How far in advance should I book my private jet flight?
Generally speaking, you should give as much notice as possible when booking a private flight. This will give you more availability which means better value and lower-priced aircraft. However, 75% of privately chartered flights are booked within two weeks of departure, which can mean clients only have a handful of options.
Sometimes, a client needs a flight at extremely short notice. This is what we call an ASAP (As Soon As Possible) situation. Usually, we aim for a four-hour turnaround in an ASAP situation to find the aircraft, ask the operator to get the crew ready, inform the operator of all the requirements for the trip, and make sure the client signs off. A two-hour call-out is also needed for the pilots. They have to get to the airport, make a pre-flight inspection, fuel up and be ready to go.
If you’re a jet card member, we’ll aim for three hours. However, to accommodate such short notice requests you may have to select a higher-priced plane, or older aircraft that were not selected by other customers.
Does charter provide a reliable way to book when there's not that much time left?
Yes, because there's almost always an aircraft available. If there is no suitable plane at your nearest airport, your broker can help you find one nearby. You can travel to that airport, or they can reposition the aircraft closer to you.
Fixed-rate jet cards and fractional models require at least 12 hours’ notice, but chartering is much faster. If an available aircraft is positioned at a nearby airport, with a crew that is ready to fly, we can have jet card clients wheels-up in three hours, and within four hours for on-demand charter clients. Repositioning requires six hours’ notice.
In one specific example, Paramount Business Jets managed to arrange a flight in just 42 minutes. That was a very special case, however, and was helped tremendously by a series of favorable conditions.
What is the ideal amount of notice when booking a trip in advance?
More notice is better than less notice, but owners may not have their schedules ready if you ask too far in advance. Operators can be reluctant to provide quotes until they receive that schedule.
With this in mind, 1-3 months’ notice is ideal. Making a request in this window gives you the biggest choice of aircraft in terms of value, pricing and other options. In the final month before departure, your options begin to decrease.
Operators like to have their aircraft booked out by the week of the trip. There may be some available, but only on certain days. These options get even slimmer in the last couple of days before the trip.
If there’s an empty leg at very short notice – such as two days before the flight – we can ask the operator for a more competitive rate, but it likely would have been cheapest to book earlier.
How far in advance should I call to book an empty leg flight?
There are two methods to book a one-way flight:
- Book using a floating fleet. You’ll receive a well-serviced jet from a large fleet. Because they have so many, you can schedule far in advance. For example, you can comfortably book a one-way flight two months before you depart.
- Book an empty leg. These usually become available around two weeks before the date of departure. It’s around this time that the original flyer – who has booked the other leg of the return flight – has a high chance of flying. This makes it safer to sell the empty leg.
Operators may lower the price when there is very little time left before the departure of an empty leg. However, these flights are not a safe option if you need a guaranteed flight. If you rely on an empty leg opening up, but none become available, you might end up paying for a round-trip to fly one-way.