Are there any blackout dates for flying privately?
There will be certain days which are blacked out on the calendar if you use a fixed rate jet card program. You can still fly on these days, but not at the fixed rate; you’ll be charged extra. However, when you fly via private charter, there are no limits – you can fly at any time of the year.
Popular periods such as Christmas and New Years are referred to as ‘high-flying times’, or ‘blackout dates.’ These are highly likely to be unavailable on a fixed-rate jet card program.
If you use a broker, they can hunt down all available aircraft and present the options to you. The more notice you provide, the better your chances. The broker may still be able to secure an aircraft for you even if you wait until a day or two before Christmas – though you may need to travel a little further than usual to get to it.
During blackout dates, your options will likely be more limited with both fixed-rate jet cards and private jet charter. These are usually during the holidays, from Memorial Day to the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. During these periods, a fixed-rate service cannot guarantee you an aircraft.
For example, let’s say you have 25 hours left to use on a fixed-rate service, and you want to book an aircraft for the 4th of July. Because this is a blackout day, you cannot use any of your 25 hours on this day. They may offer you an aircraft for an additional fee – typically double that you’ll be charged to charter – or they may not have an aircraft available at all.
By contrast, a broker will be transparent with you from the moment you begin booking. They’ll find you an aircraft for blackout dates at the most cost-effective rate possible. Not only do you get to fly when the other card programs have blackout dates, but you’ll also pay less.