Fliers with flexibility should sign up for empty-leg email lists of companies like Magellan Jets, who regularly send out emails selling discounted flights from, say, the plane of a corporate exec who flew to Los Angeles but is looking to offset his cost of getting the plane back to New York. “I wouldn’t say that the cost of flying private has gone down, but there are new ways of pricing charter that makes it more accessible,” says David Zipkin, co-founder and VP of Tradewind, the service known for semi-private flights in the Northeast and Caribbean. “In our case, we save people money with our shared charters, and we also sell discounted empty legs.”
The very light jet (VLJ) is a classification initiated by the release of the Eclipse 500, on 31 December 2006, which was originally available at around US$1.5 million, cheaper than existing business jets and comparable with turboprop airplanes. It accompanied a bubble for air taxi services, exemplified by DayJet which ceased operations on September 2008, Eclipse Aviation failed to sustain its business model and filed for bankruptcy in February 2009.
The most economical option is chartering, which doesn't require any cash upfront (other than a deposit) through companies like Tradewind, Sentient, and Solairus, (which we took home from North Carolina). Of course, there are the old standbys like NetJets and Marquis, who sell fractional ownership (like 1/16th) of a single jet for upwards of $100K. One step down from that, pricewise, is the jet card, where you buy a set amount of hours from a company like Nicholas or Private Jet Services, and can use those hours for different planes. Then there are membership models like WheelsUp, where you pay $17,500 as an initiation fee to fly in their fleet, and then a $8,500 annual dues fee starting the second year. It's like a country club—only you're guaranteed access to a KingAir350i or Citation Excel / XLS instead of a golf course.
Charter, also called air taxi or ad-hoc flights require certification from the associated country's regulating body such as the FAA in the U.S. The regulations are differentiated from typical commercial/passenger service by offering a non-scheduled service. In the U.S. these flights are regulated under FAA Part 135. There are some cases where a charter operator can sell scheduled flights, but only in limited quantities.
Using a private jet rental to get to a holiday destination ensures the additional benefit of access to private terminals for faster security check-ins, ensuring that more time is spent enjoying the getaway instead of waiting in line. With its ability to access more locations around the world and enhanced potential for personalisation, chartering privately is the perfect way to travel for pleasure.
After a nap, why not wake up with coffee or entertain guests in the living room? This mockup represents part of the Melody interior product that Airbus can use when outfitting a plane. It includes larger entryways between the various zones of the plane (sleeping, working, relaxing, for example) instead of the traditional doors found on other private planes. Airbus
If you’re flexible both on when you fly and where you fly, you’ll likely get the best deals, says Trance. Call the company and ask about the cost differences between, say, a Saturday and a Tuesday and see if you can fly into a nearby airport. Fridays and Sundays tend to be the most expensive times to travel, says Justin Sullivan, the co-founder of FLITE Air Taxi. And, of course, last-minute deals can be significant so it may be worth waiting until about 72 hours before you want to fly to find deals, says Trance, though this is, of course, risky.
Waiting until the last minute isn’t an option for most travelers, of course. For those whose schedules can’t accommodate a last-minute booking, there are other options, though they can be pricier. West Coast airline Surf Air offers unlimited private plane flights to and from roughly a dozen California and Nevada locales like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Santa Barbara for $1,750 per month (plus a one-time $1000 initiation fee); the airline operates up to 90 flights each day and it added Monterey, Calif., to its list of itineraries on July 13, 2015.
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.
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.
Once you've got a price quote, it's worth the effort to call around and get three or four other quotes. Prices vary widely, and one of the most important things to know is that you will often be paying for the plane to get to you, also known as the repositioning fee. Additional charges, common to a lot of flights, include airport charges. At New Jersey's Teterboro, it's $100, while some airports with higher density have an added fee. There are also takeoff fees to consider.
No trip is alike. At XOJET we work with clients to select the right aircraft for each mission, the savviest method to flying smart. We believe in delivering the most value on every flight, which typically begins with selecting the right aircraft for the right mission. Each step of the way, your Aviation Advisor is committed to meeting your specific needs by presenting the most complete range of options and finding the best solution for your trip.