For example, we had three families on a Embraer Legacy, which is a 13-seat aircraft, for February half term. Because it’s three of them grouping up, it’s costing them about £7,000 for two families of four and one family of five. If you divide that up, it’s not as expensive as people think [£538 per person]. We’re seeing that more and more people are grouping up, putting more bums on seats and making it more affordable.
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.
If you do want to charter, the best way to find a good on-demand charter broker starts by asking your friends for their recommendations and then interviewing brokers much like you would choose a financial planner or interior decorator. Ask for client references. You should also check with the Better Business Bureau and Google both the company and name of the broker to see what comes up when you search adding words like "lawsuit" or "accident."
Peace of mind!!! My family and I just completed our first charter on a private jet with Stratos. My wife and I have been on a few of our friend’s charters before and I fly regularly on my company's aircraft but this was the first charter of our own. Stratos and specifically Joel Thomas made my wife and I feel that we were in great hands throughout the planning, selection and ultimately flight process. Family loved it!!! Great experience.
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.”
Chartering a jet may seem easy with online brokers saying it just takes a few taps on your smartphone, and in some cases that may be true. You've read the stories: "We're the Uber of private jets." But there’s more to chartering than just searching Google for a broker or browsing a list of operators, then calling and saying, “I have five people going to Phoenix and we want to leave Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. How much is a private jet? Do you have a G450?” When you charter on-demand, each trip you should spend the time to do some due diligence, and there are a wide variety of issues to cover. A few weeks ago, I was talking to one gentleman who told me a broker from a fairly well-known company was insisting a specific airplane type could fly a route nonstop. It couldn't.
If the paying customer – that person shelling out $5,000 to $20,000 per hour - cancels his or her trip, then your empty leg will also be cancelled. If you were going somewhere, make sure your hotel and car rental reservations can be changed without penalty. If you were using an empty leg to get home, make sure you also scan the airline schedules and availability so you have a backup plan. Most empty legs can be cancelled anytime before departure, and reasons can include that delays earlier in the day meant your pilots ran out of time to something on the inbound flight broke and needs to be fixed. Oh, and that’s it. You’ll get a refund of your money, but you’re usually on your own, perhaps sitting in a private jet terminal at an airport with no commercial flights.
There are potentially even better deals. JetSuite offers SuiteDeals for as little as $500 each way. You have to sign up on its website, but when I visited, it didn’t have any flights listed. Wheels Up has a program called 8760. You pay $6,900 annually and access empty legs for as little as $320. You also get entry to its hospitality at events at the Super Bowl, The Masters, other high profile confabs, plus an Inspirato Key Membership which normally has a $10,000 initiation fee and then $3,500 annual dues.
After your initial enquiry you will be assigned a personal charter expert who will send you a selection of quotes for you to choose from. Each quote will have a clear breakdown of aircrafts and airports and reasons they have been selected for you. Should you wish to go ahead they will then book the aircraft and send you all the flight details including directions to the terminal and any other important information. They will be your first point of call for any further enquiries you may have up to the flight and, if possible, they will meet you at the terminal. From your initial quote you will be able to contact your account manager 24/7 (if on holiday you will be assigned another account manager to cover) so you can call from wherever, whenever you like.