Once you have made the decision to fly by private charter, you may be wondering just where to start. It is important to be careful when selecting an air charter company, as you will want to find one that best suits your needs and provides the highest level of safety and comfort for you and your fellow travelers.
When you research some of the many available charter companies, you should make a list of points to verify and questions to answer for each. Some of the things you may want to know about these companies in order to make your decision include such areas as background and experience, safety and security, aircraft maintenance, aviation insurance, problem solving, customer service, and international flights.
Your jet charter company should employ a charter operator with FAA certification and a decent amount of operational experience. You may want to find out how long they have been in business. The experience of the flight crew is also highly important, including the number of total flight hours and flight hours for each type of aircraft, and experience with special operations (mountain airports, extended flights over water, etc). You may also want to know if the FAA has ever taken corrective action against the charter operator or one of its flight crewmembers, and why.
Some charter companies employ different aircraft than others. Find out what type of aircraft the operator uses, how old they are, and what major repairs they have undergone, if any. Also check to see how the aircraft are maintained, and by whom. There are a number of aircraft maintenance programs which may be in use, including CAMP, AAIP, and factory maintenance programs. Another good point to be aware of is how the charter operator will handle any maintenance situations that arise during a trip, should they occur.
One area you will definitely want to be certain of is that of safety. Ask about the operators safety record and any past accidents or incidents. Though no one likes to discover that their preferred charter company has such situations in their history, new and better safety measures have likely been implemented as a result, ultimately increasing the safety of your flights. You should research these improvements as well. Also find out if the charter company uses any independent third-party safety auditor organizations, and which one(s). You can then learn about the companys audit findings and compare them to other charters.
For both your research and your eventual flight plans, youll want to know what security screening procedures passengers must prepare for on each flight. Also ask about flight crew trainingthey will need to keep their training up to date and may do so in a simulator or in the actual aircraft.
In a similar vein, you should know with which company the charter operator holds an aviation insurance policy, and what coverage and limits are included. Will you be covered by the charter operators policy?
If a problem with scheduled flight operations were to develop, such as the aircraft becoming unavailable, you will want to know how this situation will be resolved. Find out if the charter company will need to use another charter operator, and how they measure up to the criteria you have been using to assess other operators.
One of the less vital areas you may want to research is that of customer service. While not critical to your safety onboard the aircraft, this topic will likely contribute to your comfort and overall satisfaction. Find out if the companys employees receive customer service training, and what service standards are enforced. You can ask if the company has any documentation for customer satisfaction ratings, and where that rating stands.
Finally, if you are planning to fly to another country, you should be aware of the charter companys experience with international operations. There may be increased safety and security measures to take into account. You will also need to expect some type of immigration and customs procedures.
With all of these considerations in mind, it should be easy to understand the importance of researching any air charter companies you are interested in employing before flying private . Be thorough and pay attention to details and you will be much better prepared to deal with any unexpected situations that arise, as well as having greater peace of mind during your travels.