10 Apr What To Ask Before Booking A Private Jet?
This should always be your starting point for booking a private jet charter flight. Private planes are held to the same safety and maintenance regulations as commercial jets. Operators of aircraft for charter flights are regulated by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and this is the minimum standard, set out by them.
All operators who we charter flights from, for our clients must have a valid AOC (Aircraft Operators Certificate) in order for us to use them. However there are third party independent companies such as Wyvern who audit private jet operators on a regular basis in order to increase their level of safety.
Operators with the Wyvern stamp of approval are held to a higher standard. This shows that they have committed to a higher level of commitment and safety, which makes us as a charter broker company feel more secure booking a flight with them.
These parties compile several databases, including CAA, to determine the safety records of the pilots, operator & aircraft. These companies also perform on-site audits on procedures and aircraft logs.
For a private charter flight you will always have two highly qualified pilots. For larger jets that are capable of flying long haul, another crew and flight attendants will also be on-board. Duty hours for the crew are strict and cannot be breached for your safety and the crews safety.
New Or Old?
Although an older plane doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe, it is vital that you verify its mechanical soundness. Find out when the last full inspection was completed by the CAA or third party audit firms.
Falcona charter aircraft from the year 2000 onwards as a company policy. We’ve found that our customers like to fly on newer aircraft, for various reasons such as better technology, on-board amenities, faster, and safer.
Booking a flight for your boss whether it’s for business flights or leisure flights we recommend that you perform due diligence when carefully selecting your charter broker. Not all charter brokers are created equally.
2. What Costs Are Included In The Quote
When we give you a quote it’s an inclusive quote. That means the private jet price includes the hourly rate, estimated time in the air and all other fees such as these:
- Crew. Depending on the size, most private jets will have two pilots, and occasionally a flight attendant. In addition to their salaries, meals and hotel expenses are included in the crew’s fees while they’re working.
- Airport Landing Fees. Airports charge landing fees determined by the weight of an aircraft.
- Handling Fees. Aircraft handling companies or Fixed Base Operators (FBO’s) such as Signature Flight Support in Manchester who handle the ground management of an aircraft on its arrival—fuelling up, waste sanitation, crew facilities, etc.
- Standard Catering. including gourmet catering and. Working closely with our catering company Gast Maison in Manchester we can help to arrange any kind of catering you desire.
- Taxes. In the UK and Italy airports tax jet charter passengers according to distance travelled.
Being located in Manchester, the UK there’s always a good chance that during the winter, the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Sometimes your aircraft requires de-icing before departure, de-icing fees are invoiced to you after the flight. Some operators do offer a de-icing insurance to protect you in case it’s needed.
If you’re thinking of flying early in the morning or late at night then there will be Out Of Hour Fees which are invoiced post flight.
Each airport has it’s own charge for allowing you to fly at these times. Th majority of airports and FBOs are not open 24/7 which means you will have to request for a extension of the opening times.
At major events such as the Monaco Grand Prix, Champions League football or the Cannes International Festival, parking aircraft can be an issue, as the aircraft will need to reposition and park at another airport close by if the main ones are full.
Falcona had a client and their aircraft needed de-icing before the flight; it cost them an extra £1,500 to de-ice the Citation Mustang, which is a very small four seat plane. Fortunately it was a small jet as it would cost a lot more if it was a Gulfstream G650!. Each airport has a different price for de-icing, So the price will vary if you need it.
Here at Manchester you have to taxii over to the main terminal, which will add time to your journey. We suggest that you ask for the aircraft to be placed in the hangar overnight prior to your flight if there is space. This will be cheaper and better option than leaving the aircraft out on the apron all night and getting de-icing.
At Falcona we can help to with transportation to make your booking to ensure smooth and seamless handling of the other services you need to have a great flight. If you’re travelling to or from Manchester with us, we can arrange complimentary transport to your chosen destination.
3. What Is The Maximum Number Of Seats On The Aircraft?
The maximum number of seats on a plane will sometimes include a belted toilet, especially on smaller aircraft such as a Citation Bravo.
For example we can get an enquiry asking for eight people to fly from Manchester to Mallorca. They have flown previously on a Citation Bravo with six people and it’s not been a problem. Although a Bravo can sometimes seat up to eight people, we always recommend upgrading the aircraft to an Gulfstream G280, depending on the mix of people travelling.
This way not only are they getting a larger plane, they will have more cabin space to move around whether it’s a business trip or a family holiday. The G280 also seats up to eight people but with the larger cabin the two jets are totally different in terms of space, range and performance.
However if they want to experience an aircraft with a bit more cabin space, luggage space and a more enjoyable flight, we recommend that they charter a bigger jet; such as a Gulfstream G280.
Although it’s more costly, your boss, colleagues and potential clients will feel the benefits of a more spacious jet.
Don’t always try and fill the seats of the aircraft, especially on super light jets such as the Learjet 75 or Citation Xls. Flying private is an experience to be enjoyed, you should not feel like you’re flying commercial.
4. How Will You Handle Any Changes To The Flight Schedule?
Should a last minute issue arise that requires you to change departure times, or any other change to your itinerary, you can contact someone immediately. Having the opportunity to contact a flight representative at any time to assist you can help alleviate the burden of an unexpected change.
If you need to change times, passenger numbers or cancel, we advise you to give us as much notice as possible so that we can notify all the relevant people such as the operators and Air Traffic Control. Private aviation is all about flexibility and we will do our utmost to accommodate your requests.
As we’re located at the private terminal in Manchester, it enables us to deal swiftly with your changes or any i issues you may have on the day, as we can notify the pilots directly, who in turn can change and file a new airport slots to ensure you get away quickly on your arrival.
A lot of other brokers don’t have that access, they will be constantly on the phone or emailing to try and get the message through to the operator or the handling agents. Any delays in the message can result in your flight being delayed even further.
5. What Happens If The Flight Is Delayed Or The Aircraft Goes Tech?
“On one occasion our clients Citation Bravo had a technical issue in Faro and the aircraft was bringing our clients home to Manchester the next day. The operator rang us to explain the situation about the aircraft. We immediately notified our clients about the situation, letting them know that they won’t be stuck in Faro and that the operators had sourced another aircraft. The new plane was an upgrade, a Embraer Phenom 300 at no extra cost to us or the clients. These are the type of operators we like to work with on a regular basis”.
So booking a private jet for your boss, is not as straight forward as some other brokers suggest. In order for your boss and their friends or family to fly in a safe and secure environment each time, you must do some due diligence and ensure the aircraft and the operators are fit for purpose.
With more and more players entering the market and more and more variations, finding a company such as Falcona to make sure that your flight goes as smooth as possible. Research before buying has never been more important.