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.
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.”
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.
We prefer to finalize our itinerary, plane and crew at least a week in advance. We did not get things completely final until the day of the actual flight. Secondly, we prefer to pay post-flight rather than pre-flight. You were able to make an exception in our case which was appreciated. Lastly, the quality of the catering service from STT was atrocious. It was inedible.
From start to finish, our experience with Stratos was totally professional, made very simple and the ultimate in how charter travel should be booked/enjoyed! We know it takes an entire team behind the scenes but all credit to Joel for his 'personal' touch and for making our return trip to New York a very memorable one indeed!!! We have used several charter companies worldwide over the years but Joel and his team beat them all!!!
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