With a private air charter flight, you’ll be delighted to discover you won’t be spending time on the usual rigmarole! Instead, you’ll be directed to your charter operator’s private terminal where you’ll almost always be the only person ‘in line’ -- or if you’re flying from a privately run airport (such as Marshfield Airport, GHG) you’ll simply arrive at the time of your departure and be greeted by your pilot -- along with a ground crew that will valet park your vehicle.
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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.
Another place private air charter will surprise you – and save you time - is on the ground. These days flying commercial aircraft means you can sometimes spend as much time on the ground as you do in the air -- making your way through boarding pass and baggage check lines, working your way through TSA procedures, and struggling through plane boarding and overhead bin competition.
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.
At Pentastar Aviation, we focus first and foremost on passenger safety. There are no age restrictions for passengers on private jets. Just let us know if you are traveling with a child, and we’ll be sure the aircraft selected for your trip will accommodate your family’s needs. Please note, however, neither PACI nor Pentastar Aviation will transport unaccompanied minors under the age of 18. Domestic pets are allowed on some aircraft. Make sure to let your charter sales representative know if you will be traveling with a pet so we can accommodate your request. Please note that exotic animals may not be allowed, especially on international flights.
Privacy is one of the main advantages of a charter flight. Unlike a commercial flight, where travelers are herded through a crowded airport, having to undergo an intrusive security screening, passengers on a charter flight depart from a private facility known as an FBO. At most private airports, passengers can pull their cars right up to the plane.
Of course, the cheapest way to fly privately is to have a friend who invites you on their flight. Then there are the semi-private charters like JetSmarter, JetSuiteX and JetClass where you can buy a seat on a scheduled private jet and corporate shuttle flight sharing it with strangers, much like if you were on a commercial airline. You can buy tickets on these flights for under $200 and you do avoid those crowded main airport terminals. However, if you want to have the real deal experience, chartering your own private jet, you are looking at something between $5,000 and up to $20,000 per hour depending on the size of aircraft and routing.
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.”
After your initial enquiry you will be assigned a personal charter expert who will send you a selection of quotes for you to choose from. Each quote will have a clear breakdown of aircrafts and airports and reasons they have been selected for you. Should you wish to go ahead they will then book the aircraft and send you all the flight details including directions to the terminal and any other important information. They will be your first point of call for any further enquiries you may have up to the flight and, if possible, they will meet you at the terminal. From your initial quote you will be able to contact your account manager 24/7 (if on holiday you will be assigned another account manager to cover) so you can call from wherever, whenever you like.