They say you can’t buy time, but you could argue that private jet travel comes close. Wave goodbye to arriving at the airport two hours before departure, say ciao to the queues at security, and so long to the lengthy layovers and transfer times of flying on increasingly sparse scheduled flights. This is travel on your terms, and on your schedule.
With the era of the ‘now normal’ unfolding around us; the way we think, work and move is being redefined and our priorities are quickly evolving. Beyond the convenience and time-saving benefits of aircraft charter, there is a new priority pushing itself to the forefront of many travellers’ minds: how can I minimise contact with others to protect myself from COVID-19?
Chartering your own aircraft has never been a smarter way to fly, significantly minimising your contact with others throughout the entire travel journey. This is ringing true with a new wave of customers looking to protect themselves from the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
To help first-time flyers navigate the world of private aviation, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to on-demand aircraft charter. Request, fly and book with confidence in no time.
So, what is on demand jet charter and why is it the most popular private aviation service for those new to jet travel?
When chartering a jet, you are booking an aircraft of your choice, exclusively for you and your guests, for the route you require. On-demand means there is no upfront or ongoing financial commitment required; you only pay for the trips you make. Put simply, it is pay-as-you-go jet charter.
STEP 1: REQUESTING
When requesting a quote, detail is everything. On demand charter allows you to create a travel itinerary entirely bespoke to your requirements, so the more information you can share with your personal account manager, the more suitable options they will present to you. You’ll need to provide your date(s) of travel, number of passengers, and where you are travelling to and from. It’s worth sharing your actual start and end destination rather than airport locations, as your experienced account manager may know of private airports better suited to your journey. To ensure you get the very best quotes first time around, we recommend you also share who you are travelling with (including any pets), the purpose of your trip, and amount of luggage your party will have. If any passengers have specific requirements, such as needing a lavatory on board, or a spacious cabin as they’re a nervous flyer, then these are all useful things to make your account manager aware of.
How you request a quote is entirely your choice. Whether you prefer to communicate via phone, Whatsapp, email or App, your personal account will be available 24/7 to guide you through the entire process. A top tip is to submit your request with one broker only, as when an aircraft operator receives the same request from multiple brokers they will be far less likely to offer a competitive rate, and unwilling to negotiate on the price. By requesting exclusively through one broker, your account manager will have a far better chance of getting you an excellent price for your trip – believe it or not!
STEP 2: CHOOSING & BOOKING
Once your request is submitted, you will receive a selection of suitable aircraft options to choose from within the hour. On demand jet charter grants you access to more than 7,000 aircraft worldwide which can mean an overwhelming amount of choice, especially as standards of aircraft quality and operator service can vary. You can depend on your personal account manager to do the legwork searching the marketplace for you, before they revert with 4-8 of the most suitable aircraft options available for your trip. Every set of Victor quotes includes at least one Client Preferred Operator, which gives you visibility of which operators Victor’s flyers have rated most highly for both aircraft quality and on board service. Your account manager will take you through the details of each option to help you make a more informed decision about the jet you choose to book.
Victor quotes are all-inclusive, clear and transparent, with no upfront costs or hidden charges. Not every broker works the same way. When receiving quotes, be sure to check you have the following key information so that you can be confident when making your choice: the tail number of the aircraft which identifies the specific plane for your flight, the name of the service provider that will operate your charter, actual pictures of the interior and exterior of the plane (as some brokers use generic stock images) and the year of manufacture as well as any refurbishment dates. All of this data is available to your broker and should be passed on to your transparently, before you commit to booking.
Each quote will vary depending on:
- Location and destination: short trips to popular destinations, known as ‘hub’ airports will be the most cost-effective. Trips to unusual or remote airfields often come with a price tag attached, as the operator will need to factor in the positioning flight to get them back to home base, or on to their next charter, into the overall cost of the trip.
- Flight time: jets are often priced at an hourly rate. The distance of your flight will determine the size of aircraft, and the larger the aircraft required to fly direct, the higher the cost of the charter. Sometimes taking a smaller aircraft for a longer trip can be offer a more competitive price, but you’ll have to stop for fuel on the way which will add around one hour to your journey.
