Alex M. Early, CEO of The Early Air Way
November 1st, 2013
When flying on a commercial aircraft, passengers can nearly always bring however much baggage they want with them. Granted, you may have to pay overage fees for excessive baggage, but you can still bring it. This is not the case with private jet charters. Private jet baggage capacity is limited.
Unlike the baggage hold of a 747, most private aircraft have pretty limited spaces for bags. Baggage capacity varies significantly from aircraft to aircraft, but once the baggage area is full… it’s full. You can bring as much baggage as you’d like with no surcharges, but only as much as the physical confinements of the aircraft will allow. There will be no option to pay extra to put your excess bags on the plane; the option is that your bag will be left behind. In the few instances we’ve had to leave bags behind, we’ve had the ability to FedEx the bags to the passengers’ destination (at the passengers’ expense). With this in mind, it is important to take baggage capacity into consideration when booking your next private jet flight.
As mentioned in the article Picking Charter Flights By Price, most first time and infrequent charter passengers prefer light jets because of their low cost. One thing to know about light jets is that their baggage capacities can be extremely limited. We’ve had the most problems with baggage on the Hawker 400XP and Beechjet 400A light jets for instance. Neither of these planes will accommodate a large “check-in” size suitcase unless you strap it to an empty seat in the cabin. Not only does strapping a bag to a seat in the cabin look bad, but it also takes quite a bit of time to do which can delay your departure. These light jets are only ideal for passengers who a) travel light, or b) are willing to ship their bags to their final destination.
Larger planes such as any Gulfstream heavy jet on the contrary basically have little rooms in the aft portion of the plane behind the lavatory. You can bring a lot of bags on a GIV for example, making them phenomenal planes for people traveling with a lot of gear.
My advice to you, the charter buyer, is to make sure that baggage capacity is something that is mentioned during your booking process. The last thing you want is an issue on the tarmac because of something as mundane as a suitcase. All specialists at The Early Air Way are properly trained to take baggage needs into account for passenger trips. We’ve yet to have a baggage issue where a passenger wasn’t warned in advance that they were cutting it close.