6 Things to Look for When Chartering a Private Jet
For sophisticated private aviation charter consumers, finding the right program is so much more than a financial decision.
A quality charter company should not only realize your personal goals, whether traveling for business and returning home in time to tuck the kids in bed, or fitting in a long weekend getaway with friends and family. It should also provide you with a dedicated team of expert professionals to ensure utmost safety, look out for your best interests at every turn, build custom trips based on your individual needs, and more.
We spoke with Dan Cohen, XOJET’s Vice President of Inside Sales, to identify six important factors to consider when choosing the best option for your charter travel needs.
1. An Operator’s Background and Experience
When evaluating private jet charter operators, look for a company that is continuously evolving as the market changes, says Cohen. What worked decades ago in the private jet charter market may not be the best value today.
“In 2006, when XOJET was started, the market was dominated by brokers selling one-way trips,” Cohen explains. “A fleet of managed aircraft were mostly flown, and clients were paying full round-trip rates for one-way trips. XOJET instead instituted our ‘floating fleet’ model and began flying our own aircraft from trip to trip to better service our rapidly increasing demand by having an aircraft closer to your departure airport.”
Additionally, look for an operator that can explain the differences between pricing models. “A less experienced operator may not offer pricing that fluctuates based on directionality, demand, day of the week, etc. You need this kind of flexible pricing to get the best value in private jet charter,” Cohen says.
2. An Unyielding Commitment to Safety and Security
A private jet charter operator’s commitment to safety and security is of critical importance. Can they prove that they’ve been rigorously audited and certified by industry safety organizations? This question must be answered before any private jet charter flight should be booked.
At XOJET, Cohen says its safety and security programs have earned the industry’s highest safety certifications including ARGUS Platinum and Wyvern Wingman, as well as an IS-BAO level-three safety rating. To earn these ratings, audits for historical safety, aircraft validation, pilot background checks, and onsite safety must be completed regularly. “While there are many important elements of a solid safety and security program, there are some important things that can make an operator stand out,” says Cohen. “For instance, XOJET was one of the first operators industry-wide to initiate assigned crew rest periods, to make sure our crews are sufficiently rested.”
3. High Standards for Aircraft Maintenance
Whether a private jet charter operator flies its own fleet, utilizes managed aircraft, or both, the requirements for proper aircraft maintenance never changes. An operator’s service program should have earned ARGUS and/or Wyvern certifications. “Operators with these certifications have been fully vetted. A strong relationship with aircraft manufacturers is also a sign an operator strives for excellence in their service program,” Cohen explains.
4. Putting the Client First
Every private jet charter operator will say they provide excellent customer service, but this goes far beyond just having the right wine or the right newspaper on board. In Cohen’s experience, a great operator will begin demonstrating their commitment to customer service long before wheels up.
“It’s extremely empowering for the client to know XOJET’s aviation advisors will never push our fleet on them just to put the hours on our aircraft,” Cohen explains. “If a client’s flight does not make sense for a Citation X or Challenger 300, we’ll happily book them on a light jet, a super-mid, or a large-cabin aircraft from a vendor, because all that matters is that they’re getting the best possible experience.”
Another attribute to look for is whether a private jet charter operator has a 24/7 customer service team available. “At XOJET, we’ve developed a fully-staffed customer service department available around the clock. That is unusual outside of the very large fractional operations,” Cohen says.
5. A Proactive Procedure for Mechanical Issues
Modern private jets are extremely complex machines that occasionally develop a maintenance issue that can delay a flight. Processes for resolving these issues vary greatly between operators.
“When a delay happens, an operator needs to be able to move fast,” Cohen says. “At XOJET, these situations become an all-hands effort so we can give the client as many replacement aircraft options as possible, even if the aircraft is outside our fleet or in a different category. Our Client Services and Scheduling teams handle everything behind the scenes to immediately determine what the fastest recovery option will be to serve the client. We find that when the client is given choices, they appreciate this additional control of the situation.”
6. Aviation Insurance
This is an area that many private jet charter clients may overlook. As Cohen explains, while FAA does require insurance to obtain a Part 135 charter certificate for an aircraft, there are operators who will only maintain the minimum amount of insurance. “It’s OK for a client to ask questions to a potential operator about the amount of insurance they carry. XOJET maintains far more insurance than is required on every jet in our fleet,” he says.
When choosing a private jet charter operator, knowing the key questions to ask allows you to make a more enlightened decision. The right operator will give you quality time to address every concern, all while developing a custom solution that pairs your specific air travel needs with the highest levels of customer service, safety, and security.
To learn more about XOJET and discover the right private aviation solution for you, contact one of our dedicated Aviation Advisors by calling 877-599-6538.
*Featured photo courtesy of Andrea Luethi
Written by Dan Pimentel