Can You Fly in a Private Jet for the Price of a Business Class Ticket?
By Alexander Cohen
Astonishingly, a New York Times article entitled, “Try a Private Jet, at Public Prices” claims you can sometimes ride a chartered jet for less than you’d pay for a business class ticket. Here’s how you might pull that neat little trick off.
- Find one-way discounts at the last minute offered by carriers that must occasionally fly their planes to a specific location without passengers.
- Use social media to find others who might split the cost. For example, a private jet company announced a program whereby passengers may charter a four-passenger plane and then offer seats through a social networking website.
- Use an air charter broker.
How to Research Your Charter Company or Broker
You’ll probably want to carefully research every aspect of a trip when you’re entrusting two pilots, flight attendants and an aircraft made of metal, rivets and electrical wiring to keep you alive for hours on end at 35,000 feet. Here’s how.
- Find a list of charter companies and brokers by searching for “listings of private charter jet companies”.
- Verify that the company can document its qualifications. First, make sure the firm has an “Air Carrier Certification” demonstrating that it has FAA Part 135 air taxi certification. This document lets the enterprise offer charter flights, so don’t even think about hiring anyone unless she produces that Certification.
- Determine that the company maintains adequate insurance. Many firms have $50 million to $100 million coverage for small jets, $100 million for mid-sized aircraft and up to $500 million for large planes. Consider flying only with enterprises which maintain insurance in the higher range, because often those firms audit the charter operators to determine the quality of their maintenance and pilots.
- Demand superb customer service since you’re paying a lot of money for this luxury. The company should offer one person to coordinate your trip and make someone available to you around the clock.
- Visit the company in person if possible, because that activity will provide you with valuable information. For example, you can tell if the building is clean and well organized, and you can look its people in the eye as you discuss your needs with them.
- Determine the type of plane you require.
- Qualify the pilot. People who operate larger planes must have more hours flying that type of vehicle. Ask the firm to show you the FAA document stating the amount of hours she must have earned to give her the right to fly the plane you’ll ride; then, have the company provide you with proof that the pilot has flown those hours.
- Negotiate a price.
How to Determine the Type of Plane You Need
Of course the most important factor determining the price you’ll play is the type of plane you plan to fly. You have many choices. Some might say “far too many.”
- Select Turboprops for short flights. These hold from six to nine people.
- Choose a light jet for travel up to 500 miles with six to eight people.
- Select mid-size jets for nonstop north-south trips. These jets can travel at 500 mph and hold seven or eight people.
- Travel on a super-mid-sized plane for trips up to 3,000 miles. These jets fly six to eight passengers.
- Demand nothing but the best if you’re a rock star or movie celebrity by securing a heavy jet which can move 12 to 18 people nonstop (hopefully) across the pond.
Whenever I go to the airport, I fantasize skipping the squalling babies and rude “security” officers by flying in a private jet. Now I know that I can actually do that, and so might you.