The company I represent was in a crisis situation where we needed to get halfway across the country within a matter of hours. The only available commercial flight was sold out and nothing would get us there in time. After doing some research, I found Stratos Jet Charters and called Joel at around 7 in the morning. He answered right away and were at the airport two hours later. Because it was a high stress situation in a short amount of time, I called Joel and his team countless times in a two hour window; they remained extremely professional and kind. Plus, Joel was able to get us an extremely competitive price, especially considering the short notice. I highly recommend using Stratos Jet Charters and know I will definitely use them again.
When it comes to small planes, weight matters. Don't be surprised when your contact emails you for all passenger weights, and when the pilot organizes seating by weights. (You don't want the three biggest people on the right side, for instance.) Similarly, don't expect to bring two weeks of stuff for a weekend, and definitely mention if you're planning on bringing golf clubs or skis. If they don't fit, check out ShipSticks or LuggageForward, which sends your equipment beforehand for a relatively small fee.
I have worked with Joel and Stratos Jets for several years and it has always been a pleasure. Most recently they booked a flight from St Petersburg, FL to Sanford, FL to Niagara Falls, NY with us on our Citation CJ1. The experience, as always was flawless and realtime feedback and communication meant the ASAP flight went without a hitch. Thank you Joel and team, I look forward to many more years of business with you.
Fliers with flexibility should sign up for empty-leg email lists of companies like Magellan Jets, who regularly send out emails selling discounted flights from, say, the plane of a corporate exec who flew to Los Angeles but is looking to offset his cost of getting the plane back to New York. “I wouldn’t say that the cost of flying private has gone down, but there are new ways of pricing charter that makes it more accessible,” says David Zipkin, co-founder and VP of Tradewind, the service known for semi-private flights in the Northeast and Caribbean. “In our case, we save people money with our shared charters, and we also sell discounted empty legs.”
When you fly private charter for the first time, one of the first things you’ll discover is that your flight revolves entirely around your schedule, not the airline’s schedule. There is no need to check pre-existing flight schedules to choose a time that is ‘close’ to the time you’d like to travel. And no more arriving hours ahead of the actual time you’re required for a business meeting. You choose exactly when to fly -- based on what’s best for you – not based on which flights are available.
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.