JetSmarter, around since 2013, is an example of a player in the private aviation space selling shared flights. The company operates on a membership model: Fliers pay a minimum of $15,000 a year and book seats on already scheduled flights through the JetSmarter app, which lists more than 150 domestic and international trips a day. Trips under three hours are included in the cost of the membership while longer ones are an average of $300 a person, according to Sergey Petrossov, the company’s chief executive officer; most flights have an average of eight to 10 passengers.
And FLITE Air Taxi offers a la carte private plane flights for reasonable rates: A flight from Boston to Saratoga, N.Y. costs $541 per person (you will need six people to fill the plane, so $3,250 for the whole flight), as does one from New York City to Martha’s Vineyard and from Block Island to Worcester, Mass.; this does not include federal excise taxes (7.5% of the cost of the flight) but does include other fees.
There are two major differences between private charter and scheduled airline service: cost and flexibility. While booking a flight via jet services companies is generally more expensive, they provide a much higher degree of flexibility. With Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc. your charter will fly on YOUR schedule to the domestic or international destination of YOUR choice. Our service to both major and general aviation airports gives you access to more than ten times as many domestic destinations as scheduled airline service. In addition, we have international experience operating in more than 80 countries.
Ms. Broder frequently books private jets for clients and gets a weekly list from several private jet companies of empty leg availability for the coming week (other agents specializing in private jet travel also get similar lists). Recent flights included an $8,500 trip from Naples to Cleveland on a Beechjet 400A, a plane that seats seven people, and a $6,500 trip from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Colorado Springs on a Learjet 45XR, accommodating eight fliers.
Operating leases are generally short-term (less than 10 years in duration), making them attractive when aircraft are needed for a start-up venture, or for the tentative expansion of an established carrier. The short duration of an operating lease also protects against aircraft obsolescence, an important consideration in many countries due to changing noise and environmental laws. In some countries where airlines may be deemed less creditworthy (e.g. the former Soviet Union), operating leases may be the only way for an airline to acquire aircraft. Moreover, it provides the flexibility to the airlines so that they can manage fleet size and composition as closely as possible, expanding and contracting to match demand.
A public charter is one in which a tour operator rents the aircraft and advertises and sells seats to members of the public, either directly or through a travel agent. In the case of public charters, the flight must be filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the tour operator must supply a charter prospectus. The tour operator also must assume a legal responsibility to provide the transportation service, and must abide by DOT requirements for the protection of the clients' money. Public charters often operate only seasonally, and are often sold as part of a vacation package deal, although spare seats may be offered at bargain prices.
Lastly, don't be afraid to ask about safety: Any reputable operator should have safety information prominently featured on their website, and won't mind answering questions about their pilots, such as how many hours they have flown. (At least 250 hours, which is what it takes to get a commercial license; NetJets mandates at least 2,500 hours; Wheels Up, mandates 7,000 hours for a captain and 4,000 for a first officer.) Gollan suggests fliers ask if the pilot has any health issues, and feel free to ask if the operator (or plane itself) have any accidents or incidents in its history.
Aircraft charter brokers have entered the marketplace through the ease of setting up a website and business online. Aircraft charter operators are legally responsible for the safe operation of aircraft and charter brokers require no economic authority and are largely unregulated. The Department of Transportation requires that air charter brokers disclose to the consumer that they do not operate aircraft and cannot use terms like "our fleet of aircraft", "we operate", "our charter service" and others.