Majority of private travel is done through charters
Book flights on a trip-by-trip basis
No long-term contracts or need to purchase an aircraft
Use a broker or book directly with an operator
You don’t necessarily need your own jet to be able to fly private. The vast majority of all private travel is actually done via some sort of charter. Similar to chartering a limo service or a boat, chartering an aircraft allows travelers to book flights on a trip-by-trip basis without the hassle or commitment of purchasing their own aircraft or signing long term contracts.
On-demand charter is a great way to dip your feet in private travel if you’re curious about exploring all that flying private has to offer. When chartering an aircraft, you will typically be dealing with two separate entities: the charter operator and the broker.
The Charter Operator
The charter operator is the company that will actually be operating the aircraft and is in charge of meeting all the regulatory requirements that come with being an on-demand air carrier.
The broker, on the other hand, is the intermediary between you and the operator. Aircraft charter brokers are in charge of procuring your requested aircraft and ensuring that the final options presented before you meet or exceed the requirements that were discussed beforehand. When discussing your initial plans, it is very important to list the exact specifications you might have for your flight such as the number of passengers, if you’re bringing a pet, any oversized luggage, is Wi-Fi a must, etc. The broker then takes those prerequisites and shops around for various aircraft that best fit your specifications. He or she then presents these options to you and you get to ultimately decide which aircraft that you’d like to charter.
Alternately, you can also skip the broker altogether and book directly with an operator if you’re comfortable with shopping around yourself; however, an experienced broker is a great asset to have if you’re flying privately for the first time.
The most important thing is to pick a safe and established aircraft operator with a proven track record. Safety is extremely important to the private aviation industry and a multitude of standards have to be met in order to receive an air carrier certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. Several third party audit companies also exist whose sole purpose is to evaluate and rate various aircraft operators. This adds an extra layer of assurance by confirming that the operators are not only meeting but exceeding the FAA regulations for ensuring operational safety standards. Choosing an aircraft operator who has successfully completed a third party audit can provide an additional level of comfort and peace of mind to new passengers.
Whether utilizing a broker or booking directly with an operator, both parties will be happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions you might have before signing on the dotted line.