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Tips to Help You Arrange Your First Charter Flight
You’re about to rent a jet for the first time in your life. Since chartering a flight is a little different from booking a reservation on a commercial flight, you may feel a little lost. The good news is that it won’t take long to educate yourself and know how to manage the task with relative ease.
By making use of the following tips, your first charter flight should be everything that you want it to be.
Settle on Your Departure and Return Dates
Before contacting the service, decide when you want to leave and when you want to return. That includes the time of day as well as the dates. This will make it easier for the charter service to check and let you know what they can do for you.
You may also want to come up with a backup plan. For example, it would be possible for you to leave a day earlier or maybe a little later on the day that you want to start the trip. Doing so provides some flexibility that may come in handy depending on what the service can offer.
Find Out Which Airport is Closest to Your Destination
One of the great things about using a charter service rather than a commercial flight is that charter jets can land in places that commercial airlines cannot. That includes regional and municipal airports not served by the major airlines. Depending on where you’re going, the ability to land in smaller airports could serve you well.
Assume your destination is an hour or more away from the largest city and it happens that there’s a smaller airport just outside your destination. Since the charter service can go to that smaller airport, you will want to book the flight so you land there rather than at the larger, distant airport.
Identify What You’ll Need During the Flight
Many charter services are set up to handle special needs. This includes transporting people with certain medical conditions or who otherwise need some type of attention. Make a list of any special needs that apply to you or anyone who might be traveling with you. That list will come in handy when you speak with a service representative.
Remember that you can include special needs like diet or room to accommodate a wheelchair. By making the need known at the time of booking, it’s much easier for the service to ensure everything is ready before you arrive at the airport.
Learn More About the Aircraft Used by the Charter Service
One aspect that even seasoned travelers sometimes overlook is learning a bit about the aircraft used by a specific charter service. Doing so makes is possible to determine how many seats are on each one, the features included in the design, and even if the jet is likely to be piloted by one or two professionals. Those details can come in handy depending on what sort of support you need during the flight.
Check Online Ratings and Reviews
As you begin to settle on one or two different services, take the time to see what others think about them. This is relatively easy to accomplish, since you can check popular websites set up for people to rate and review all sorts of business operations. The information you find will help you decide which service to contact first.
As you read the comments, pay close attention to what others share about the professionalism of the staff, the care given during the flights, and if all the desired features were present. Should you need some type of special attention, look for reviews that mention how these types of situations were handled. The information you learn from the reviews will help you decide if calling the service is worth the time, or if you need to move on to the second choice on the list.
Ask About the Possibility of Making Use of an Empty Leg Flight
You may not be familiar with the concept of an empty leg flight. This refers to a flight that does not have any paying travelers. An empty leg flight may be necessary in order for a charter service to ensure that there’s a jet waiting for a client in a specific city or at a particular airport. If the only way to accomplish that is to fly an empty leg flight from another city, that’s what the service will do.
This might work to your advantage. If there’s already a flight that must travel from your departure point to the city where you want to go, it may be possible to adjust your schedule and take it. In return, the service may be willing to charge a reduced rate.
Not all charter services make clients aware of empty leg flights. Make it a point to ask about any that may be occurring around the time you want to leave or to return home. That one question could save a tidy amount of money.
You Can Also Ask About Shared Rides
Shared rides are also something that you will want to ask about. It’s a great way to go if you don’t mind traveling with a small group of strangers. It could also save quite a bit of money.
With a shared ride, you could find yourself on a Boeing private jet with a few other people who are also leaving around the same time that you want to depart. Assuming they have indicated that they wouldn’t mind having someone outside their party travel with them, you could join the flight and pay a reduced rate. They in turn would also pay a slightly reduced rate. Everyone wins.
Pricing: Know How the Service Structures the Costs
You also want to know in advance how the service structures the costs for a charter flight. Many services base the costs on what’s known as the daily minimum. The refers to the minimum amount of travel time that you will need to pay.
Some services have daily minimums that are based on the hour. Others use 1.5 hours as the daily minimum. Even if your flight will only take 40 minutes, you’ll be paying for whatever daily minimum that the charter service has set rather than by the minute.
Remember that the representatives at the charter service are happy to answer any questions that come to mind. Take your time, plan carefully, and that first charter flight will be one of the best travel experiences of your life.
About the Author
Matt Reed lives in Toronto, Canada. He is a freelance writer and editor, tech geek, and stay at home father.