How do I choose the right aircraft?
The two key aspects you should consider are the size and performance of the aircraft. Plus, you have to think about your personal preferences. Maybe you want the jet to be very luxurious, or maybe you’re flying alone on a short trip but would still prefer a large jet with a flight attendant. It’s all about what you want.
The minimum standard refers to an aircraft that’s capable of completing the journey as desired. For example, let’s say you want a light jet to fly from LA to Hawaii. However, a light jet can’t make that flight without making a stop, so it’s usually not a viable option. Instead, your broker will recommend at least a super-midsize jet as the minimum standard. Of course, it could also be a larger jet, depending on your needs.
Your broker will be able to recommend the best type and size of aircraft based on how many people will be flying, the amount of luggage, and how far you’ll need to travel. If they don’t ask you these key questions, they might not be knowledgeable enough. And, a charter broker should always work within your budget. You shouldn’t feel pressured into making a purchase outside your comfort zone.
Conversely, some airports may only be able to accommodate smaller jets. Or maybe you’re heading to Aspen – a popular choice for ski enthusiasts. If this is the case, will you have enough space on your jet to accommodate all the extra luggage? Striking a balance to find the right size is key.
The size of an aircraft is important in multiple ways. If you have six passengers, you’ll need a plane with a suitable capacity. But what are the passengers like? For example, let’s say you’re flying with a very important client that you know is especially tall. You may want to consider a larger jet with a taller cabin, allowing them to move around comfortably.
The interiors themselves are another major point to consider. Two owners could each offer the same model for charter, but the interiors might differ greatly. One may have its original interior that’s been minimally maintained, while the other may have all the latest gadgets and upgrades and be in immaculate condition. Doing your research here can really pay dividends.
You’ll also need to consider sleeping configurations. If you’re on a longer flight, will you want to get some rest onboard? Also, think about speed; are you flying to a business meeting and trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible? Or is this a once-in-a-lifetime treat that you’ll want to soak in? Factor this into your choice of aircraft.
If you’re flying internationally, there may be certain operational aspects that the operator needs to ensure are in place. Your broker should be able to explain this to you in a simple way to help you make the correct decision, and you can then crosscheck this information with another aviation operation to ensure that you have the right aircraft to complete the mission. You may also ask to speak directly with the operator for added peace of mind; if your broker is being honest and transparent, this shouldn’t be an issue.
There is no single aircraft which must be used for a certain event or journey. However, your comfort should always be a top priority when flying private, and this is where your broker can help. For example, you really shouldn't fly more than three hours at a time in a light jet, simply because passengers usually start to feel uncomfortable sitting for longer than that without space available to move around.