Traveling on a private jet can be incredibly practical, but booking it yourself and knowing how to prepare may seem daunting.
Once you familiarize yourself with some basic understanding of the process, you can enjoy all the conveniences and benefits of chartering your own jet.
Private flights offer simplicity once you know the ropes. If flying on a private jet charter is your latest desire, here’s how to navigate the ins and outs of the process.
Choosing the Right Plane
Traveling on a private jet allows you to appreciate the wonders of modern flight in ways that you can’t on larger commercial jets. Often these smaller jets are elegantly designed from the exterior to the interiors. Choosing which jet you want for your private charter is one of the most exciting moments in your private air charter journey.
As you begin your research, consider how many people will be flying, if pets are coming along, what kind of luggage space you require, what budget you have, and of course, where you want to go. There are numerous types of planes, and when this basic information is clear, you can move forward with choosing what jet you want to fly.
How to Book a Flight
There are charter operators and brokers, and many companies are both. If you are working with an operator who also acts as your broker representative, you have the best of both service and operational experience. Having one broker representing you allows for a shopping experience on your behalf rather than having multiple brokers shopping for the same request.
It’s best to work solely with one company and not seek out multiple requests. Often when the same request comes in from several representatives the result is not taking the inquiry seriously. Look for a national aircraft charter management operator that has a long history of trust and safety and who can direct you to the proper type of plane for your needs.
As you can imagine, costs are dynamic with the size and scope of your travel needs. Options range from $2000 to $15,000 per hour. With the flexibility of private jet charter, your operator will help walk you through the decision-making process and find the best value and service for your budget. Basic cost factors include geographic location, time of year, duration, one-way or roundtrip flights, the distance of the trip, and the type of aircraft.
There are some other potential costs to consider as you formalize your booking.
- Landing fees
- International fees
- Catering and beverage charges
- Relocation or empty leg charges
- Minimum daily usage charges
- Surcharges in busy seasons or holidays
- Hidden brokerage fees, commission fees, or taxes
- Cancellation fees
- Overnight hangarage charges
If you are amenable to adjusting your dates and destinations, you can save quite a bit of money. Empty flight legs occur when a pilot must return the plane to its original destination after dropping off passengers from a one-way flight. Hopping on this return flight can help you save significantly. If you have the best operator representing you, they have access to seeing these opportunities in real-time each day.
Booking early may also allow more cost savings, as does carefully choosing your amenities. There are also membership or loyalty programs to investigate once you know that private air charter is something you’ll do regularly.
It’s important to have peace of mind whenever you travel, and private air charter is no different. You’ll want to make sure that the aircraft management company offers proper safety and compliance.
Check to make sure the aircraft management company has an FAA 135 operating certificate. You can ask to see it to make sure the company’s name aligns with the certification.
The FAA has specific rules around the minimum number of hours of experience for pilots, fuel reserves, runway length, a no-fly check for passengers list, and maintenance interval standards. The certificate is called the FAA Federal Aviation Requirements Part 135.
There are other detailed measures to take if you want further peace of mind. Having a FAA 135 Air Carrier Certificate is the bare minimum for operations and is only one of hundreds of requirements to maintain FAA authorization. Having a current third party audit certification, such as the Air Charter Safety Foundation, will give you additional confidence you are choosing a reputable operator who takes safety seriously. Beware of unregulated charter scammers who can’t provide you current documentation on the operation, the airplane and the crew flying your trip.
Make sure to bring your identification. Although there are no TSA security checkpoints on private jet charters, passengers are still required to present their driver’s license or passport.
When booking, inform the charter if you will be traveling with a pet. Most private air charter flights allow for pets, but make sure ahead of time that they do and what requirements they might have. Your pet will travel with you in the cabin and there shouldn’t be any size or breed restrictions.
Private jets have very detailed regulations regarding luggage limits. Once your flight is booked, it’s time to plan for your travel. Make sure you comply with the luggage requirements by knowing the weight and size limitations.
Passengers are allowed to bring their own beverages on the plane, but if it’s alcohol, it will need to be served by a crew member per regulations. Some private air charters won’t allow red wine, so be sure to inquire if that’s your preference.
One of the luxuries of private jet travel is getting to drive right up to your plane for ultimate convenience. Inquire beforehand where to park, what tips they have for the process and where your vehicle will be stored while you’re away.
A New Experience
As you piece together your flight experience, it’s best to communicate with the private jet charter company about your questions. A reputable one will love to work with first-timers and educate you on all aspects of private jet travel.
Remember that one of the joys of private air charter is simplicity. You avoid TSA scans, security lines, seat assignments, and gate changes. Thousands of airports become available to you that may be much closer to your home or your final destination.
With research and preparation, your private jet charter experience will greatly improve your travel.