Flying is a fast and reliable way to travel. But, being stuck in business class again can get tiring after a while. Fortunately, you have a great alternative: private plane charters. Private planes are not just for the rich, famous, or television characters anymore. You can book one for your next trip and enjoy the luxury—and extra leg room.
Know Your Options
When you are looking into private plane charters, the first step is to understand your options. Once you know where you are flying, you can use online booking systems to see what flights are departing and returning at the times you want. But on top of just comparing prices—which you would do when using a standard airline anyway—you have a few other outside the box options.
Shared Ride Flights
Many private charter companies offer shared ride flights, which tend to be cheaper than a standard private plane charter. They do require you to share a private plane with strangers, but it can make the ride more affordable, and you would ride with strangers on a commercial jet anyway.
Empty Leg Flights
Another option in the plane charter world is empty leg flights. Empty legs are flights where the plane has been chartered to either pick up or drop off another passenger, and the company doesn’t want to waste the flight going the other direction. Since the plane is already going on the trip, these flights can be cheaper than a standard plane charter. However, empty leg flights are less flexible because the plane already has a set destination or departure.
Before you decide on your private plane charter, make sure you ask the charter company a few basic questions. If the company is reputable, they will be able to answer these questions if the information isn’t available on their website already.
While the basic price should be easily found online, talk to the company about the actual cost. Ask what the minimum charter time is—you might only be flying for an hour but end up paying for an hour and a half or two. Another potential added cost is taxi time—the time the plane spends moving on the runway before and after flying.
This is a huge factor in deciding on your private plane experience. You should ask what the required flying hours for pilots are. The national requirement for licenses is 150, but many companies have higher standards. You may also want to ask if the plane model has had issues with accidents in the past.
Weight limits are a key logistical issue, because they affect how much luggage you can bring with you and may affect how many passengers you can bring. The company will need to seat passengers and store luggage in the most balanced way possible, so be aware of their expectations when packing.
Pets and Kids
Some privately chartered planes will allow pets, but you should ask first. Traditional pets will vary from airline to airline and even from plane to plane, depending on the model and the staff. Exotic pets are less likely to be allowed. You should also ask about children, as the plane may need to be childproofed before flying a party including children.
If you can’t find them on the company’s website, you may be able to ask for photos of the plane. While this isn’t necessary, it can be helpful for you to get a feel for the age and general upkeep of the plane—though you can just ask about those as well. Photos of the plane’s interior may help you decide if your choice is purely the cosmetic difference between two equally good options.
If you’re interested in using a private plane charter, but you aren’t sure how you can afford it, don’t worry. There are ways to experience the luxury of a private plane without paying an arm and a leg for it.
You can ask a few different companies for quotes and then use the companies’ prices to get a lower quote from their competitors. This is a common tactic when buying a car, and the reverse—where you find out how much someone will pay for something in order to make the most profit—is common in selling houses, business stocks, and more. While this isn’t a foolproof plan, it won’t hurt.
As mentioned above, using alternative options for private planes can save you some money. Booking an empty leg or a shared ride flight are both great options to cut down on some of the costs involved in charting a private plane. It’s not the same exact experience, but for the price difference, it’s worth it.
Some plane chartering companies offer memberships with deals. You pay an enrollment fee upfront, plus a flat monthly membership fee, and then you get discounted—or sometimes free—private plane tickets. The exact cost and benefits vary from company to company, this is a good option if you fly regularly and are tired of having no leg room. Be sure to research the company first, as some may offer flights as shuttle-like services, only to and from specific locations. Still, this is an attractive option for a frequent flier or a flier who regularly goes to the same places.
A final budget friendlier option is group pricing. If you and several friends or colleagues are all going on the same trip, splitting the cost of a private plane can seem appealing. Be careful, though. While splitting the bill certainly helps, the cost is still relatively high. You should make sure to compare your pricing and experience options before deciding to share a plane. But with the right company, this can be both cost-effective and fun.
If you are interested in booking a private plane charter for your next trip, please don’t hesitate to check out our charter services or contact us. We’d love to help you experience flying at the next level.