Frequently Asked Questions
There are many questions that we are frequently asked about private jet travel. For the answers, see below or check our jet travel terminology guide.
- What are the different types of private jets and how do they differ?
- Which jet is best suited for my travel needs?
- How do I plan my itinerary?
- How is the price of my charter calculated?
- Why does the price for the same trip vary on different days?
- What is a deadhead?
- Where do I go to meet my plane?
- How long before my flight do I have to get to the airport?
- How much luggage can I bring?
- Can I bring pets onboard?
- Can I smoke onboard?
- What if I have special transportation needs?
- How will the weather affect my flight?
- Why does the flight time vary at different times of the year?
- Who owns the plane I charter?
- Who flies the plane and how do I know the pilot is safe?
- Who maintains the plane and how?
- How safe is jet charter travel?
What are the different types of private jets and how do they differ?
Private jets are typically categorized into three different size classes light jets, mid-sized jets and heavy jets.
Light jets are the smallest jets, with a cabin height approximately 4 feet 6 inches, width of about 4 feet 9 inches, and cabin length that varies from 12 to 16 feet. The aircraft typically have a limited galley and lavatory, and a range of between 3 and 4 hours or 1,000 to 1,600 miles.
Mid-size jets have a cabin height of approximately 5 feet 8 inches and a width of close to 6 feet. The cabin length ranges from 17 to 21 feet. They are equipped with a small galley and a fully enclosed lavatory. Mid-size jets have a range of between 4 and 5 hours or 2,000 to 2,500 miles.
Heavy jets are the largest with sizes and ranges that vary significantly depending on the model. Heavy jets generally have a cabin height of over 6 feet and are considered true stand-up cabins. Cabin width varies from 6 to 8 feet and cabin length ranges from 28 to 50 feet. Heavy jets have a range of 6 to 14 hours or 3,000 to 7,500 miles. They always have a full lavatory and galley and fly with a flight attendant who provides complete in-flight meal and beverage service.
Which jet is best suited for my travel trip?
The answer to this question varies depending on your travel needs and budget. Considerations include departure location, destination, the duration of your stay, the number of passengers flying, how long your intended trip is and the amenities you expect to have onboard.
For example, if you have two or three passengers traveling a short distance on a limited budget, and you’re flying private for convenience, the best option would be a light jet. If you have a larger group taking a long trip who want in-flight entertainment, full meal service with a flight attendant, and your budget is not as limited, a heavy jet is the best option.
Regardless of your plans, an experienced Charter Coordinator can help you better understand what options are available to you and the benefits of each.
How do I plan my itinerary?
The best way to plan your itinerary is to determine what date you want to travel, where you want to travel, the time by which you would like to arrive, how many people will be in your party and if there are any specific amenities or services you would like available on your flight. Once you have those details, contact a Charter Coordinator. He or she will determine the nearest departure and destination airports, the flight time, and the aircraft best suited to exceed your travel expectations.
How is the price of my charter calculated?
When you charter a plane, you are billed an hourly rate times your total flight time, plus any additional costs, as applicable.
Hourly rates vary by aircraft size, class and type. Flight times are calculated using flight planning software programs that take into account typical air traffic control routing, seasonally adjusted wind patterns and aircraft performance criteria. The total time is rounded to the nearest 1/10th of an hour.
Depending on your trip, additional costs might include landing fees and airport usage fees, overnight fees to cover the cost of housing the plane and crew if your trip is longer than one day, and International fees if your trip leaves the country. These costs are added to your total bill.
Why does the price for the same trip vary on different days?
Several factors can impact the total cost of your charter.
Prices may vary by date for the same trip because availability varies by date. Included in the cost of your charter are ferry charges, which are incurred when an aircraft is based at an airport different from your departure or arrival point. If a plane has to travel to cover your charter, it will alter your charter cost.
Additionally, different aircrafts in the same size class are billed at different rates and fly at different speeds. The same trip on two different jets may have two different costs because the rates vary slightly and the time planned for the flight varies based on aircraft performance.
