There’s nothing more luxurious than treating yourself to a trip in a chartered plane. Going from point A to B in style is a magnificent experience—but not all charter companies are the same. It’s important to carefully consider your choices before you settle on a charter company. Reputation, safety record, and customer reviews are all important factors to study before you make your choice. With more options for private jet travel than ever, here are five things to consider when choosing a charter company.
1. Safety Programs or Standards. When it comes to aviation, nothing is more important than the safety of the flight—when you’re selecting a charter company, be sure that you’re choosing one that prioritize safety above all else. While any air carrier is required to adhere to certain standards by the FAA, some companies go above and beyond with special safety programs, standards, and certifications. For example, some companies utilize WYVERN standards, which offers certification to charter companies based on training, safety programs, and pilot experience—this and other programs can offer peace of mind for nervous travelers!
2. Types of Aircraft. There are endless varities of business jet and turboprop models. Some are ideal for long oceanic crossings, while others are more efficient for short hops of a few hundred miles or less. Make sure the company you select is equipped with aircraft appropriate for the trip you’re planning to take. You’ll want to avoid aircraft that require multiple fuel stops for longer journeys, or aircraft that burn unnecessarily large quantities of fuel for shorter journeys.
3. Pilot and Plane Availability. Depending on the time of year and the size of the company you’re considering, it may be difficult scheduling a trip at the last minute. While most companies have on-call pilots and planes, they likely come at a much higher cost than the standard rate. Make sure you book well in advance, especially for a charter company with limited staffing or a smaller fleet size.
4. Airport Bases. Some charter companies are based out of one airport, while others have maintenance or crew bases across the country. When selecting a charter company, consider the stops you’re planning to take on your trip in relation to the company’s bases. If the company has to send the plane to your starting point empty, then you may be spending extra money just getting the plane to you.
5. Loyalty Programs through Brokerage Companies. An increasingly popular trend in the world of chartered aircraft is brokerage companies that offer loyalty or reward programs to encourage repeat customers. Brokers will often do all of the planning for the customer, from booking the flight to taking care of catering and rental cars at the destination. Many brokerage companies offer programs for frequent flyers, such as free flight hours and other perks. Jet brokers additionally will help select suitable companies based on aircraft appropriate to your trip, and even vet companies’ safety records before hiring them for you.