Choosing a private jet broker seems like it should be a simple affair. A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of brokers who are all too happy to assist you with your flight arrangements. Most, if not all, claim to have access to thousands upon thousands of aircraft through their well-established network of operators.
The process then should be phenomenally simple, right? You search “Private Jet Charter” on Google, click a few links, see a company that you like the look up, give them a call and that’s your aircraft book.
Unfortunately, the process of booking a private jet is not quite as simple as saying “3 passengers to Las Vegas on Wednesday in a G280 please.” The case here is that, as with almost everything in life, equality is lacking. Not all private jet brokers are the same. Not all have the same contacts, same safety standards and same contact levels. The problem arises in given the fact that the broker industry is largely unregulated, with almost anyone being able to register a company name and start taking bookings.
Therefore it is crucial to find a broker that you can trust, who can screen all the operators correctly and knows which aircraft will suit you preferences. Of course, we would recommend doing some research into the aircraft yourself – our compare aircraft feature is great for boning up on your knowledge (check it out here).
So, the burning question, how do you find the right private jet charter broker to start with? Well, a great place to start is our comparing charters page (which you can find here), while also looking out for some key areas.
Our comparing private jet charter page will give you some great insights into their safety score, ease of use (such as if they have an app and ease of finding information), how quickly they respond to your enquiry, average user reviews and whether or not you can get an instant quote. These scores are all relative and give you are great place to start by selecting the factors that are most important to you. However, of course, we would still recommend contacting a selection of charter brokers, especially if it is your first time, to get a feel for each company.
Once you have selected the charter brokers that you wish to get in contact with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), recommends asking the following questions to your broker.
Background and Experience:
- Who is the FAA-certificated charter operator that will conduct our charter flights? What experience does the operator have? How long has the operator been in business as an air charter operator?
- What type of aircraft is on the charter certificate? What years were the aircraft manufactured? What, if any, major refurbishments (interior, flight equipment, paint, etc.) were completed on the aircraft, and when?
- How many aircraft and crew does the charter operator have? Has the FAA ever taken enforcement action against the operator or one of its flight crew members?
- What experience does the crew have? How many flight hours total time? How many hours in make/model of each aircraft?
- If special operations (for example, mountain airports, extended over water) will be conducted, what experience (initial and recurrent) does the crew have with these operations?
Safety and Security:
- What is the operator’s safety record? Has the charter operator had any aircraft accidents or incidents? If so, what measures has the operator implemented to ensure increased safety?
- Has the charter operator been audited by an independent third-party organization? What were the audit findings, and how does the charter operator compare to other charter companies? There are three third-party resources that you will typically see reference, ARGUS, and IS-BAO, which both have three levels and Wyvern Wingman.
- What do you and your guests need to do to comply with the operator’s security programs?
- How often is training provided to the crew and what is covered in the training? For example, does the charter operator provide training above and beyond the minimum training requirements established by the FAA?
- Where is the training conducted? Is the initial and recurrent training provided in a simulator or the aircraft?
- What is the charter operator’s policy on crew flight time and duty limits? If a possible customer trip goes beyond the crew flight/duty times, how would the charter operator conduct the mission and maintain their policies?
- Will there be a flight attendant on board the flight? Is the flight attendant assigned to your flight trained for the specific make/model of aircraft you are flying on?
- Is the aircraft equipped with a defibrillator and are the crew trained in its use? Does the aircraft have a subscription to an in-flight medical assistance program in case of medical emergency?
- Who maintains the aircraft? If it is not maintained by a factory service center, how often are the maintenance technicians sent for training specific to that make/model aircraft?
- How does the operator handle maintenance situations that might arise during a trip you have booked?
- If you are planning an international flight, what experience does the operator have flying to and within the countries you wish to visit?
- What specific safety and security measures does the operator implement when conducting operations in that region?
- Will the charter operator assist with immigration and customs logistics, such as visas and customs forms?
- Do the pilots, flight attendants and other employees receive customer service training? How are they and how are they measured?
- What is the operator’s customer satisfaction rating? What documentation does the operator have to support that?
- How soon prior to the scheduled flight will the aircraft be at the airport, ready for departure? I’ve found with jet card companies, they sometimes have agreements that the aircraft are there at least an hour before. Some jet card companies require the operators they use to position the aircraft at your airport the night before for early morning departures or if there are weather issues expected.
- To whom should you complain regarding flight irregularities, safety, or customer service letdowns? Is there someone available 24/7 in case you have any of these concerns?
- What company issues the aviation insurance policy? What are the charter operator’s insurance coverage and limits?
- Will the charter operator name you as an additional insured person?
- Will the charter operator provide you with a waiver of subrogation and a certificate of insurance confirming the coverage and aircraft that will be used for the flight?
- How will the charter company accommodate you if there is a problem and the aircraft becomes unavailable after you booked and paid for the trip? Will the operator find another charter operator to conduct the flight?
- If a problem is encountered and a substitute charter operator is to be used, who is that operator and what are the substitute’s answers to these pre-screening questions?