You are getting ready to book your next trip and are faced with a typical dilemma: should I fly with the big, impersonal air carrier that takes me to most any city on my list or should I opt for a smaller, regional airline that offers more personalized service albeit on a small jet? Well, consumers have more choices than these when they fly with charter and private jet flying options also worth considering. We’ll take a look at the three air travel option for flyers and what these can mean for you.
The airline industry is no longer the fun place for air travel that it once was. Airline mergers, industry consolidation, the demise of smaller air carriers and stiff federal safety measures have taken the joy out of flying.
Still, the commercial airlines have the service reach that other options do not have. That does not mean that you will find multiple choices when flying into, let’s say, Atlantic City, but at least you can get there via Spirit Airlines. American, Delta and United may have the biggest reach across the country, but Southwest and US Airways may be able to get you there too. Also consider Frontier, Hawaiian, Allegiant, Alaska Airlines, and regional carriers such as Republic when planning your next trip.
If your next trip has you considering a particular destination, but you are flexible with your dates, then joining up with an air charter may be the best option for you. You still get airliner service, but you also can enjoy the benefit of flying with like-minded folk to nearly any destination that you can imagine.
Commercial air charters serve groups small and large by taking them where they need to go and on their own schedule, not the airline’s. Sport teams, corporate groups, students clubs, and even family reunions may book flights, essentially "owning" the plane for the duration of their trip. You may not think that you belong to a particular group, but if you are a AAA or AARP member, you may discover that you qualify just the same.
Private Jet Flying
You’ve read the stories, "How to Travel Like a Billionaire," and may have seen private jets up close. Such jets include the Gulftream G450, the Dassault Falcon 2000LX, and the Bombardier Global 5000. Such jets are beautiful, expensive and available to well-heeled travelers.
Though much private jet flying seems beyond what the average consumer can afford, small groups and families are learning that select aircraft such as the Hawker 600, the Cirrus SR20, and the Beechcraft King Air 350 are not only the right size, but they are affordable. And, with the help of a private jet charter broker, you can negotiate the price on a trip that may not cost a whole lot more than what your airline wants to charge.
Some private jet companies provide a "jet card" that allows customers to rent a jet at discounted prices. Typically, you need to make a large deposit upwards of $100,000, an amount most of us cannot afford, but what many small business operators decide is a good investment. Take a three- to four-hour trip and you’ll pay about $1,500 per person for seven individuals. Compare that rate to what your airline charges and you may see only a small difference in cost while gaining much better service for the price.
Of course, you have three good choices to consider the next time that you fly. Airline travel isn’t always a drag, especially if you can secure first-class accommodations. But, if your budget allows you to stretch that a bit, then both commercial air charter and private jet flying may be worth considering. At least you’ll get better service with either option and will more likely arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and a lot less hassled.
Dylan Clifford is the Social Media Coordinator at Trade-a-Plane.com, that has the best new and used airplanes for sale such as the Gulfstream jet, Hawker Jet and more.