If you are looking to start flying private, navigating the ins and outs of private jet travel can seem daunting.
To help you start traveling faster, we worked on ten suggestions to safely get on board your first private jet.
Know your options
The term “membership” gets used a lot when referring to private aviation companies and the products they offer. There are some key aspects to consider when determining whether a single charter or a membership is the right choice for you. At a glance:
- One-off charter: you can book flights one-by-one. Each trip is priced individually, which is referred to as dynamic pricing. Typically, one-off charter flights do not guarantee service recovery and you won’t be guaranteed aircraft availability when you need it;
- On-Demand membership: they usually provide customers with the choice to charter any aircraft in a fleet at any time, with transparent, fixed costs;
- Fractional membership: individuals are required to purchase equity in a specific aircraft they want to fly on. They will then have to pay additional operating cost for every flight. Fractional contracts typically are three to five years.
Are you booking through an operator or a broker?
Whilst both options will allow you to charter a private jet, there are fundamental differences in the services that operators and brokers provide:
- Operator: operators directly manage, maintain flight schedules and provide crew for a fleet of aircraft. Quotations received will be for aircraft in their own fleet. As a result of everything being managed in-house, customers can enjoy time and money saving benefits;
- Broker: brokers act as middlemen between operators and customers. Brokers source aircraft from operators, based on their customer’s price and aircraft preference. Prices are then marked up for costumers, as brokers will add commissions on top of operator quotes.
Partner with a reputable company
With tens of companies offering flights and private jet memberships, it’s critical to book from a reputable company. Research how long they’ve been operating and ask for legal registration documents, such as:
- United States: FAA Air Carrier Certificate (which shows FAA approval for commercial flight use and safety standards) and D085 (an FAA listing that defines which aircraft can legally be used for private jet charter services);
- Europe: EASA Certification testifies that an aircraft meets the rigorous safety requirements set by the European Union;
- China: Air Operator Certificate by CAAC: provides the basis for CAAC to regulate the activities of an operator and it is the means by which an air operator is authorised to conduct commercial air transport operations.
Ask about safety standards
Before selecting a private aviation company, ensure safety is their top priority. Ask about the company’s safety rating, the aircraft’s safety management system, as well as background on pilots’ experience and total hours flown. These standards should be clearly stated and available for you.You can read about VistaJet’s standards here.
Be aware of COVID-19 protocols
A thorough commitment to safety is more important now than ever. Aviation companies should provide upfront communication on specific sterilization methods, if they’re offering passenger screenings, what onboard medical services are offered and details on emergency protocols. VistaJet lists theirs here.
Ask about cancellation terms
Discuss in advance your terms and conditions before you sign your contract. In particular, check how you will be covered should you need to request a last-minute cancellation.
Aircraft availability for immediate travel
To ensure that the company can get you a plane when you need it, ask about the company’s network, fleet size and guaranteed availability of aircrafts outside typical booking deadlines, to be covered for any emergency travel needs.
One size does not fit all
Ensure your membership contract does not limit you to one type of aircraft regardless of the distance you’re traveling, or how many passengers fly with you, to avoid being locked in even if your needs change. Make sure to look at the portfolio of products and services available, and determine which solutions are best for your needs. Discover the VistaJet fleet here.
Ask about cabin service standards
There is no set standard of services across private aviation and companies can differ dramatically when it comes to offering even the most common services:
- Cabin host/ess: contrary to popular belief, not all private flights have a Cabin host/ess onboard – many aviation companies expect passengers to take care of themselves throughout the flight;
- Onboard dining: whilst some aviation companies offer fine dining menus, most operators will simply provide a small selection of packaged snacks and beverages;
- Wi-Fi connectivity: make sure to always ask about internet connectivity. Many private jet companies do not offer Wi-Fi onboard and those that do might charge for usage.
You can find a highlight of VistaJet’s cabin experience here.
Check your value options
If you are not going on a round trip or need a flight on a specific time, One Way flights allow you to fly from a fixed departure airport to anywhere in the world, which could prove a benefit when traveling from an area with few charter jets or during a lower demand time. Empty Legs are offered on aircraft flying empty to reposition for an already booked charter trip. They have pre-defined departures and destinations, but if they match your travel needs, can be ideal for short notice leisure trips and are often the best value option. Find VistaJet current offers here.
At VistaJet we aim to make flying simple. Our customers have access to a fleet of over 70 aircraft around the globe and pay only for the hours they need. To date, we have flown to over 1,900 airports in 96% of the world’s countries, making us the first and only global aviation company.