Flying on a private jet seems like it is unobtainable for most people. However, not only is flying on a private jet more attainable than you might think, but it also provides a host of benefits over something like first class.
In the current pandemic climate chartering a private jet is a preferable option over flying commercially. A private jet has fewer people on and you will know the other passengers so have greater control over who might be infected. Through the process you will also encounter fewer people as you will be going through a private terminal. If you are chartering with a reputable broker or operator (which you will be thanks to this guide), the aircraft are likely to be cleaned more thoroughly and more frequently than commercial aircraft.
Once you have decided to take the plunge and rent (also known as chartering) a private jet it can be a daunting process to arrange that first flight. Here is a step by step guide of the best methods to arrange an on-demand charter.
Broker, Operator, Jet Card or Fractional Ownership?
When looking to rent a private jet these are likely to be the terms that you will come across. If this is your first time renting a private jet, you rent infrequently or your route and aircraft type change regularly, use a private jet charter broker.
A private jet charter broker is the middleman between you and the companies that actually own the aircraft. While one might expect the middleman to increase the price compared with going direct to the company that have the aircraft, it is actually quite the opposite. Using a broker is likely to save you a chunk of money.
These brokers have access to thousands of operators around the globe and gets quotes back from each one for the route you wish to book. The brokers also have relationships with the operators so are likely to give a better price than if you were to walk through the door of an operator saying you want a plane.
Even when you are familiar with the chartering process keep using a broker to keep the price lower and it removes a whole lot of hassle.
When you are booking through a broker for one flight it is referred to as an on-demand charter. One up from this is the jet card. If you are flying regularly then you can purchase a jet card which is an upfront fee for a block amount of time in the sky.
The other option to consider is fractional ownership from a company like NetJets. Here you buy a proportion of an aircraft (say 1/16th), much like buying a part of a racehorse. This option is best to consider when you are flying a lot and within a certain distance.
For the purposes of this guide we will be talking through using an on-demand broker service. The best option for new customers, varied trip distances and infrequent travel (around once a month as a rough guide).
Knowing the Terminology
Before taking the next steps, it is worthwhile spending some time finding aircraft that you like the look of. If you are going on a long flight and looking at large jets find a couple of models that suit your needs. You can research aircraft and compare them here.
By having a bit of knowledge before moving onto the next stage and contact brokers you are going to speed up the process and help your broker know exactly what you are looking for. If you look at the aircraft and don’t know what to think, then explain this to your broker.
Where do I Find a Broker?
Great! So, you have decided that you want to rent your private jet using a private jet broker, but that’s easier said than done?
A common choice is to type “private jet charter” into Google and click on of the results. This is by no means an ineffective method. This technique will place you in the hands of a company like PrivateFly, Air Charter Service or Private Jet Charter.
These are all great companies who will be able to arrange a flight for you. However, there are lots of other brokers out there who have additional strengths.
A good method is to consider and compare private jet charter brokers here. You can filter using the criteria that is most important to you, such as safety record, response speed and ease of use.
Be sure to contact a few brokers (minimum three), in order to get a variety of quotes as brokers will give you wildly different prices. Some charge more because the service and scrutiny are higher, however, some charge more because they can. When you get your quote decide whether the service they are providing is worth the additional cost.
When speaking with your broker ask as many questions as you can think of. Ask about safety, ask about costs, ask about carbon offset programs. The more question the better. If they are a reputable broker (which they will be using our free comparison tool), they will be more than happy to answer these questions.
If they can’t give you a straight answer or don’t want to help, instantly walk away. Just think, if they are reluctant to answer simple questions before a flight and the exchange of cash, think about how they will act if there is a problem with your flight. For a list of potential questions to ask click here.
I’ve Got my Quote – Now what?
After you have contacted a broker for a quote for your selected route, they are likely to call or email you to find out some additional details, then get back to you with a range of aircrafts and prices.
The job of the broker is also to weed out the inappropriate aircraft and present to you only the best options. The next stage is to decide on which aircraft you want to charter. Keep in mind that not all private jets were created equal. Much like brokers, some aircraft will be more expensive because they are better, some are more expensive because they can be.
When you have the options ask for your brokers opinion. If you tell them your needs, they are experts in the industry and will be able to advise you on the aircraft that will suit your needs.
Be sure to also do your own research, either by searching for the aircraft on Google, or compare the aircraft with each other here. You will find detailed information on each aircraft so that you can make an informed choice on the best aircraft for your needs.
I’ve Made My Choices – Job Done?
Once you have arranged the time, date, route and aircraft things are now ready to get locked in. Once everything has been confirmed you can start to send over passport details, sign the contracts and transfer the money.
Policies vary from broker to broker about refund policies and when the payments are due so be sure to check with your chosen broker how their company processes payments and the final booking stage.
Enjoy the Flight!
Once you have discussed your needs with your broker and everything has been booked then the next step is to take the flight.
Flying private will allow you to arrive twenty minutes before departure, zip through security with no queue and meet the pilots personally. Brokers will be able to fine tune details with you such as airport transfers, arrival times and in-flight meals.
Find a Broker You Like but Keep Getting Quotes
Once you find a broker that you like and trust the process will become far more efficient. The more you fly the more you will learn about different aircraft and really fine tune your preferences.
Using a repeat broker is great as they will know your preferences and you will know what you are in for. But, beware, brokers know that you keep coming back to them so may start to slightly increase the price over a new customer. When you book your additional flights consider still getting quotes from other brokers so you can make sure the price is still competitive.
If you really want to impress your broker check out our list of common terms used when chartering a private jet.