Exploring all the options of private air travel
Fractional ownership is the most popular shared-use model in the private air travel arena. Essentially, you purchase a partial interest in an aircraft that is operated by the jet company as part of its fleet. As an owner, you have the right to use any comparable aircraft in the fleet, on demand, for a predetermined number of hours each year. (A typical agreement might include 100 hours of flying time per year for a 1/8 share.) The fractional jet company manages the fleet, providing pilots, maintenance, insurance, catering and other services. You merely call a few hours ahead of time and the jet company guarantees delivery of a plane where you want it, when you want it, to take you where you want to go.
Charter jet card programs work like fractional jet card programs in that you purchase a set number of flight hours or deposit a certain amount against which your flight hours and costs are credited. Charter jet card companies, however, don’t manage and operate a fleet of aircraft. Rather, they make arrangements with independent charter operators around the country to provide aircraft to service your trips. Although there is less uniformity in the aircraft and their operation, many charter jet card programs use safety auditing services to make certain that their operators are safe and reliable.
Of course, for single trips, traditional charter remains the best option. There are no deposits or long term commitments. You pay the cost of the trip and when your trip is completed, your commitment ends.
With the advent of so-called, “very light jets,” air taxi services, long a staple of private aviation, have re-emerged as another private jet travel option. These services are somewhat akin to the commercial airlines in that they generally fly discrete routes on somewhat pre-determined schedules and offer per seat fares.