- Airport positioning: if your jet has to fly from its current location to reach you, there may be a relocation charge which will be included in your all-inclusive quote.
- Type of aircraft: just as newer jets command higher price, the larger the plane, the higher the cost tends to be. There can be occasions when convenient positioning will mean that you can benefit from a nicer aircraft at a lower rate. Your account manager will always be scanning the market to optimise the aircraft positioning to give you the best value for money.
- Number of passengers: generally speaking the more passengers you have on board, the more cost-effective it will be per person as you are paying a fixed price for the full aircraft, regardless of passenger numbers. Depending on the operator you fly with, they may however be a charge per person, so be sure to check with your account manager when looking to change the passenger numbers as there may be taxes and fees to pay or recoup.
- Layovers: if you book a return journey, the layover of your trip will effect the total. A return flight will either be a ’round-trip’ (staying for a short length of time during which the operator will park their aircraft and wait (max. 72 hours) for your return sector – or ‘double-rotation’ (meaning you are staying for a longer period of time, during which the operator will perform other charters in between your outbound and return flight). Round trips usually more cost-effective, as the operator does not need to factor in the positioning sectors of leaving and returning to airport you are flying back from. Flying double-rotation will almost always come at a higher price, as the positioning sectors mentioned above will be factored into your overall cost. A double-rotation rate will often be the price of two one-way flights, whereas a round-trip tends to be much less.
- Airport fees: every airport has a different landing and handling fee, and there’s often a charge for ground transport too.
- Seasonality: jet charter has peak periods throughout the year and we often see prices rising slightly during this time. These tend to be around the Winter Holidays and New Year, throughout the ski-season between February and March, and of course in the Summer.
There can be variable fees which are not included in the operator’s quote as they are not applicable to every charter. These include de-icing and on board WIFI. Your account manager will highlight these before you book and they will often be stated in your quote.
Be ready to move quickly once you’ve chosen your desired aircraft and operator to secure it. The market sees thousands of charter requests per day and all aircraft are quoted subject to continued availability. Your aircraft can only be taken off the market once your booking is confirmed with payment.
Finally, before confirming your flight you may also want to check whether the broker has their own terms and conditions for the flight (e.g. cancellation policies) or whether they use those of the operator – whichever it is, you should be clear on the terms before making any booking.
STEP 3: POST-BOOKING
You’ve secured your aircraft, so what’s next? Your account manager will introduce you to our expert flight management team who, alongside the operator, will ensure your flight runs seamlessly. Your post-booking concierge team are on hand to customise your journey right down the finest details. From ground transportation to in-air dining, you are in control of your charter experience. Don’t forget to highlight any dietary requirements, allergies, or personal favourites to make your on board experience as comfortable as possible.
Your final itinerary will be available in the app or via email 24-48 hours ahead of your departure, which includes the address of the terminal and contact details of the crew should you wish to reach them on the day.
STEP 4: TAKE-OFF
Upon arrival at the terminal, you will be greeted by the ground staff who take your luggage to the plane for you. With no queues or crowds in site, a private lounge for your use and just a short walk to your aircraft once ready, we advise arriving around 20 minutes before your scheduled take off time. All that is left to do is sit back and enjoy the flight.
What’s more when you land, the carbon emissions of your flight are offset by 200% as a standard with Victor, and your account has automatically been credited with Alto frequent flyer points to redeem on your next trip – because we believe in a better way to fly.
Launched in 2011, Victor is designed to demystify the process of booking private jets and make choosing the right option simple and efficient. Developed by and for frequent private jet fliers, Victor is the first and only completely transparent jet charter platform, offering access to aircraft and operator specifics, side-by-side available jet comparisons, instant booking and digital travel itineraries. Details include the tail number of the aircraft, name of the operator, as well as actual pictures of aircraft interior and exterior, – all critical factors in enabling the consumer to choose the right jet for their trip.
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