By James D. Butler, Shaircraft Solutions LLC
In two previous articles, I discussed the benefits of flying privately and the various types of private air travel investments that are available to you, including fractional ownership, jet card programs and traditional charter.
If you’re trying private air travel for the first time, traditional charter is likely to be the best way to dip your toe in the water. There are no long term commitments or big capital outlays. Just like renting a limousine, you pay only the cost of your trip.
More specifically, charter may be attractive if your travel profile looks like this:
• You fly roundtrips on the same day (so that you minimize “deadhead” costs of flying the aircraft back to its home base from your outbound leg and back to pick you up for your return flight.)
• You make travel plans well in advance (so that we can thoroughly investigate the market.)
• We can identify reputable and safe charter operators near your home base who fly aircraft that satisfy your needs and who have the aircraft inventory to deliver reliable service and availability when you need it. (Again, this will limit the cost of positioning aircraft.)
• Your usage may vary substantially over time so that “pay as you go” charter is better for you than locking into a program with a “use it or lose it” commitment.
There are at least one thousand charter operators in the United States. Although you certainly can find charter operators on the internet, this isn’t quite like buying a set of steak knives. Charter flying is expensive and, more importantly, you’re putting your life and the lives of your family members in the hands of the operator, its aircraft and pilots.