next?
Usually it takes about 15 minutes before scheduled departure time. Your luggage will be received and your handling crew will help you through the security clearance and check-in process. You will then be escorted to the aircraft where you will be introduced to your flight crew.
- Flying Private Charter – Facts, Details & Important Terms
There are thousands more airports accessible to private jet charters as compared to those flying commercial airlines (the latter are also congested). Thus, it is possible to fly to and from an airport much closer than you would use in case of a commercial airline and also gives you the possibility to access remote areas.
Fixed-Base Operator (FBO): This is a commercial enterprise that operates at the airport and provides services such as ground handling, fueling, hangaring, tie-down and parking, aircraft maintenance, flight instructions, etc. FBOs offer business facilities, light refreshments and bathroom facilities. The larger and specialized ones also offer full compliment of services for charter guests such as luxurious concierge, conference rooms, and services for passengers traveling with babies, kids or pets.
They say the first is always the most memorable. Best of luck with having a first-time experience that will last with you a lifetime and change the way you travel.
Our goal is to provide the best tailor-made solutions for Private Jets, you can expect the best service, solution and pricing in the market.
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