Peace of mind!!! My family and I just completed our first charter on a private jet with Stratos. My wife and I have been on a few of our friend’s charters before and I fly regularly on my company's aircraft but this was the first charter of our own. Stratos and specifically Joel Thomas made my wife and I feel that we were in great hands throughout the planning, selection and ultimately flight process. Family loved it!!! Great experience.
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.
I had the pleasure to work with Joel on a last minute trip needed to transport several professional athletes to an event. Joel was fast-acting and completely professional every step of the way. He sent constant updates to make sure our trip needs were met every step of the way. I would recommend Joel and Stratos to anybody looking to book private jets who also values professionalism and accountability.
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.
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.
We were on a commercial flight from Detroit to Salt Lake City when part way into our flight we got notification from Delta app that our delay was going to cause us to miss our connection. We were on a long weekend for MLK to go skiing in Lake Tahoe. We were going to be rescheduled the following day, thus missing half of our vacation. I had email only, and emailed Garett asking if they had an operator in SLC who could get us to Tahoe that evening. Within 20 minutes he came back with two quotes. By the time we landed he had set up the flight, emailed me the number to the shuttle to get from Delta terminal to the private terminal, and did it all for a great price. To throw things off even more, we were set to fly to Tahoe, but Delta somehow got our bags on the flight to Reno that they said we couldn't make. So at the last minute we changed from Tahoe to Reno for a destination. By the time we took the shuttle to the FBO our flight plan was set and we took off within 10 minutes. It could not have been more seamless. It literally saved our vacation. Time is the most precious resource we have and time with family is even more precious. Our daughter is a senior and this is one of the last trips we'll have with her; it meant a lot, and Stratos savings our vacation, allowing us to create memories, means all that much more. Thank you!! Dave
No matter what company you're flying with, be sure to ask if there two pilots or one. (Though two pilots are standard on commercial flights, regulations vary for private planes of all sizes.) It also helps to ask if the operator owns the plane—typically, companies that own their planes offer better service. Never forget to ask about daily minimums and taxi fees. "If the hourly rate is $9,000 and you have a single 40-minute flight, you might assume you are going to pay $6,000," says Doug Gollan, creator of PrivateJetCardComparisons.com. "But if your provider has a daily minimum of 1.5 hours, you are going to actually be charged $13,500, plus taxi time, which in my comparisons I have found varies between being included and up to 12 minutes per segment."
You will be told how much the hold can take on your chosen aircraft and can upgrade if you feel more space is needed. This will generally be far more than that of a commercial airline. You may also need to upgrade if carrying things like golf clubs and skis. If travelling with a gun, you will need to provide a license and the gun and ammunition must be kept separate. It is then at the captain’s discretion whether it can be on board.