Written by Alex M. Early, CEO of The Early Air Way
January 9th, 2014
Just about every day, we get a call from someone in a panic hoping to book a private jet on what they believe to be very short notice. On average, that very short notice is about a three day lead-time prior to the desired travel date. When this comes up, we explain that in fact, our average lead-time prior to a trip is about three days.
What if you really need to charter a private jet last at the minute however? For, well, now… This can be done, and we do it every day. Within the industry, these trips that have to go “right now” are known as “ASAP trips.” As I sit here writing this blog article, I’m waiting for the phone to ring with an ASAP request. On average, at least 2 hours is needed to dispatch an aircraft after signed paperwork is received for your trip. If the plane is not currently sitting at your departure airport, a little more time would be needed to fly down to pick you up.
Many customers are impressed with the two-hour dispatch time, though on the flipside, many aren’t. People will often ask if they can be in the air within 15 minutes, wondering why pilots aren’t sitting in the cockpit ready to go at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning. The fact of the matter is however, that isn’t how [… I got a call for an ASAP flight right here …] it works. Pilots are not hanging out at the airport, sitting in the cockpit just waiting for a flight. There are a few reasons for this… a) the market doesn’t justify it, b) it’s a waste of the pilots’ time, and c) crews are regulated on how much they can work. Having sit around at the airport wastes their legal duty time and would reduce their odds of being able to legally fly the real trips that come up.
We’ve dispatched planes with as little as 30 minutes notice in the past, but you have to get lucky for that to happen. If a plane has just landed from another trip at the airport you’d like to depart from, you can get out “fast.”
Availability at the very last minute can be extremely scarce, especially when your request is during the after-hours. In some cases [but not all], you’ll end up paying a noticeably premium for an ASAP trip because of required re-positioning. As such, booking flights at the very last minute isn’t recommended if you’re looking for the best value. This will be the case with any charter company of course.
As always, we’ll be available if you need to charter a jet right now, no matter where in the country you’re departing from. We know how to get you moving quickly.