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.
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.
Depending on who you believe 30-to-50% of all private jet flights are ferry flights. However, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily dirt cheap. Magellan Jets, which sells jet cards and on-demand charter also offers empty legs, and while you have to contact the company for pricing, it says rates start at $3,000 per hour. Airstream Jets enables visitors to its website to download a list of active empty legs and while most of the 13 listings were for the next two weeks, there were flights posted through mid-November, one an empty leg in September on a Gulfstream G-IVSP from New York to London for $49,900. Another broker quoted the same date and route at $92,000. Even more attractive was a G500 charter this weekend from Palermo, Italy to New York for $35,000. Quotes for a non-empty leg charter that I received from another broker for random dates in August started at $111,000.
Private charter flights offer a range of advantages for busy professionals, including time-efficiency. From quicker check-ins to faster transit times, private jet hire is the perfect way to fulfil multiple meetings in different cities, carry out several site visits in one day or simply have more of an opportunity to remain productive while travelling.