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.”
The most economical option is chartering, which doesn't require any cash upfront (other than a deposit) through companies like Tradewind, Sentient, and Solairus, (which we took home from North Carolina). Of course, there are the old standbys like NetJets and Marquis, who sell fractional ownership (like 1/16th) of a single jet for upwards of $100K. One step down from that, pricewise, is the jet card, where you buy a set amount of hours from a company like Nicholas or Private Jet Services, and can use those hours for different planes. Then there are membership models like WheelsUp, where you pay $17,500 as an initiation fee to fly in their fleet, and then a $8,500 annual dues fee starting the second year. It's like a country club—only you're guaranteed access to a KingAir350i or Citation Excel / XLS instead of a golf course.
For those unfamiliar with air charter costs, prices can initially be a bit intimidating. One reason for the higher costs associated with flying privately is of course the fact that some of the costs incurred are costs that are typically shared by all passengers on commercial flights, whereas, in the case of chartering a private aircraft, you are chartering the entire aircraft and crew for your exclusive use.
Delta Private Jets, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, earlier this year launched Sky Access. You pay $8,500 and can fly as many empty legs as you want at no additional cost. You also get 20% off select fares on Delta’s airline flights. There is a $500 fee if you cancel or no show. Over this weekend 66 empty legs were listed, although some such as Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, all of 30 miles, wouldn’t even give you time to pop open a beer. More interesting was Washington D.C. to Chicago and New York to Sarasota. There were also Nantucket to New York and Las Vegas to San Francisco, however, they were both on Friday, so the wrong direction for most people, and that’s the point, and perhaps a good segue to discussing the some of the downsides.
Connections around the globe give Wings Up the ability to create this bespoke experience for its clients. After submitting a flight inquiry, travelers are contacted with a quote within hours. Wings Up works directly with the owners and operators of aircrafts around the world. The company has access to an extensive fleet of aircraft and certified flight personnel—FAA Part 135 certification, to be exact—to ensure each chartered flight is not only economically sound but also safe and stress-free.
Some other examples of prices come from Avinode, which powers a charter marketplace for brokers and operators and gathers a large amount of data on pricing. Their recent data shows the average price per hour for return trips, for various aircraft. As noted above, these rates can vary depending on when you fly, where you fly and if your flight is one way or return, plus landing fees, ramp fees and any repositioning can all add to the costs. Always ask for a fully inclusive quote from your broker or operator.
With a charter flight, you rent the entire aircraft, rather than just one seat. The aircraft can be large or small, and flights can be one-way or round-trip. The charter could be made on a flight-only basis, might include ground services such as transportation to or from meetings or could be part of a complete vacation package. Charter flights offer more flexibility than scheduled flights, with a wider choice of destinations and tailor-made itineraries.
We are run and operated by experienced, honest, passionate aviation professionals, not cut-throat salespeople. We utilize transient aircraft including Gulfstream, Hawker, Lear, and Citation jets to reduce the cost of our trips without sacrificing quality. Our Jet Aircraft are pre-screened for comfort and quality and ARG/US and WYVERN approved for safety; we ourselves are a WYVERN authorized provider.
An affinity charter is slightly different in that, although all of the passengers are affiliated with a specific business, group or organization, each pays his own air fare. The passengers might sports or music fans traveling to a special event, or a bunch of friends going on vacation. With this type of charter, none of the seats can be sold to members of public.
WE were told to go to First Aviation Services terminal at Teterboro but our plane was at another terminal so we wasted over 45 minutes trying to find our aircraft and our agent was not at all helpful. In fact he told us someone was coming to pick us up and they never came and we had to find someone to help us get to the terminal our plane was located at. The agent asked us for our rental car info but when we landed in Naples the rental car was not at the terminal and we had to find a ride over to the other side of the air field to get our rental car. The flight was great but the handling of the pre and post flight were below normal and not what I am used to when I fly private.
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.
From the moment you contact us, until after your trip has concluded, we strive to exceed your expectations. We structure our business to provide seamless coordination and reliable execution for every private jet rental that we organize. Whether your private travel plans call for a demanding, multi-leg flight, or a one-way charter, we support each itinerary with the same attention to detail that we believe is necessary for you to SOAR HIGHER.