How Do Aircraft Charter Rates Stack Up?

It could happen someday. Your company could reach the point in it's marketing, sales and service where you need to quickly and efficiently travel where commercial jets rarely go. And when that happens, you need to know how private jet charter rates stack up and how you should compare different private jet charter options. Is the operator safe? How much experience does the pilot have? How many hours will you spend in the airplane you are going to be using? These are some of the many questions that arise when trying to determine whether or not to fly on a private charter jet and should be considered when comparing different companies' rates.

First of all, is the private jet charter operator keeping his planes well-maintained and inspected? All U.S. aircraft should be subject to inspection based on aircraft manufacturer's specifications--specifications that must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These inspections, depending on the plane type and size, will occur at set intervals of years and flight-time. The FAA rules that apply specifically to charter jet services are found in the FAA part 135 regulations. Many private jet charter companies use third party companies to conduct audits to confirm their compliance with the FAA regulations.

Pilots for private jet charter companies also comply with the Part 135 regulations. This includes being certified to fly certain types of aircraft, meeting the training requirements set forth by the FAA, and going through simulator training at set intervals. In addition to these requirements, the FAA requires scheduled drug tests, physicals, and flight checks. These regulations help to ensure that the pilots are fully qualified and that safety maintains a number one priority.

Another question you might ask is whether or not the chosen air charter company is outsourcing your flight to someone else. The airplanes that are used by private jet charter companies are typically owned by either wealthy individuals or corporations. Since the planes obviously are not in use constantly, many of these corporations and individuals will contract with air carriers registered with the FAA. This means that these air carriers are the ones who actually operate and service the aircraft and who train the pilots and technicians for the aircraft.

When deciding on how to best spend your money, and how the rates are going to compare, you might be concerned on how the weather will affect where you go and how much you pay. Some air charter companies will automatically check on the weather conditions that will influence your travel itinerary. This is to ensure safety, and it also helps the customer make an informed decision. Some companies might offer alternative destinations and even be able to take care of ground transportation costs to get you from the nearest alternative to where you need to be. Obviously you want to make sure that you are getting your money's worth, but many companies are dedicated to helping you get where you need to go safely.

Those involved in extensive travel may want to use private jet charters quite often. Another alternative to the one-time charter is the fractional ownership option. This is where a group of businesses or very wealthy individuals join together to pay for a private aircraft, and then share it amongst themselves. While this might seem to offer a greater amount of availability for the aircraft, it also might lead to some problems in availability when it is needed. The plane might be in a different region entirely being used by one of the other fractional owners. There are also concerns over whether there is an exit fee out of the option and any extra maintenance fees for the aircraft which might not have been stated up-front.

Many companies operate a flight-card option, though these will be more expensive up-front by requiring a membership fee. When purchasing a flight card it is also important to remember to check for other fees that might not be listed with the hourly rate for the plane, such as fuel costs, meal service costs, and charges for the crew, which may be billed separately. Many of these flight cards do offer discounts in certain areas and rewards programs, so it is certainly an option for you if you plan on traveling around a lot.

Private jet charter is not just for the rich and famous. In certain situations, you may find it to be the most efficient and most cost-effective solution for your business. Just be diligent to research all of the options and make sure your comparing the right numbers when you make your decision.