Of course, once you find a couple good brokers who know your specific preferences for aircraft types and operators – there are over 2,000 charter operators in the U.S. they can access -- your broker can do much of the screening for you. That said, the brokerage side of the business is unregulated and there are more than 7,500 aircraft in the U.S. that are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration under Part 135 to operate revenue charter flights, with each operator having varying standards and procedures. From the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), below are questions they recommend that you ask your broker.
Having used many charter companies before with mixed experiences, I can say with confidence that Stratos has the best service and highest level of professionalism of any of the charter services I have encountered. Most recently, we had an unfortunate last minute cancellation of a charter booked through another service, and Stratos came through at the last minute to find the right plane at the right price for us with under 24 hour notice. I cannot thank them enough for their professionalism as well as their willingness and ability to go above and beyond to find the right charter for us - even as a first time customer.
Most of all, the questions from NBAA will quickly reveal how knowledgeable the person on the other end of the phone is about what they are selling. ARGUS and Wyvern both certify brokerage houses, but keep in mind, within any company that may have dozens of brokers, the quality and know-how of the individual brokers varies much like massage therapists at a spa. Remember, you're spending a lot of money to charter a plane. If the broker doesn't have time now to answer questions about their experiences, how they source aircraft, and so forth, what will you get when there's a problem?
Joel and Stratos are amazing! He made sure our flight was tailored perfectly and was very responsive and always available for contact. They catered specifically to our needs with late notice. The pilots were fantastic and patient, especially considering we had three animals and arrived 10 minutes before take-off. They provided the smoothest flight in the Hawker we’ve ever taken. Stratos offered transportation to and from; the boarding process was welcoming and convenient. We will only fly privately with Stratos Jets through Joel and his team. Thank you guys for everything!
You will be told how much the hold can take on your chosen aircraft and can upgrade if you feel more space is needed. This will generally be far more than that of a commercial airline. You may also need to upgrade if carrying things like golf clubs and skis. If travelling with a gun, you will need to provide a license and the gun and ammunition must be kept separate. It is then at the captain’s discretion whether it can be on board.