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.
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."
Because jet charter is not priced on a per person or ticket basis, it is not likely that it would be more cost effective for a group of 10-15 individuals to charter a jet compared with flying via scheduled airline service in coach or first class. Even if the total cost for a charter trip is split among 10 people, the cost each person would cover would still be significant.
At last minute's notice I needed to find a private plane to get my elderly parents from Bangor, Maine to Atlanta. I googled charter companies and Stratos Charters was first to pop up. I called immediately and Joel (founder and president of company) answered. He could not have been more gracious and helpful. He was the perfect combination of professional and personable. Our charter was arranged and the trip went through seamlessly. Stratos Charter and Joel made a stressful situation into a very pleasant one for us. I highly recommend their services and will definitely use them in the future. Thank you to them!
Charter companies offer a tailored service in which the client has a choice of meals, drinks, staffing levels and additional services. Tour companies aim to maximize profits, so public charters usually only provide a very basic service to passengers, with a cheap -- or no -- meal, minimal staffing and low baggage allowances. With a private charter, organizations can take advantage of options such as video conferencing, business services and corporate branding. In-flight meals are of a better quality, and passengers do not have luggage restrictions. With public charters, passengers still have to stand in line for check-in and security, so they need to be at the airport two to three hours before the flight. With a private charter, you can pass straight through security and onto the aircraft.
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.