What is a deadhead?
A deadhead is a flight segment an aircraft must fly, with or without passengers, in order to get into position for a charter or to return to its home base. These are called deadhead, empty leg or ferry segments and can be purchased, often at a discount. If you are flying one-way between two points and a plane has to fly between the same two points, flying on a deadhead can save you money. It takes some market savvy and industry connections to find a deadhead you can use. The best way to find one that works for you is to discuss your travel needs with a Charter Coordinator and have him or her work with you to find the most economical travel solution.
Where do I go to meet my plane?
When you fly privately, your plane will depart from a small private terminal called a fixed based operation or an FBO. These small terminals provide private jets with a variety of services including light maintenance, fuel services and catering. They also provide passengers with a lounge area, baggage handling and parking facilities. Many airports have more than one FBO location. So when your travel plans take you on a private jet, please make sure to get FBO information from your Charter Coordinator.
How long before my flight do I have to get to the airport?
Private jet travel is an “on demand” service. Since you are flying on your own plane, it travels on the schedule you set. You tell your Charter Coordinator what time you would like to fly and that’s the time the flight is scheduled for. At the appropriate time, the crew is standing by for passengers. When you arrive at the airport, you and your baggage are loaded, the aircraft door is closed, and the plane taxis out for take-off. There is no wait at the FBO and no line. You simply arrive at the time you would like to depart, and if you are running late, your plane will wait for you.
How much luggage can I bring?
Baggage space varies by aircraft size, class and type. On a light jet, there is ample storage room for each passenger to bring a small overnight bag. On a mid-sized jet, each passenger can bring along or small duffel bag. On a heavy jet, each passenger can bring a full sized suitcase. If you have special baggage, like skis, or a lot of heavy luggage, please notify your Charter Coordinator in advance so that he or she can make sure your aircraft can carry all of your passengers and luggage safely and comfortably.
Can I bring pets onboard?
Not all aircraft are pet-friendly; however, many are. It’s important to notify your Charter Coordinator in advance if you plan to bring along a pet so that a pet-friendly aircraft is dispatched. There are no restrictions on transporting pets domestically. For small household pets like dogs or cats, pets need to be in a travel cage for take-off and landing to ensure their safety. During the flight, your pet is free to move about the cabin (special cleaning charges may apply if a pet soils the cabin). If you are traveling beyond the 48 contiguous states with a pet, you may need special permits. Permits can take some time to obtain so please plan in advance when traveling with a pet outside of the continental United States. Your Charter Coordinator can help you with all of the necessary documents and arrangements.
Can I smoke onboard?
While many aircraft are designated “No-Smoking,” and cigar and pipe smoking are never permitted, many jets do allow cigarette smoking on board. Please notify your Charter Coordinator in advance so that he or she can dispatch a plane that will accommodate your needs. In certain cases, there may be a special charge associated with purifying the air after you deplane. Your Charter Coordinator can advise you as to any additional charges.
What if I have special transportation needs?
Chief Executive Air can handle almost any request including flying disabled persons, unattended children, cargo or medical transports. Additionally, we can assist with every type of ground transportation from chauffeured transportation to rental car delivery, and cargo to emergency transport. Simply contact a Charter Specialist to discuss your special transportation needs.
How will the weather affect my flight?
Certain weather conditions, including fog, lightning, heavy or freezing rain and snow, can effect the safe operation of aircrafts. On days when the weather is poor, your Charter Coordinator will review the current forecast and determine if your flight will be able to takeoff safely. Sometimes it will be best to postpone your flight until the weather clears. Additionally, if you are taking a long flight and the weather at your destination is questionable, your Charter Coordinator may select a safer alternate airport for landing and arrange ground transportation to your ultimate destination. Whatever the conditions, your Charter Coordinator can work with you to ensure the safest, smoothest and most efficient trip possible.
Why does the flight time vary at different times of the year?
