Delta Private Jets, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, earlier this year launched Sky Access. You pay $8,500 and can fly as many empty legs as you want at no additional cost. You also get 20% off select fares on Delta’s airline flights. There is a $500 fee if you cancel or no show. Over this weekend 66 empty legs were listed, although some such as Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, all of 30 miles, wouldn’t even give you time to pop open a beer. More interesting was Washington D.C. to Chicago and New York to Sarasota. There were also Nantucket to New York and Las Vegas to San Francisco, however, they were both on Friday, so the wrong direction for most people, and that’s the point, and perhaps a good segue to discussing the some of the downsides.
Connections around the globe give Wings Up the ability to create this bespoke experience for its clients. After submitting a flight inquiry, travelers are contacted with a quote within hours. Wings Up works directly with the owners and operators of aircrafts around the world. The company has access to an extensive fleet of aircraft and certified flight personnel—FAA Part 135 certification, to be exact—to ensure each chartered flight is not only economically sound but also safe and stress-free.
Depending on who you believe 30-to-50% of all private jet flights are ferry flights. However, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily dirt cheap. Magellan Jets, which sells jet cards and on-demand charter also offers empty legs, and while you have to contact the company for pricing, it says rates start at $3,000 per hour. Airstream Jets enables visitors to its website to download a list of active empty legs and while most of the 13 listings were for the next two weeks, there were flights posted through mid-November, one an empty leg in September on a Gulfstream G-IVSP from New York to London for $49,900. Another broker quoted the same date and route at $92,000. Even more attractive was a G500 charter this weekend from Palermo, Italy to New York for $35,000. Quotes for a non-empty leg charter that I received from another broker for random dates in August started at $111,000.
Another place private air charter will surprise you – and save you time - is on the ground. These days flying commercial aircraft means you can sometimes spend as much time on the ground as you do in the air -- making your way through boarding pass and baggage check lines, working your way through TSA procedures, and struggling through plane boarding and overhead bin competition.
I was thouroughly impressed with the professionalism of the Broker Joel, the flight organizer Sarah and the crew on both legs. The aircraft was clean, in good shape and right on time. The crew was friendly and professional to me and my guests. Two small issues were getting a tail number on less than 12 hours that made getting our rental cars more complex than necessary and more significant was being notified by our bank that you tried to bill my flight a couple times when I paid in full prior to first leg. All in all I would use them again but would encourage one contact who checks in daily a few days prior to flight rather than me having try to figure out who to call when it looked like a couple problems were coming up.
All flights are operated by U.S. 14 CFR Part 135 air carriers ("operators"), the names of which are disclosed to our customers prior to booking travel. Operators providing service for Air Taxi Service and Support LLC d/b/a Linear Air (ATSS) bookings must meet standards set forth by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and by ATSS. ATSS does not manage or operate aircraft on behalf of our customers, and is not itself an operator, and is a subsidiary of AirDialog LLC, a Direct Air Carrier operating under FAA certificate number L41A034L. Video footage used with permission from Cirrus Aircraft.
Of course, the cheapest way to fly privately is to have a friend who invites you on their flight. Then there are the semi-private charters like JetSmarter, JetSuiteX and JetClass where you can buy a seat on a scheduled private jet and corporate shuttle flight sharing it with strangers, much like if you were on a commercial airline. You can buy tickets on these flights for under $200 and you do avoid those crowded main airport terminals. However, if you want to have the real deal experience, chartering your own private jet, you are looking at something between $5,000 and up to $20,000 per hour depending on the size of aircraft and routing.
If there are no empty leg flights for your exact itinerary and timing, LunaJets will search its proprietorial database to reroute an empty leg. This would be a private jet that would make an additional stop to pick you up at your departure airport, drop you off at your destination airport, or both. These stops incur an additional cost (landing fees, extra fuel) that LunaJets will negotiate with operators for the best possible deal. Although greater than an empty leg price, a rerouted empty leg will always be much less expensive than a full fare on-demand private jet price.
After your initial enquiry you will be assigned a personal charter expert who will send you a selection of quotes for you to choose from. Each quote will have a clear breakdown of aircrafts and airports and reasons they have been selected for you. Should you wish to go ahead they will then book the aircraft and send you all the flight details including directions to the terminal and any other important information. They will be your first point of call for any further enquiries you may have up to the flight and, if possible, they will meet you at the terminal. From your initial quote you will be able to contact your account manager 24/7 (if on holiday you will be assigned another account manager to cover) so you can call from wherever, whenever you like.