While everyone loves a good deal, reduced cost in chartering with Wings Up does not mean reduced amenities. Each flight is personalized to the needs of the passengers. When booking a charter, travelers are assigned a personal concierge who works hand-in-hand with a personal charter travel consultant to help with any travel needs from dining to in-flight entertainment and more. Gourmet catering is available—tailored to fit any dietary restrictions—and luxury vehicles are on call for boarding and disembarking.
My experience with Stratos has been very good since I started booking jets several years ago. Joel and his team provide excellent service and followup at every stage. We recently had a flight where the incoming plane had a mechanical and they were able to replace it with a comparable one within just a few hours. Our original take off time was only missed by less than a half hour. The Stratos team communicated with us all along the way and everything was fine. The pilots are very good at what they do and the ground organization is thorough and efficient. I would recommend them to a friend.
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.
There are potentially even better deals. JetSuite offers SuiteDeals for as little as $500 each way. You have to sign up on its website, but when I visited, it didn’t have any flights listed. Wheels Up has a program called 8760. You pay $6,900 annually and access empty legs for as little as $320. You also get entry to its hospitality at events at the Super Bowl, The Masters, other high profile confabs, plus an Inspirato Key Membership which normally has a $10,000 initiation fee and then $3,500 annual dues.
For those who don't mind mingling with strangers, companies like Tradewind offer shuttles between places like New York and Boston, Stowe, and Nantucket, as well as Caribbean Islands like St. Barth's and Anguilla. (Flights begin at $250 plus tax each way.) The bonus? On a route from from San Juan to St. Barth's, a Tradewind rep will meet you at your terminal and help shuttle you through. JetSuiteX, affiliated with JetBlue, sells seats on planes between Burbank and Las Vegas.
An affinity charter is slightly different in that, although all of the passengers are affiliated with a specific business, group or organization, each pays his own air fare. The passengers might sports or music fans traveling to a special event, or a bunch of friends going on vacation. With this type of charter, none of the seats can be sold to members of public.
Some other examples of prices come from Avinode, which powers a charter marketplace for brokers and operators and gathers a large amount of data on pricing. Their recent data shows the average price per hour for return trips, for various aircraft. As noted above, these rates can vary depending on when you fly, where you fly and if your flight is one way or return, plus landing fees, ramp fees and any repositioning can all add to the costs. Always ask for a fully inclusive quote from your broker or operator.
Charter, also called air taxi or ad-hoc flights require certification from the associated country's regulating body such as the FAA in the U.S. The regulations are differentiated from typical commercial/passenger service by offering a non-scheduled service. In the U.S. these flights are regulated under FAA Part 135. There are some cases where a charter operator can sell scheduled flights, but only in limited quantities.