Flight times vary by season because atmospheric conditions, in particular wind speeds, effect flight times. The jet stream is an upper-atmosphere wind stream that blows from west to east. During the winter, the wind speed is much faster than during the summer months. As a result, traveling from east to west during the winter months will take longer than similar travel during the summer. In the reverse, traveling west to east in the winter months will be much shorter than during the summer.
Who owns the plane I charter?
In general, wealthy individuals and large corporations own jets used for the provision of charter service. These individuals or companies purchase aircraft because, based on the number of hours they fly a year, owning a jet provides them with the most convenient and economical way to fly private. While they may use their aircraft quite a bit, it isn’t always in use. These individuals and companies contract with FAA registered Air Carriers to manage their aircraft and rent them out when the owners aren’t using them. It is these FAA registered and certified Air Carriers that actually run the aircraft. They hire and train the crew and are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the aircraft subject to FAA regulations and the aircraft owner’s requirements.
Who flies the plane and how do I know the pilot is safe?
Private jets used for the provision of charter service are operated under Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations issued by the FAA. Pilots have to meet rigorous training requirements set by the FAA. In addition to being qualified as pilots, they are required to be certified to fly specific aircraft types. They go through recurrent simulator training every 6 months and are subject to regularly scheduled physical exams, drug testing and FAA flight checks.
Who maintains the plane and how?
Aircraft are maintained subject to the aircraft manufacturer’s specifications as approved by the FAA. Based on aircraft age, make and model they are subject to routine inspections according to an established timeline and hours in the air. There are thorough inspections every 12, 24 and 48 months, as well as major inspections at the 5-year, 10-year or 12-year mark, depending on the aircraft. There are also inspections every 300, 600, 1200, 2400, and 4800 flight hours depending on the aircraft age, make and model. Aircraft are always inspected and maintained by FAA licensed and certified technicians who are trained to maintain and repair specific aircraft makes and models. Accordingly, every individual maintaining the aircraft you take was trained and is certified to work not just on jets, but on that specific type of aircraft.
How safe is jet charter travel?
Traveling by charter jet is as safe as commercial air carrier travel because charter jets are regulated by the same organization the Federal Aviation Administration.
Rest assured that all our private jets undergo the strictest safety and jet maintenance schedules required by the FAA Safety Standards. Specifically, the FAA Part 135 regulations apply to private jet charters. All private jet companies from the most well known—;Netjets and Marquis Jets—to boutique charter companies like Chief Executive Air, utilize jet aircraft that comply with FAA Part 135 regulations.
Consumers have grown weary counting on the safety claims of private companies. That is why the FAA is the trusted source to inspect commercial and private jet aircraft. Chief Executive Air and its fleet of private jet charters meet and/or exceed the FAA safety standards and regular inspections from the FAA. No reputable private jet charter company can utilize planes that are not certified by the FAA.
Our network of private jets have been audited by companies such as Wyvern, assuring our customers that our jet network is the safest in the air. Private jet maintenance schedules are reviewed by third party companies like Wyvern to insure that an independent audit confirms the FAA certifications.
If you would like a copy of the FAA inspection records or the private safety audits before you fly, please let us know in advance. We would be pleased to show you the compliance measures that ensure safe travel.
Jet Charter Terminology
Private Jet Range – The number of estimated miles/hours that a jet plan can travel without refueling. This will vary according to flight plan and the combined weight of the passengers and luggage.
Private Jet Cruise Speed – The average speed the jet will attain when reaching flight plan altitude without “pushing” the aircraft.
Jet Aircraft Baggage Capacity – Normally this number is given in cubic feet. The number is given in cubic feet since space is at a premium on private jet. Weight is also a consideration for proper flight planning but the size limit ensures proper space to put the bags on the plane, outside the main cabin.
Jet Cabin Length – This is not the length of the aircraft. This is the length of the passenger cabin. For example, on a Hawker 800 private jet, the plane has a length of 51 feet but the cabin length is 21 feet. The larger the cabin length on a jet, the more space you have to move around or increase seating capacity.