Private flying has always been about luxury, privacy, and comfort. Whether you fly for business or pleasure, you’ll enjoy a prestigious experience worth every dime when chartering flights.
According to International Airport Review, 2021 was a record year in private aviation. Airlines operated 3.3 million charter flights worldwide — 7% more than in 2019.
If you are wondering what is a charter flight, you are in the right place.
This guide will answer that question in detail, introduce the pros and cons, compare private charter types, and more. In essence, you’ll learn how to book a charter flight to enjoy a first-class experience.
Let’s dive in.
What is a charter flight?
A private jet charter flight is an unscheduled flight you book for a specific itinerary. Unlike commercial flights, it doesn’t operate on a predetermined airline schedule but has a unique, direct route. That’s why many people prefer chartering flights vs flying commercial.
What does “chartering flights” mean?
When you charter a flight, you book an entire aircraft for yourself or a group of people. You pick the destination, the date, the departure and arrival times, the passengers, the airport, the jet, and the crew — including the pilot.
You can also choose the cuisine, pre-ordering your favorite food and beverages to enjoy a five-star restaurant service. You can even bring your pet on board!
Pros of chartering flights
Whether you travel alone, with family, friends, or colleagues, chartering a flight will provide a high-class experience.
You’ve seen what it looks like in movies — spacious cabins, sophisticated seating, high-tech features, mood lighting, exceptional service, and other high-end features exuding glamor. It gives a new meaning to traveling in style.
Here are the top benefits of flying private that turn every flight into a one-of-a-kind journey to remember.
So here is how flying private can benefit you:
1. It is convenient and time-saving
Chartering a flight means saving considerable time. You can skip the check-in and airport security lines because you depart from a private terminal or fixed-base operator (FBO). You can arrive shortly before departure (approximately 5-15 minutes instead of the regular two hours) and only show your ID to get on board.
Most air charter services offer personal drivers to take passengers directly to the runway. Someone can also wait for you when you arrive, maximizing your time.
Since you are in charge of the flight schedule, you can select the most convenient time to travel. You don’t have to worry about connecting flights or transfers because your charter is direct and will land at your chosen airport — you’ll probably pick the one closest to your destination.
There’s also no waiting at the baggage claim — the staff will get the bags for you.
2. You have complete privacy and avoid crowds
Departing from an FBO means avoiding chaos at the terminal — ideal during the holidays or other busy days at the airport. You can enjoy a faster, stress-free experience every time you fly private.
You can have complete privacy, not worrying about sitting next to strangers, people talking too loud during a long flight, or someone overhearing your conversation. You can sit back and relax.
Charter flights are perfect when traveling with children because they’ll feel more comfortable away from the crowds. You know what that means: fewer tantrums, no headaches, and a pleasant flight.
3. It comes with a fully custom service that best suits you
Every charter flight provides exclusive, custom service. That shouldn’t be surprising since you book an entire aircraft.
You choose the meals, snacks, drinks, and in-flight amenities like movies, TV shows, and games. High-end stereo systems, fast Wi-Fi, and various entertainment options make it feel like you’re in a home above the clouds.
You can enjoy a personalized service that perfectly suits your needs. Whether you want to spend quality time with family, take a long nap, hold a business meeting, or host a party, the crew will ensure maximum comfort and a luxurious experience.
4. It is better for the environment
Private jets are smaller than their commercial counterparts, thus releasing fewer CO2 emissions. Many air charter companies also have carbon offsetting programs, allowing travelers to buy credits to offset their flight’s emissions.
They use the credits to contribute to renewable energy, reforestation, and other projects that help reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.
5. Safety and comfort are on the highest level
Flying is the safest way to travel — it doesn’t matter if you choose a private or commercial airline because they all follow the highest FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations and safety standards.
However, charter flights offer additional safety benefits.
With fewer people, there is less human contact, which is especially beneficial in the pandemic era. You don’t have to worry about health and safety on a private jet since you’ll be flying with just your closest friends and family.
According to Statista’s 2021 survey, 38% of people say their pre-COVID-19 private flying habits won’t change much after the pandemic. Slightly fewer (30%) travelers will fly “a bit more,” while 20% will choose charter jets “much more.” Health and hygiene concerns are some of the top reasons behind the higher demand for private flights.
Things to have in mind when chartering flights
Although chartering flights has many benefits, there are some important things to consider:
- Price: Charter flights have a higher price tag than their commercial counterparts. It’s pretty logical — they have fewer passengers. They must cover the costs of putting a jet in the air, including airport fees, maintenance, food, beverage, transportation, and paying the crew. The private jet charter rental cost can vary significantly but you can easily find an airplane to suit your needs and your budget.
- Possible baggage restrictions: Like commercial flights, their charter equivalents restrict how many bags you can put in the hold and bring into the cabin. Check the number of allowed bags, including their dimensions and weight, before picking out the perfect innovative private jet luggage for your luxurious experience.
