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Evacuation Air Charters - Private Flights During States of Emergency

Updated: May 8, 2020

Question. What do you do when your Caribbean vacation is ever so rudely interrupted by an incoming category 4 hurricane? That’s right, after a few choice words you start to plan your escape. While most locations can offer commercial options, that’s not always the case. In 2017, we saw hurricane after hurricane devastate the Caribbean and put most of Houston underwater, forcing thousands to evacuate to safety. Today we are going to explore the importance of having a proper air charter evacuation plan in place and why it matters. T-minus 5 hours until the storm makes landfall and the commercial air carriers are fully booked, no more flights out. So what’s it going to be, hunker down? Or, maybe you call your private air charter broker and evacuate the Island on a private jet. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to have a plan. We understand hunkering down isn’t for everyone, so for that reason we’ll continue the article and take a look at your private jet options.

Calm Before the Storm – Knowing Your Private Aircraft Options

So your decision has been made, you’re getting off the Island in a private jet. Who do you call first? Where is the private aircraft coming from? Will it make it to you in time? Is the operator certified with a clean safety record? Will the private aircraft fit everyone and your luggage? Will they allow the family dog to jump onboard? So many questions, so little time. Good thing you called your private air charter broker, right? Pending on your passenger count and payload, you can expect to see the following aircraft on the ramp as you pull up for your private evacuation flight:

Light Jet If we were talking cars, this would be like a Volkswagen Beetle. Seats 6-8 passengers and offers a short range of 1,200 nm – 2,000 nm (St. Thomas, USVI – New York City). Light jets are ideal for passengers with very light to no luggage. Mid-sized Jet Sticking to the car theme because we like to think it works, this would be similar to a Chrysler 300 or full-sized BMW. This offers seating for 8-10 passengers with a range of 2,800 nm – 3,200 nm (St. Thomas, USVI – Las Vegas). Mid-sized jets are ideal for passengers with light luggage. Heavy Jet The SUV of the sky… Think Chevy Tahoe. With capacity for 10-14 passengers, a heavy jet offers more “trunk” space for all that luggage and a range of 4,000 nm – 5,500 nm (St. Thomas, USVI – Los Angeles). Heavy jets are ideal for passengers with medium luggage. Ultra Long-Range Jet Any campers out there? Because the ultra long-range jet is like an RV, some even have beds! This gives you seating for 12-19 passengers and a range of 5,200 nm – 6,000 nm, plenty of range to fly private to Europe! Ultra long-range jets are ideal for passengers with medium luggage. Regional Jet What if you have more than 19 passengers you ask? Call in the shuttle bus of aircraft, better known as a regional jet. Most regional jets offer seating for 30 to 50 passengers. Don’t let the larger aircraft fool you though, at full capacity each passenger would be limited to one checked bag and one carry on. Airliner Here comes the charter bus of aircraft, typically reserved for large group air charters or companies that require emergency evacuation flights for 50+ passengers. With seating between 120-190+, a private airliner allows your entire group to evacuate together with at least 33,000 lbs of luggage.

Emergency Evacuation Charter Flight – Are You Ready?

Okay, I’m glad we got that covered. I take it you’re good now, right? While knowing the different aircraft types availed for private jet charter is great, having a trusted private air charter broker is what’s most important. Not only will a good private air charter broker cover the entire market and find you the best available option, they will also make sure your operator, aircraft, pilot, and crew are certified and possess a clean safety record. So before you head down to your favorite Island, give your air charter broker a quick call so they can monitor the weather and jump into action in the event the evacuation bells ring.


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