Over the past several years, global economic conditions led to record levels of pre-owned private aircraft listed for sale, ranging from smaller, propeller-driven airplanes to the largest, most advanced, and most luxurious intercontinental business jets. This truly resulted in a ‘buyer’s market,’ with purchasers able to select from a high number of quality aircraft, often for comparatively low prices.
An affinity charter is slightly different in that, although all of the passengers are affiliated with a specific business, group or organization, each pays his own air fare. The passengers might sports or music fans traveling to a special event, or a bunch of friends going on vacation. With this type of charter, none of the seats can be sold to members of public.
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.
Paul Cappuccio, who lives in Greenwich, Conn., and is the general counsel for Time Warner, flew to Miami on Blade most weekends last winter and plans to do the same this year. “It’s such a relaxed way to fly, an elegant experience and so hassle-free,” he said. While not necessarily budget-friendly, Mr. Cappuccio said that Blade hits the sweet spot on price. “It’s not all that much more than a full-fare first-class ticket, but a small fraction of what it would cost to fly on a chartered private jet,” he said.
Those living on the East Coast will soon be able to fly with Beacon, another monthly membership airline, which will begin flying later this summer, starting with 18-20 daily flights between New York and Boston, as well as seasonally in the Hamptons and Nantucket. Memberships start at $2,000 per month (plus a $1000 initiation fee, which will be waived if you join before Sept. 1, 2015).
Because a charter flight is not part of a scheduled service, the flight will depart when you want it to. You are also able to choose which cities you fly to and from. Charter Flights are particularly convenient when you need to travel to a city where scheduled airline service may require multiple connections or layovers before you reach your destination.
PrivateJets.com is an online charter marketplace brought to you by Sentient Jet, the largest arranger of private air charter in the U.S. Sentient was founded in 1999 and has over ten years of leadership and experience in private aviation. PrivateJets.com was created to provide a comprehensive online resource for all types of private jet travelers.
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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.