When you play the empty leg market, you need to be very flexible and understand that there’s a decent chance your empty leg may not happen or might be moved. If the customer chartering the inbound flight wants to leave a few hours later, your flight will be delayed. On the flip side, your planned departure could be suddenly moved up because Mr. Big wants to leave earlier.
We had quite a number of issues booking this trip, which resulted in add'l work and follow up for me. As broker these issues should have been handled / caught prior to making a proposal. I believe I had to sign 4 different revised quote sheets for this trip! Also the final signed sheet stated we would land in LFMD on the return leg. Hence we booked transportation for pick up at LFMD. However flight landed in LFMN. This caused add'l stress and expense for no reason. I have only now seen that the last itinerary link showed an arrival at LFMN - but I never opened this one since all previous ones, including the contract reconfirmation showed LFMD. As for the aircraft itself: it was one of the oldest ones I have ever flown. The door / separation to the toilet / luggage area was broken (not the lock but the entire frame!) and the toilet was not accessible due to a lot of "stuff" (amenities, water bottles, etc.) being thrown in / stored in the area. Overall cleanliness was not superb either. Finally, the catering we requested was not available / not complete. Breakfast (eggwhite and sausage!!) was cold and wet and the fruitplatter had molded grapes; no ice bucket, nor champagne glasses were present. On the return leg, fruitplatter was nice but again no ice bucket nor champagne glasses were present. As a matter of fact, the soft drink container was not even replenished w new ice!! So overall - yes, we flew from A to B but the service experience was disappointing.
I have been around private aircraft and charter companies for over 20 years. Based on that experience, I can say that ExecuJet has provided me with excellent service and aircraft. They always have been able to meet my needs and surpass my expectations. A company is successful because of its people and certainly the people at ExecuJet are wonderful to work with. I will continue to be a part of the ExecuJet family for many years to come.
From pre-trip planning to updates via text message on your way to the airport, Stratos had us covered. We made our way from Emirates @ JFK and the FOB transfer was easy. Joel had already updated Julie (my assistant) before we landed that there were long delays out of JFK due to weather. The transfer to FBO was easy and they were expecting us. The plane was comfortable and modern and the crew could not have been kinder. Thank you guys as always for a great trip. Flight was great and the crew took us right past the storms and my one year old son slept the whole trip; a much needed reprieve for my wife and I.
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.
For most private jet journeys it is normally easy to add extra passengers onto the flight at the last minute. However to save any embarrassment with or delays for your guests, it is advisable to check with PrivateFly first. Some destinations (such as Russia) require pre-clearance of customers. Also for shorter runways, there may be a limitation on the maximum number of passengers due to the aircraft landing and take off weight limits.
My experience with Stratos has been very good since I started booking jets several years ago. Joel and his team provide excellent service and followup at every stage. We recently had a flight where the incoming plane had a mechanical and they were able to replace it with a comparable one within just a few hours. Our original take off time was only missed by less than a half hour. The Stratos team communicated with us all along the way and everything was fine. The pilots are very good at what they do and the ground organization is thorough and efficient. I would recommend them to a friend.
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!