Dozens of private charter companies have sprung up in the US over the past few years.
Sadly, much of the industry is running completely unregulated and uninsured – creating an extremely dangerous situation for passengers, pilots, and innocent people on the ground.
Flying is much safer than driving – especially commercial flights. Fatality rates for private flights, however, are nearly as high as vehicle accidents and illegal charters are largely at fault.
Here’s how to stay safe.
What are Illegal Charters?
Anyone flying passengers or cargo for compensation without specific certification to do so through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considered an illegal charter.
Some illegal charter companies may try to (quite literally) fly under the radar by marketing themselves as “gray charters” but make no mistake: They’re not properly certified through the FAA.
What’s the big deal?
The FAA requires rigorous screening for pilots, aircraft maintenance, and safety codes. Considering that most private crashes are due to pilot error or engine problems, these aren’t qualifications anyone should neglect before hiring a private charter.
Illegal charters have no insurance to cover losses either. Just imagine how that puts passengers and their families at risk should the unthinkable happen. Unfortunately, disasters do happen.
Even if the pilot has a valid license but the operator doesn’t have Part 135 certification, the flight is still considered illegal and extremely dangerous.
How to Avoid Illegal Charters
If a private charter jet price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Part 135 certification and insurance from the FAA is complex and expensive to obtain and keep. It’s easy to see why some charter companies would bend the rules, but that doesn’t make it okay.
Before booking any private charter flight, it’s important to ask the charter broker if the operator is Part 135 certified.
If they say “no,” go somewhere else. If they say “yes,” ask to see the certification. If they start making excuses or say it’s not possible to show the Part 135 certificate, that’s a big red flag that they’re hiding something and most likely running an illegal charter.
Any operator Part 135 certified by the FAA should proudly display this information on their website or provide it to brokers and if they don’t, they’ll have no issue providing the information when requested.
Anything short of that is sketchy and a signal to go somewhere else.
Jettly’s Network of US-Based Operators are Part 135 Certified
Committed to safety, Jettly strictly sources Part 135 licensed air operators. Not only that, but Jettly only works with operators rated by the leading third-party business aviation safety auditors Argus or Wyvern.
Some brokers bend the rules by sourcing illegal charters at a discount for the customer. In the end, the customer AND broker are both put at risk on multiple levels. Jettly changes this with rigorous screening and only adding Part 135 certified operators to the network.
We’re on a mission to take the headache out of private travel and we always put safety first! Browse our flight search now.