Are these lower prices the reason more Americans are chartering planes? Virtuoso’s statistics indicate that the number of private charter trips increased by 10 percent from 2014 to 2016, and statistics from the research company Euromonitor show that the number of passengers in the United States who chartered planes increased from 4.88 million in 2013 to 5.32 million in 2016 (this number excludes helicopter charters).
Diener recommends checking out FlyVictor.com, as it compares the cost of private jet travel across different airlines. He says that JetSuite.com is the best known for last-minute deals. You may also want to consider having a broker do the heavy lifting for you, says Trance; brokers typically work on commission, so ask them what their commission is before booking and how you pay it, and tell them your all-in price tolerance ahead of time.
As Rachel Raymond from West Orange, N.J., tells it, the day last August when she flew on a private jet ranks as one of the most unreal experiences of her life. Ms. Raymond, and her husband, Daniel, along with their three children, took a flight in a seven-seat jet, a Cessna Citation III, complete with two pilots and a well-stocked bar, from Westchester County Airport, in White Plains, N.Y., to upstate Saratoga Springs. The Raymonds had decided to take an impromptu trip to Lake George because they had found a last-minute deal where they could fly on that route for only $500.
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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.
Equipment trust certificate (ETC): Most commonly used in North America. A trust of investors purchases the aircraft and then "leases" it to the operator, on condition that the airline will receive title upon full performance of the lease. ETCs blur the line between finance leasing and secured lending, and in their most recent forms have begun to resemble securitization arrangements.
Prospective aircraft buyers often look for private jets for sale by searching Google, gathering information on various makes & models and their performance characteristics, and on condition, age, price and other information about specific jets for sale. Most private airplane buyers use standard phrases like: "private jets for sale", "private jets on sale" or "private jets on market" for their search. Some prefer more specific terms that may include a manufacturer’s name along with the aircraft model number, and configuration features such as a particular upgraded avionics package. Searching for aircraft for sale online using very specific terms may miss some listings due to variations in identification, for example “Gulfstream G550” vs. “Gulfstream G-550.” More inclusive searches, such as “Gulfstream, large-cabin jet” yield more results.
No matter what company you're flying with, be sure to ask if there two pilots or one. (Though two pilots are standard on commercial flights, regulations vary for private planes of all sizes.) It also helps to ask if the operator owns the plane—typically, companies that own their planes offer better service. Never forget to ask about daily minimums and taxi fees. "If the hourly rate is $9,000 and you have a single 40-minute flight, you might assume you are going to pay $6,000," says Doug Gollan, creator of PrivateJetCardComparisons.com. "But if your provider has a daily minimum of 1.5 hours, you are going to actually be charged $13,500, plus taxi time, which in my comparisons I have found varies between being included and up to 12 minutes per segment."
Ms. Broder booked a jet charter this March from New Jersey to Las Vegas for her client Steven Michaels, an entrepreneur from Cherry Hill, N.J., and seven of his friends. The trip was in celebration of several of the men turning 50, and the group wanted an extravagant getaway. First-class tickets worked out to close to $2,000 a person round trip, while chartering an eight-seat Citation III jet was $3,500 each. When presented with both options, Mr. Michaels said that going private was a no-brainer. “The journey was like paying for a high-end tour or excursion and ended up being one of the most fun parts of the trip,” he said.
Charter operators own or manage private jets for multiple clients. Like traditional flight departments, charter companies handle all aspects of aircraft operation and maintenance. However, they are not aligned with just one corporation. They manage aircraft for a private owner or corporation and also handle the sales of available flight time on the aircraft they own or manage. Maintenance services can also be provided which typically include on-site or mobile repair, major and minor routine inspections, troubleshooting assistance away from base, avionics installation and repair, jet engine and battery service, interior modifications and refurbishment, Inspection Authority (IA) qualified inspectors, aircraft planning and budgetary projections, compliance with service bulletins, aircraft storage management, record keeping and management, technical appraisal of private jet purchases, leases and lease terminations, and Part 91 or Part 135 conformity inspections.