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.
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.
If the paying customer – that person shelling out $5,000 to $20,000 per hour - cancels his or her trip, then your empty leg will also be cancelled. If you were going somewhere, make sure your hotel and car rental reservations can be changed without penalty. If you were using an empty leg to get home, make sure you also scan the airline schedules and availability so you have a backup plan. Most empty legs can be cancelled anytime before departure, and reasons can include that delays earlier in the day meant your pilots ran out of time to something on the inbound flight broke and needs to be fixed. Oh, and that’s it. You’ll get a refund of your money, but you’re usually on your own, perhaps sitting in a private jet terminal at an airport with no commercial flights.
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.