The Ups and Downs of Charter Flights
From vacation packages to deals on airfare, chartered flights can offer travelers easier, cheaper and flexible options compared to commercial flights. In 2011, more than 11,000 private jets were registered in the United States and the US accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world’s private jet market.
Charter flights are flights used for specific trips or compared to a regular commercial flight and does not adhere to a regular schedule. Companies can charter flights for business trips or retreats and travelers can book flights for vacations.
While flying on a private jet flight to a weekend getaway or chartering a flight for an important business meeting may offer convenience for travelers, there are benefits and risks associated with taking a private aircraft charter.
As with other forms of transportation, there are pros and cons to traveling by chartered flight and it’s important to know the benefits and risks of both sides before choosing this method of travel.
Benefits of Charter Flights
- Benefits: Charter flights don’t follow regular schedules or routes and companies and travelers can choose exactly where they want to go and get a direct flight to their destination. Commercial jets are required to cruise at 35,000 feet, but smaller jets, like those used for the average private jet flight don’t have to deal with air traffic by flying higher.
- Privacy: Those taking a private jet flight or a charter flight also have the benefit of privacy as charter flights take off from private terminals, known as FBOs or fixed based operators. Rather than waiting in line to board as with commercial flights, charter flight passengers simply drive up to the plane and get onboard.
- Perks: A private aircraft charter often comes with perks not always found on a commercial flight. Charter flights offer WiFi, satellite TV and can have several menu options to choose from if they’re craving a meal.
- Low Cost: Charter flights often cost less than commercial flights for groups and companies such as EvoJets allow you to calculate the potential cost of an upcoming trip and get an estimate, not to mention offering several types of private jets and other aircraft available for travel.
- Useful for Business: According to a 2009 survey, 20 percent of people said they are more productive on a company plane than in the office. Additionally, business people flying commercial reported a 40 percent drop in productivity.
Risks of Charter Flights
- High-Cost: If a traveler is purchasing a single ticket on a private aircraft charter, it can cost significantly more than if you purchase a ticket as part of a group rate. Individuals also have less flexibility getting seats on a charter flight.
- Stricter Penalties: Though charter flights are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), charter companies have stricter cancellation polices and often offer no refund even if a flight is cancelled on short notice.
- High Energy Cost: Charter flights typically use a lot of fuel and add a significant amount of air pollution.
Charter flights can offer companies and travelers more economical and flexible options for traveling, but there are benefits and risks to traveling this way. Charter flights and private jet flights offer privacy, flexibility and perks, but they can also be costly if seats on a flight are purchased individually. While it can be a convenient and comfortable way to travel, take care to weigh the pros and cons before booking a private aircraft charter.