It is no secret that chartering a private jet is a luxury that very few can afford. It’s an indulgence that comes with a price tag that can make even the most seasoned flyers wince at times. With that being said, it is arguably the most comfortable and efficient form of transport a human being can experience. Although there are a number of obstacles that stand in the way of making the sector more widespread, the most obvious barrier is the financial one.
The temperamental nature of the niche and nascent private jet charter market can often leave a bad first impression on potential new clients who may not be privy to the various unwritten nuances of the sector. There are the obvious unavoidable inclusive costs of chartering a private jet, such as fuel costs and crew salaries, however, there are also more intangible factors at play behind the scenes. ‘The 3 T’s’ that every savvy jet setter should abide by – (Time your booking, Trust your broker, and Try alternative options) provide the perfect starting point for helping to give your broker license to mitigate unnecessary costs whilst also ensuring a quality and tailored service.
For this article, our aim is to share with you a couple ‘tricks of the trade’ so that you can help to make sure that your broker is getting you value for money.
In the world of private jet travel, flexibility is key. As a broker, you must consider the position of the aircraft in order to take advantage of the on-demand market. This means that the price of a private jet charter is not fixed, but rather dependent on the current location of the aircraft and where it needs to go next.
Mathew Kirkham, Senior Sales Executive, says,
“One example could be – a client who wants to fly from London to South Africa at 12 o’clock on a Monday. But when we scan the market, we notice that there is a more cost-effective option available if they fly out on Tuesday morning instead. As an account manager, it’s important to listen to the preferences of clients, but also to use your experience as a broker to suggest alternative options that may be more beneficial.”
If you have a span of flexibility over a certain time frame, tell your broker, that way they can look at availability across multiple days.
In the end, flexibility is the overarching key when it comes to private jet chartering. By being open to different options and understanding how the position of the aircraft can affect price, you can often get a better deal and enjoy a more economical travel experience.
Book in advance
“Between two and three weeks ahead of departure is the sweet spot if you are flying during the summer.” Dan Cook, Director of Sales explains “If you book within three weeks of the departure, then the operator is more likely to know where their aircraft is going to be relative to where you are requesting to fly from. Therefore, the price will likely be more competitive than if the operator were to be quoting not knowing where they’re likely to be – in which case they may include a buffer to cover all eventualities.”
Whilst private jet charter flights are often booked at short notice due to the nature of the UHNWs fluid schedule, as a savvy jet charterer you will optimise availability by planning head. It’s not always easy, but if you can, we recommend getting in touch with one of our brokers a few weeks beforehand so that they can provide you with a wide variety of aircraft, at competitive rates.
Round trip, or two one-ways?
While most people usually book a return flight with the same operator, the length of stay at the destination can heavily influence the price. Sometimes, instead of booking a round trip, clients can ask for two one-way flights with potentially two different operators.
The positioning cost of an aircraft can have a huge influence on price. If an operator must move an aircraft to a different location just to pick you up for the flight, then you will be paying for the flight of an empty aircraft. On the other hand, an operator may very well give you a very attractive price for a one-way flight if it helps them to position an aircraft for a different booking.
It’s usually best to book two separate one-way flights with two different operators to reduce costs. When it comes to a round trip, clients should also be aware of potential parking fees if the airport is full – something which is not uncommon in popular destinations such as Ibiza and Mykonos.
Overall, the methods used by operators with regard to the positioning and pricing of flights can be a complicated process to understand with many variables to consider. However, by understanding the factors that influence pricing, clients can make more informed decisions and potentially save money in the process.
The manufacture date myth
A lot of people tend to prefer newer aircraft, which is entirely reasonable – to an extent. Most aviators will agree that there tends to be an unnecessary degree of apprehension towards older aircraft which often have a stigma of being ‘less safe’ than newer models.
All private jets must be certified by the appropriate aviation authority, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe. This means that the aircraft must meet certain design and performance requirements, as well as undergo regular maintenance and inspections.
Thomas Treen, Head of Sourcing, states, “The aviation authorities checks are incredibly rigorous because it’s such a high-stakes operation. If a client is being offered a jet for charter it is 100% safe, whether it is built before 2018 or not. Perhaps it isn’t as aesthetically pleasing, but it’s not unsafe. This stigma primarily exists in the European market. In the US, where you have Gulfstreams from 1984 still in operation, it is not as big of an issue, because clients are mostly interested in hopping between different states as efficiently as possible.”
Consider alternative airports
In large cities that have multiple airports, the difference in price can be substantial, and it is always best that you check with your broker for the best options.
“It is not uncommon for a client to insist on always flying out of Farnborough, for example, but there may be a better jet available for a better price at a different London airport. By being open-minded and considering alternatives, clients can often save significant amounts of money.” says Mathew Kirkham, Senior Sales Executive.
Biggin Hill Airport is located in the London Borough of Bromley, approximately 12 miles southeast of central London. It is a popular choice for private jet charters due to its convenient location, just a short drive from central London. It is also a more cost-effective option than some of the other London airports, such as Farnborough and London City, which charge higher handling fees.
By communicating the industry’s unwritten nuances, we can help you get value for money. We believe that the list above provides the perfect starting point for those looking to get more savvy with their private jet charters. For more information feel free to reach out to one of our expert Account Managers who would be happy to assist you.