Why fly private air charter?
Point to point air / ground transportation
No airline check-in lines - No parking problems
Luggage from your trunk to the aircraft
Fly to over 3,000 airports NOT visited by airlines
Private Travel, with passengers you choose.
The expense of air charter must be evaluated against the trip at hand. How many passengers are going, and how does the cost compare to other forms of travel? What is the savings in time, lodging, ground transportation, and gained business opportunity? Air charter can bring all the advantages that air travel is supposed to offer- rapid transportation with real convenience and service. When you really have to be somewhere in a hurry, it is worth every penny.
Aircraft are usually chartered by the hour, with rates varying according to many factors. Hourly rates are figured against the time an aircraft is actually in the air. A strong tailwind, therefore, will lower the cost. Air traffic delays, holding patterns and en route deviations will increase it. Some operators and brokers, however, will charge based on a quotation that is fixed, and will not change, regardless of your actual flight time. Be sure to understand which method your charter professional will be using to quote and invoice you.
Many operators try to make their pricing more appealing by charging on a distance basis, against actual trip length. Some will qualify this length, however, by charging for trip length as extended by expected deviations. Since there is no way for a passenger to check this distance, it becomes a specious form of pricing because the unit (i.e. mileage) cannot be measured.
Most unit pricing charges (hourly or distance based) relate to an operator's actual hourly expenses—aircraft lease, fuel, maintenance, crew wages, and his profit margin. Prices guaranteed in advance are like any other lump sum agreement: a bet on the part of the vendor that he can do the job within the sum quoted and still make some money. To the extent that the market will bear, a prudent operator will charge extra to give himself some margin. However, if you are willing to share the bet and accept his unit price terms, you may share the savings if the trip is quicker than expected. Or you may pay more if the trip is longer.
While many charter operators include all surcharges in their base price, some bill other aspects of the trip as extra charges. These can include handling fees (landing and takeoffs), municipal landing fees, ramp (parking) fees, waiting time, overnight charges, de-icing, preheating of cabin and/or engines, hangar storage, and federal and state taxes.
Landing and ramp fees are regarded as pass-along expenses to the customer. The fees vary widely. Though usually quite reasonable (it costs more to park a car in Manhattan than to land and park a Lear Jet at the average airport), the expense to land at major metropolitan airports can be very high.
Terms of Payment
Terms of payment are of great concern to the operator. Because of the high expense of a single trip, one bad debit might erase a substantial portion of a year's profit. The operator has provided a service that cannot be returned, and the cost of pursuing a claim may preempt litigation.
Often, and this applies to charter brokers as well as operators, a 15-20% deposit is required of a new customer. Less frequently an operator may ask as much as 100%, or complete payment in advance for the trip. Variables that influence payment terms might include the operator's cash position, the trip cost, his feeling about the account, and the time available for a reasonable credit history to be verified. Usually there is no time, so the operator is back to trusting instincts or asking for pay in advance.
The credit card offers a way out. Its advantages are several: all travelers and companies have one; a third party of national financial stature is ready to offer him support; a method to take a "deposit" in escrow or advance (which may or may not be debited from the card holder) in order to minimize the chance of double booking or an unreliable customer. It also gives the operator a way to insure final payment on time. And cash flow is particularly important to an industry with large fuel bills and expensive equipment leases. A survey recently performed by The Air Charter Guide indicates that 16% of all charter flights are conducted using some form of credit card payment.
Whether it is a last minute, complicated or short trip, make certain you understand every line item of the quote you receive from the operator or broker and that the payment terms are clear.