Ready to partner with your first private jet charter company? Whether you’re flying for business, pleasure or a mixture of both, you are set to have an incredible time in the air. There’s truly nothing like having an entire cabin to yourself, with peace and quiet and personalized service. Work, relax, dine on gourmet food, travel to exotic locations like the Maldives or Siberia – the sky is truly the limit when you fly private.
For all of these reasons and more, the private jet charter industry is exploding to compensate with increased demands. That means new companies are coming on the market every single day, each vying for your attention and loyalty – but are they all really reliable and safe? Just as it is with any other company, it’s important to take your time and find the right private jet charter company rather than going with the first you find. Follow this step-by-step process to find the best jet charter company for you.
Pilot and Staff Experience
The charter flight industry is exploding, and that means plenty of new companies are cropping up to compensate. It seems like every few weeks, there’s a new company name floating around – but that doesn’t necessarily mean the people working for these companies are aviation greenhorns. Often, staff have years of experience in the commercial flight industry instead.
To find out whether a private jet charter company employs staff and pilots have enough experience, just ask! Most companies are more than happy to explain where they come from and why they can be trusted. Look for pilots with a high number of flying hours and staff with years of experience serving in the skies for best results.
Licensing (Staff and Facilities)
Pilots, aircraft mechanics, aerospace engineers, and air traffic controllers all have one thing in common: they require licensing in order to be legally permitted to work. In some cases, facilities (e.g., a private airstrip) must also be licensed or must adhere to regulations, too. These regulations identify that the company takes steps to ensure passenger safety, both on the ground and in the air.
Most importantly, every private jet charter company must be approved by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Businesses aren’t approved simply for being a business; instead, they must prove the business concept, whether or not they have exclusive access to at least one plane, and how they plan to engage in regular maintenance to keep passengers safe. The FAA can (and will) turn down any business who cannot prove reliability. An FAA approval means the airline is likely running a tight ship.
Availability and Flexibility
You have a crazy schedule that just doesn’t make it possible to fly commercial. Can your private jet charter company accommodate your needs? It’s up to you to ask the company exactly how much availability and flexibility they have on a regular basis before you find yourself in an awkward position at the last minute. Not every private jet charter company is large and reliable enough to allow significant last-minute changes, but nearly all will attempt to accommodate you whenever it’s possible.
That said, not every traveller needs a high degree of flexibility. You’ll have to decide how much flexibility works for you. A charter jet company that has a large enough fleet to let you adjust when and where you travel on the fly is a much better choice for travelers with hectic schedules. Conversely, someone who is only travelling for holidays may not require flexibility at all.
Fleet Diversity and Size
Want to fly into a remote wilderness escape in northern Canada? Considering a trip to a private island in the South Pacific? Climbing into a Boeing just isn’t going to work, but most commercial airlines don’t provide access to smaller aircraft. Private jet charter companies can alleviate this pain point by providing access to a larger variety of aircraft. Sensibly, these companies can only help if they retain exclusive access to aircraft in the first place.
Ask your new potential partner about their fleet diversity and size – how many aircraft do they hold? Do you have any choice in the aircraft you fly in? Are you simply assigned to what’s available when you book? Access to light jets, VIP airliners, and turboprops significantly expands on where and how you can travel.
Reputation and Partnerships
Reputation and partnerships can be a powerful indicator of reliability in the aviation industry. A private jet charter company with a long list of partnerships and glowing reviews from reliable sources is much more likely to provide you with the luxury travel experience you crave. In contrast, you may be taking a risk if you contract with a company that has absolutely no connections at all.
Be mindful of the fact that newer companies may lack partnerships; this isn’t necessarily a sign of incompetence. As with pilot and staff experience, you want to ensure that the people running the company (or flying the planes) have solid references instead. Being unable to find mention of the company anywhere – even if you verify with the FAA – may be a sign of a scam or a fake company that’s only out to take your money.
Exceptional Maintenance Protocols
How does your private jet charter company maintain their aircraft? Like any other aviation company, pre-flight checks and regular maintenance are an absolute must in the eyes of the law. Both the FAA and the Air Charter Association of America (ACAA) demand very high standards of care for aircraft that carry passengers. This isn’t something you ever want to skimp on; maintenance and safety checks keep passengers safe in the sky.
Your chosen company should be happy to explain their maintenance and safety protocols when asked, regardless of the aircraft you’re chartering. A company that hides or is secretive about their maintenance protocols may be hiding increased risk for accidents. Fortunately, most charter companies make this information readily available to all potential passengers.
Flight Destination Options
Where can you fly with your private charter jet company? If the answer is only standard international airports, you don’t have much freedom or flexibility with when, where, and how you fly. Some private jet charter companies are unwilling or unable to accommodate unique flight destinations. This is because of the increased risk to safety and service they create. This includes smaller airstrips, politically contentious countries, or destinations with unreliable weather.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with limiting service in this way – in fact, even the commercial aviation industry does it. However, such restrictions aren’t helpful to passengers in the moment. If a situation arises where you need to get to one of these contentious destinations quickly, you may find yourself struggling to partner with an alternative charter company to have your needs addressed. Avoid it by partnering with a company who can fly in to almost anywhere (or at least partners with someone who does).
By choosing a private jet charter company that has all of these characteristics, you can be sure that you’ve chosen the right company for your needs. Now, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the flight!