Ok, mom didn’t call. But what if she did? Or, what if the boss tells you “get me and the sales team a private jet for tomorrow morning, we are never going to make that meeting on commercial service.” Would you know what to do? What questions to ask? OMG – what if you get this wrong? Relax. Mom told us to look out for you. Let’s walk through some of the steps required to charter a private jet.
6 Things To Know If You Are Going To Charter A Private Jet
1. Number Of Passengers
When you charter a private jet, you will want to think first about your group size. How many people need to fly private? If it is 2-6 people, a light jet might be a good choice. 12 passengers? A heavy jet will work nicely, or a turboprop commuter for a short hop. If the number is 25, a regional jet could fit the bill. 200? Don’t worry, we can arrange that on a commercial airliner.
2. Where You Are Going
In addition to how many people will be traveling, you will need to know what airports you prefer to travel to. Private charter flights can utilize thousands of airports not served by scheduled service. Just tell your broker where you are leaving from and where you would like to fly to.
The length of your flight will impact which aircraft is best suited for your travels:
- If your trip is an hour, a turboprop is a smart alternative that will save you money.
- A six-hour flight on a regional jet? It’s possible, but you will want to discuss cost savings versus passenger comfort and amenities.
- For one – two and half hours, a regional jet is suggested. They were designed to operate – well – regionally. However, they were not designed with passenger comfort in mind over long distances. You would also need to make a fuel stop.
An experienced broker will help you to balance cost, comfort, and aircraft fit in order to make the best private jet charter decision for your particular travel profile.
3. When You’re Travelling
Anytime, anywhere – that is the beauty of private air charter. While there are no restrictions on how soon you can charter (you can go today!), private jet availability can be tighter around peak travel periods, such as holidays and special events. If you are booking over a peak period, you will want to book sooner rather than later. Yes, sometimes there are last-minute deals, but then again it is more common for those deals to not match up perfectly with your needs.
Be careful not to get sucked into the hype of “empty leg” pricing, and ask your broker about any special conditions or restrictions that may apply. After all, you want to charter a private jet to enjoy the privacy, flexibility, and convenience that it has to offer. Alternatively, if your trip is a year or so away (not uncommon for large corporations and sports teams) available aircraft options may increase as your travel dates approach.
4. How Long You Will Be Gone
If you are only staying for one night, often the aircraft can remain at the destination airport. This can result in savings on positional ferry, the flying that the operator has to perform to get an aircraft into position for a charter flight. The more days you are staying at a destination, the less likely the aircraft will be able to remain with you. These beautiful birds were made to fly, and aircraft operators need to keep them busy.
5. What You’re Bringing
One of the benefits of flying private is that you can bring as much baggage/equipment/gear as you like with the provision that said baggage has to fit into the aircraft that you chartered. If you are a symphony looking to charter, let your broker know what equipment the group will be traveling with. Aircraft may not only “bulk out” of cargo capacity, they also have weight limitations that must be adhered to. This is known as payload – what the aircraft can safely carry.
Your broker will walk you through the payload restrictions of each aircraft offered. While sometimes a particular aircraft will have enough seats to accommodate the passengers, it may not have the payload capacity to carry all of the luggage, equipment, gear – everything that your group needs to bring with them.
6. Price Point
It is important to establish a budget before beginning your search to charter a private jet. If you are at the “just wondering” stage, some estimates based on historical data can help you to flesh out the budget piece. Your broker wants to focus on the options that solve your problem, and that includes price. The more information you provide the more likely you will end up with an option that fits into your budget. Your broker can also walk you through why one option may price higher or lower than another option, and which selection might be the best option for your needs.
If it’s too Good to be True…
That old adage holds true with charter. If you are being offered an option at a much lower price point than the rest of the market offerings presented by your broker, ask some questions. Our experience has been that low pricing schemes based on volume often do not withstand market realities. The last thing that you want is to find out that your low price was dependent on an entirely different client booking a charter flight to put the aircraft in position. You can’t charter an apology. Make sure that your broker has experience with each operator and their aircraft. If a price is very low, ask why. Reputable brokers provide real market pricing, not a made-up price to get you to “bite”.