So you’ve just stumbled upon the phrase “private jet charter” and are now wondering: just what is it, exactly? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. After all, private jets are often portrayed as something exclusive for the rich and famous, so it’s not surprising that most people wouldn’t be inclined to learn about it.
That stereotype is becoming less and less true, though: thanks to the share-economy, flights via charter jets are now accessible to more people than ever. Yes, this means you just might be able to skip the airport queues and set off via private jet on your next family vacation.
If that’s piqued your interest – and we bet it has – then read on to find out more about what private aircraft charter has to offer.
Private jet charter 101
Private aircraft charter is basically hiring a private aircraft – that is, one that neither serves a commercial airline nor belongs to the government – to fly you precisely where and when you need it. The aircraft used for charter flights are smaller than commercial jumbo jets; these can range from small turboprops that can only carry a handful of passengers, to large business jets that can seat small groups of about 14.
These private jets don’t have to follow a routine flight plan the same way that airlines do; their size also allows them a wider range of options for the airports they can take off from and land at. This means the charter passenger has far greater freedom in scheduling their flights. Flights with multiple stops – say you need to stop at one city for a meeting or to pick something up before heading to your main destination – are also easily arranged.
The luxury begins well before you board the plane
The comfort of a private flight isn’t just experienced inside the airplane. It starts when you realize that you no longer have to wake up at ungodly hours just to make that 6 AM flight, endure a 12-hour layover while traveling with a toddler or run out of flights to make it to that event you need to attend. Then you no longer have to endure the airport queues, crowds, and long waits on the tarmac due to delays. And once you’ve arrived at your destination, you won’t have to worry that your luggage may have gotten lost.
It’s more accessible now
Yes, this sort of luxury is an option available to you – and it’s possible to get it for far less than you expected. Nowadays many charter operators offer cheaper seats for “empty leg” flights – trips that they would otherwise be making without passengers, just to reposition their plane to a certain destination. Be on the lookout for advertisements for these deals, or contact the operators near you to find out if they have any offers.
Flight sharing is another way to get charter flights for cheaper than usual, allowing you to split the costs evenly between you and several others.