Commercial airline travel is one of the most dreaded human experiences available on the planet today. You are stripped, poked, and prodded by TSA just to get past the gates. Your human rights, all the way down to carrying a bottle of water that is greater than 3 ounces, are forfeited. You have long layovers in those uncomfortable airport chairs. And then you are finally herded on to your airplane, crammed in like sardines, and subject to some of the most awkward seating contraptions that scientists are capable of creating. This experience– which is on par to undergoing a root canal– is multiplied exponentially if the nature of your work has you travelling on a regular basis.
Now I would like to introduce a novel concept that takes the torture out of airline travel. Charter aircraft services. Imagine forgoing the TSA lines and hassle. You don’t have to sit around the airport for two hours just to get to your seat, and then another two hours in a city you never needed to be in just to get to your destination. You simply step on to a plane with relaxing lounge chairs that even first-class passengers are envious of, the pilot takes you to exactly where you need to be, and you’re done.
I know what you’re thinking. Charter aircraft services is a luxury that only the 1% can afford. While the richest of the richest Americans probably exclusively travel by charter aircraft services, charter aircraft services are not exclusively for the wealthy. Here are a few ways to enjoy the perks offered by charter plane services, on a commercial airline ticket’s budget:
- Empty Leg Charter Flights
Sometimes a charter flight company has to re-position a plane for scheduled flight in another city, or bring a plane home after concluding a scheduled trip. The fees associated with moving the plane are often included in the fare paid by the original party, but the plane travels empty on the return flight. You can leverage this opportunity by paying sharply reduced fares to catch a ride on the empty leg flights. You can locate empty leg flights by contacting charter flight companies that have hubs in your area and requesting to be notified if they ever need to fill a seat.
- Network With Other Charter Flight Passengers
A private charter jet typically carries four to eight passengers at a time. If you find three to seven other passengers who want to make the same trip you do, the cost of taking your flight is divided by the number of passengers in your group. If you have enough friends who want to take the same trips you are taking, this might be particularly convenient. Otherwise, you can look for online forums or social media groups dedicated to connecting people looking for others to share a private charter jet with. There are also flight search engines for this purpose; however these opportunities are typically only available 48 hours out.
- Buy in Bulk
Just like the deals offered to you if you buy a package of one thousand rolls of toilet paper at one of those discount clubs, you can sometimes get great flight deals by booking your year’s travel at once. This is particular handy if you find yourself frequently traveling for work; you have to travel a lot, probably hate commercial flights, and could save quite a bit by buying in bulk. Many charter flight services offer greater deals for your loyalty the more you use with them, or offer “memberships” for unlimited flights between their major hubs for a flat monthly fee.
- Don’t Be Picky
Some private charter flights offer luxury that is equivalent to Air Force One. However, the jets that were the top of the line in luxury a couple decades ago are no longer as shiny but can still make the same trip. Some charter flight companies offer flights on older planes (that still have to pass the same inspection and safety requirements to ensure your safety as the fancy ones) at a fraction of the cost.
Do you have any other tips for snagging inexpensive charter flights? Please share them in the comment section below.