There’s no doubt about it: a private air charter is miles above a standard commercial flight. You get all the leg and elbow room you can handle. It’s quieter because the only people on board are the ones in your travel party. You never have to wait in line for the lavatory and you can go from your car to your seat in minutes rather than hours.
But consider the fact that anything with advantages will also come with its share of disadvantages. Though private air charter offers a number of benefits compared to flying commercial, you may still experience a few snags in your trip you weren’t expecting.
Here are three of the most common events that can negatively impact your trip:
If you’re traveling during the winter, consider the possibility that you may run into the need for de-icing. Just like a car being left outside in cold temperatures, aircraft can also become frozen overnight and will need to “thaw” before being able to take off. De-icing is actually a legal requirement that states all snow and ice must be removed in order for the aircraft to take off.
And if your aircraft is covered in ice and snow, you may incur a hefty de-icing fee in addition to what you’ve already paid for your private jet. For a smaller jet, this fee is typically around $1,500. But for large jets, it can run you up to $10,000 or more.
The tricky part is this: de-icing isn’t something that can be planned for. And if you do need de-icing, there’s no way to know ahead of time exactly how much fluid it will take, which means you won’t actually know the cost until the service is performed.
If you’re traveling to colder regions in winter or any area that’s prone to snow and ice, you may want to go ahead and prepare yourself for the expense and work it into your flight budget.
Temporary flight restrictions, or TFRs, are specific travel restrictions that are imposed due to special events, hazardous conditions, or a warning issued by the FAA for all air travel (e.g. the 9/11 catastrophe is a prime example of this).
TFRs can interrupt commercial flights and private jet travel alike. If possible, your private jet charter broker will alert you to any existing TFRs that may impact your plans. They are usually made known 2-3 days before taking effect, so it’s important to stay informed in the days leading up to your departure.
TFRs are first and foremost safety precautions. One of the most common reasons for TFRs is for presidential travel. Natural disasters, like wildfires, can also trigger TFRs due to smoke decreasing visibility in the sky or otherwise creating hazardous conditions. If there’s a major event where 30,000 or more people will be gathered (e.g. the Super Bowl), then a TFR may also be imposed.
The good news is that TFRs usually cover specific zones, which can often mean that your flight path will be diverted to avoid these zones instead of grounding your flight altogether. Still, this may mean extra time in the air or even landing at a different airport, which can offset your initial itinerary.
It’s important to stay in contact with your private air charter broker the closer it gets to your flight to ensure your flight can still take place as planned. If a TFR goes into effect that will impact your travel, your broker may be able to make suggestions to mitigate its effects.
Strict Cancellation Policies
Commercial airliners have strict cancellation policies, but so do private air operators. Because of the nature of the industry, cancelling a private jet flight can be quite expensive. Some brokers will take the entire payment as the cancellation fee, particularly if it’s too late for someone else to book the aircraft.
Of course, the cancellation fee can also depend on how much notice you give the operator, whether it’s during a peak or non-peak time, the distance of the flight, and other variables.
The bottom line is this: always check with your air charter broker prior to booking to ensure you understand and can live with their cancellation policies. This can help you avoid surprises along the way.
At Access Jet Group, we are transparent with our prices and policies up front so you can expect the best service in the industry. Contact us today for information on pricing and availability.