- More planning requirements: Booking a commercial flight requires simply reserving a seat —- unless you don’t care where you sit. Renting an entire airplane, or buying seats on a charter flight, is another story. You’re responsible for the flight schedule, the food and drinks menu, entertainment options, and other in-flight amenities. But a reliable aviation brokerage company like JetFinder can handle everything for you. Also, you won’t overpay high brokerage commissions and will book directly at operators’ prices. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Types of charter flights
You can choose from four types of charter flights to enjoy the most comfortable and luxurious travel experience. You only need to consider your needs and preferences to pick the most suitable charter. Here’s more about each type.
A private charter is a flight you book for yourself or a group of people. You rent an entire aircraft, plan the route, pick the airport and the crew, set the departure date and time, and arrange in-flight amenities, including meals and entertainment services.
Some private jets can hold only several people, while others are suitable for 100 or more passengers. Regardless of their passenger size, only one person can rent them.
That person receives an invoice for renting a private aircraft and cannot sell seats to other parties. However, they can always split the costs with other passengers afterward.
Public charters are flights with limited schedules and set departure and arrival times. They’re typically available during the tourist season and fly once or twice weekly.
You can’t book an entire public charter for yourself or a group of people; you can only buy individual seats. You also can’t choose in-flight amenities beforehand because the flight isn’t private.
Besides air carriers (including regular and low-budget airlines), these flights are available via travel agencies and tour operators who purchase multiple seats to sell to customers going on vacation.
For instance, they can take a group of customers to a beach location or organize weekly tours to popular destinations.
Affinity charters are shared flights that companies, groups, or organizations rent, and then sell seats to their members. Musicians, sports teams, and charities typically book them to go to an event.
Music and sports fans also often buy seats on these shared charter flights to attend concerts and tournaments. For instance, you can book an affinity flight to Qatar to take your players or avid soccer fans to the FIFA World Cup 2022.
However, those fans or the people supporting your charity organization must be part of your affinity group. You can’t sell seats on this charter to the general public to take anyone to various significant events.
Cargo charter flights differ from all others because they don’t transport passengers — typically only goods, luggage, and oversized cargo.
Companies or private individuals can charter these flights to transport cargo via a freight plane suitable for air shipping. They can ensure uninterrupted shipments to remote locations without storage complications. For instance, you can schedule direct product deliveries to customers from suppliers worldwide.
A cargo flight can transport live animals and many different items, including foods, perishables, antiquities, currencies, vehicles, industrial machinery, military equipment, and hazardous materials. Hospitals and pharmaceutical companies also use them to safely transport medical equipment, blood samples, vaccines, and life-saving organs.
Chartering flights FAQ
Are you still unsure whether to book a charter flight or stick to its commercial equivalent? We’re here to help! We have compiled the answers to the frequently asked questions about chartering flights to assist you in making an informed decision.
1. What is the average cost of a charter flight?
The average cost of a charter flight depends on the air charter company and the aircraft type. You might need to set aside between $1,300 and $13,000 per billable hour for a charter flight.
The median prices for smaller jets range from $1,300 to $3,000 per flying hour, while the $4,000 to $8,000 range is the average for midsize charters. Chartering a larger private aircraft may cost you between $8,600 and $13,000 per billable hour.
2. What is the maximum weight for luggage on a charter flight?
Not every charter company and aircraft have identical luggage weight limits, so check beforehand.
A rule of thumb is that light and midsize charters allow one 50-pound (23 kg) item per passenger in checked luggage, while large jets let you carry more. Its dimensions shouldn’t exceed 62 inches (158 cm), including the handles and wheels.
Regardless of the aircraft type, you can bring one carry-on bag, typically not exceeding 50 inches (127 cm). The allowed weight varies among companies, but it’s usually 17 pounds (8 kg) or 22 pounds (10 kg).
You can also bring a handbag or a laptop bag to stow under the seat in front of you.
3. What is the difference between a charter and a scheduled flight?
A charter is an unscheduled, direct flight you book for a specific itinerary. It doesn’t operate on a predetermined airline schedule or have connecting flights.
Depending on the charter type, you can buy individual seats or rent an entire aircraft and personalize the service, including the departure and arrival times, the crew, and in-flight amenities.
A scheduled flight operates on a predetermined route and schedule and may have connections. You can buy tickets from an airline, an online travel agency, or another sales channel.
How to book a charter flight
You can book a charter flight via an aircraft rental service or a private jet charter company. Many offer a seamless website or app service, but you can also contact them via email or phone. The latter might be better because you can ask all your burning questions and quickly arrange everything with a professional.
Whether you book directly or use a broker, you’ll need to share your needs and preferences to get a custom quote. Select your destination, departure and return dates and time, passenger number, aircraft (type, size, etc.), accommodations, and in-flight amenities. Arrange all the details, including the cuisine and anything else you may need during the flight.
Choose your preferred payment method from the available options. With JetFinder you can charter a private jet with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins, Ethereum, and Tether.
Feel free to contact us for any burning questions you may have or if you think we’ve missed anything crucial. We’ll be happy to provide additional information and help you choose the perfect charter flight for your needs and preferences. Don’t wait and book a private jet today! Just reach out and we will find a private jet for business or for leisure purposes, at operators’ prices.