Wings Up is unique in the private-charter game as there is no membership or long-term commitment required to take advantage of the company’s services. Any traveler can charter an aircraft through Wings Up without prior engagement and because there are no membership fees, the bottom line cost is much lower—sometimes up to half price—compared to other flight charter companies.
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.
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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.
Eric Bold and Stratos Jets came to the rescue this week whilst I was trying to evacuate friends and families from Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Eric was beyond helpful and always courteous. He was quick to find an aircraft within my budget and stayed in contact with me at every point during our transaction to update me on all matters concerning our trip. I would highly recommend Stratos Jets to anyone and I look forward to working with them on our next trip.
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."
Jet charter service means different things to different people. For business travellers, it’s an invaluable management tool that allows executives to attend out-of-town meetings, tour facilities and visit regional offices in-person. For personal travellers, it’s a convenient way to travel anywhere in the world, while avoiding the stress, wait times and frustration associated with alternate forms of air travel.