As private jet travel rebounds to more than 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels, it does so based on the strength of you, the first-time private flyer. From large fleet operators to boutique brokers, virtually all report a spike in new-to-market fliers. Primary reasons include minimizing potential COVID-19 exposure and lacking airline schedules.
1. Where are you starting from and where do you want to end up?
This might seem silly, but since private aircraft can access around 5,000 airports compared to less than 500 used by the airlines before COVID-19, there’s a good chance there are closers airports than you are used to. By giving your operator or broker the address you are leaving from and where you are going, they can suggest alternatives that can shave hours off your door-to-door travel time.
2. Who and what are you bringing?
If you are looking for the most cost-efficient solution, the type of aircraft that fits your mission is going to depend not only on the number of seats, but the number of adults, children under the age of two, size of your pets, amount of luggage, and total weight. The number of seats along with weight, weather, and winds will impact the type of private jet best suited for your flight.
The range of a light jet varies from around 600 to 2,000 miles depending on the make and model, plus how many people and how much luggage you have. To get the quotes that best match your needs, details matter, for example, six adults, including three large adults over 300 pounds, six sets of golf clubs, a 150-pound Golden Retriever, etc. This will enable your provider to identify specific aircraft that best fit your needs.
3. Are you flexible on travel dates and times?
While you get to set your departure date and time – it’s on your schedule, not some airline planner – your choices impact your cost. If you are flexible to leave over a span of certain days or times, let your provider know that upfront. That will enable them to look for potentially money-savings alternatives. I’ve seen lead pricing between South Florida and New York vary by as much as $5,000 from one day to the next.
Empty leg flights can provide savings of around 50%. These repositioning flights are returning to base after dropping off customers or heading to their next mission. They are sold at big discounts, however, if the person on the other side of the equation changes his or her plans, yours will cancel, and it could be while you are at the airport waiting to board.
4. When are you coming back?
Qualifying roundtrips in private aviation can cut costs by up to 40%. What do you have to do to get that discount? The standard is two billable flight hours per day. That could be a same-day trip where the outbound and return legs are at least one hour each. It could also mean two four-hour flights leaving on day one and returning day four. Four hours plus four hours equals eight hours, divided by four days, equals an average of two billable hours per day. You’ll have to leave and return from the same airport. It is based on the operator using the same aircraft and flight crew for both legs, so while with jet cards it’s a formalized part of your contract, with on-demand charter it’s more a rule of thumb.
5. What type of experience do you want?
The cabin height on light jets is typically under five feet, with midsize aircraft six to eight inches more. The cabins are quite comfortable for sitting, but not so much for walking around. If you want to have that Kim Kardashian style Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous experience, ask your provider to quote large-cabin aircraft. You can also specify the minimum cabin height.
6. What happens if the operator cancels the flight?
With standard one-off charter contracts, be it a pilot gets sick or there is a last-minute mechanical, if the aircraft you chartered can’t make the flight, you’ll get a refund. That’s the good news.
7. Who should you contact to book your private flight?
You have two choices – operators and brokers. Operators – the companies that fly the airplanes – Keep in mind most operators are small.
While you’ll see brokers referencing access to 10,000 aircraft, according to Tuvoli, a B2B tech platform, there are only about 4,000 private jets on Part 135 certificates, in other words, that can be rented legally in exchange for compensation. The rest are helicopters, pistons, turboprops, and even airliners. A broker can survey the entire market looking for operators that are the best fit for your flight whereas operators for the most part will try to sell you onto their fleet first.
As travel advisors, good brokers are like gold. They also know why some prices you might see are lower and what’s a good deal versus the cheapest price.
8. How do I find a good broker?
The quality of experience comes from your broker. If you aren’t happy with your initial interactions, ask for another broker. Even better, ask friends who charter regularly for the phone number of their broker, and benefit from their good and bad experiences.
While most online booking is a request form, I highly recommend for first-timers, the best route is to speak to a human being, preferably one with multiple years of experience booking charter flights. Feel free to ask whomever you are speaking with, how many years of experience they have selling charter flights. If they are relatively new, there’s nothing wrong with politely telling them you would like to speak to a broker who has more experience.
Contact Fly Charters with their decades of experience in charter brokerage ensures you that you are in good hands. Fly Charters’ team of experts, a wide range of aircraft availability, and bespoke air charter solutions provide you with competitive rates only with the most unparalleled levels of service. Garnering more than five hundred brokered and chartered flight hours in Business Aviation this year and for the team’s dedication to achieving customer service excellence. Email them at [email protected] or visit their website : https://www.flycharters.aero/
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