Each traveler has the opportunity to select the plane that will be most comfortable for the chosen group. Hire a helicopter for the perfect two-person sightseeing trip over upstate New York; take a group of your closest friends to island hop off the coast of mainland Florida on a turboprop plane, great for short trips. For cross-country travelers—like an East Coast group of friends planning a bachelor party or bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas—a chartered super mid-size jet that flies nonstop could do the trick. Even jumbo jets like 747’s can be chartered for a larger group—think 50 to 500 people—so that everyone can fly together without having to worry about booking tickets on a commercial airline. The best part? No luggage fees.
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.
Like scheduled airline service, private jets also have weight limits with regard to the amount of luggage that can be stowed during a trip. Items such as skis and golf clubs are allowed as long as they conform to the dimensions and weight limits of the aircraft. These weight limits vary by aircraft type. Ask your charter sales representative if you have concerns about excess baggage or special items to be included in your luggage.
I met Joel, years ago, when he first introduced me to Stratos Jet Charters during its start-up phase. I was always very impressed on their marketing and honesty, as a broker. Joel is very genuine and caring when it comes to his customers or the operators that he works with. I know that Stratos Jets will not sacrifice safety for anything. I know that he likes to treat everyone like they are part of the Stratos Jet family. The trip planning process, from quote request to trip planning to invoice, is seamless – they’ve thought of everything and continue to be ahead of the trend in our industry with the way they do things. They think of everything! In my opinion, Stratos Jet Charters set the bar for aircraft brokerage and I will always continue to look forward to working with them.
Once you've got a price quote, it's worth the effort to call around and get three or four other quotes. Prices vary widely, and one of the most important things to know is that you will often be paying for the plane to get to you, also known as the repositioning fee. Additional charges, common to a lot of flights, include airport charges. At New Jersey's Teterboro, it's $100, while some airports with higher density have an added fee. There are also takeoff fees to consider.
We had quite a number of issues booking this trip, which resulted in add'l work and follow up for me. As broker these issues should have been handled / caught prior to making a proposal. I believe I had to sign 4 different revised quote sheets for this trip! Also the final signed sheet stated we would land in LFMD on the return leg. Hence we booked transportation for pick up at LFMD. However flight landed in LFMN. This caused add'l stress and expense for no reason. I have only now seen that the last itinerary link showed an arrival at LFMN - but I never opened this one since all previous ones, including the contract reconfirmation showed LFMD. As for the aircraft itself: it was one of the oldest ones I have ever flown. The door / separation to the toilet / luggage area was broken (not the lock but the entire frame!) and the toilet was not accessible due to a lot of "stuff" (amenities, water bottles, etc.) being thrown in / stored in the area. Overall cleanliness was not superb either. Finally, the catering we requested was not available / not complete. Breakfast (eggwhite and sausage!!) was cold and wet and the fruitplatter had molded grapes; no ice bucket, nor champagne glasses were present. On the return leg, fruitplatter was nice but again no ice bucket nor champagne glasses were present. As a matter of fact, the soft drink container was not even replenished w new ice!! So overall - yes, we flew from A to B but the service experience was disappointing.
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.