It pays to book further ahead. On the whole, most private jet customers book very late. On those peak days, less availability in the market means customers might have to charter a jet to come in from further afield, which makes it more expensive, or they might need to charter for a larger aircraft than they need because all the smaller jets are already chartered. It is very rare that we can’t charter someone, but the costs are simply altered by availability or location of available aircraft.
I travel regularly for business and have booked charter flights through a number of different private jet companies. At the beginning of the year, I was referred to Joel at Stratos. Since then, I have booked a number of flights through Stratos. His team does a great job ensuring we have a seamless travel experience. I would definitely recommend Stratos to others.
Of course, the cheapest way to fly privately is to have a friend who invites you on their flight. Then there are the semi-private charters like JetSmarter, JetSuiteX and JetClass where you can buy a seat on a scheduled private jet and corporate shuttle flight sharing it with strangers, much like if you were on a commercial airline. You can buy tickets on these flights for under $200 and you do avoid those crowded main airport terminals. However, if you want to have the real deal experience, chartering your own private jet, you are looking at something between $5,000 and up to $20,000 per hour depending on the size of aircraft and routing.
Within reason, many more things in private aviation are possible then they are in commercial airlines. A very common filter that people would want to know is the aircraft’s age. They would want know, “can I have an aircraft that’s less than five years old?” Depending on the culture of who is travelling, we will sometimes have people that only want male pilots, for example, or they want a smoking aircraft in some cases, or they want to take their pets on board, or they want a particular colour interior. Sometimes you will have requests like the aircraft has to fly at a certain altitude because a passenger has poor health, and they only want to fly at a certain altitude. You’re not going to phone up Ryanair and ask that.
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.
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.