We’ve all seen the movies where superstars and pro sports teams travel in their air charter private jets to some luxurious lands. As extravagant as this process by private aircraft may seem, it might not be too far out of your reach.

Although it always seems to be worth it in the end, traveling can be overwhelming and stressful—mainly because of the flights involved and the process that goes into boarding a commercial airline.

Whether you’re a corporate traveler headed across the country for a meeting, hospital staff trying to lift a critical patient to a hospital, or just a family on your way to a vacation overseas, air charter might be something for you to look into.

Here’s everything you need to know about air charter:

What is Air Charter?

Air Charter refers to a variety of services available that allow different people—including individuals, corporations, teams, groups, etc.—to charter airplanes for their use.

As opposed to purchasing a ticket for an individual seat on a traditional airline, air charter is the business of renting an entire aircraft.

Instead of specializing in selling transportation by the seat (like airlines do), air charter companies focus on other needs for transportation. These include individual private aircraft and itineraries, urgent or time-sensitive cargo, air ambulance service, and other forms of ad hoc air transportation.

Some of these air charter companies offer more than just an aircraft, also offering flight by helicopters and business jets.

Typical plane charters accommodate 5 to 10 people on smaller business jets or as many as 50 on larger business jets.

Why Fly By Air Charter—Is Charter Flight Right?

The answer for to why to choose charter is simple: charter flights are much more convenient than flying on commercial airlines.

Whatever your priorities, charter air travel gives you the freedom to organize the trip around your own needs with direct flights to nearly anywhere in the world.

There are many downfalls of traveling on an airlines service, that you don’t have to deal with when you choose air charter instead.

Time is Money

Most often, traditional airlines take up a lot of time unnecessary time.

Flying on regular airlines means you travel by their times and their rules. You must adhere to that specific airline’s schedule, whether the flights arrive or take off on time or not.

During travel via airlines, you fly by their route. In some instances, this includes zigzagging along their routes, changing planes, and adding precious hours and minutes to your travel time.

They’re Not Called Airlines for Nothing

No one likes to wait in lines, and those at commercial airports are some of the worst.

Flight via traditional airlines can take up a lot of travelers’ time by keeping them waiting in different lines at every step of boarding a commercial plane.

Traveling (already a long process) therefore becomes even more stressful and overwhelming with the seemingly never-ending lines.

On the other hand, with air charter, you have more freedom. With the ability to fly where you want, when you want, in the plane of your choice, you decrease travel time and enjoy an overall better experience.

Additionally, with air charters, you get to avoid check-in procedures and the lines that come with it.

In fact, after an air charter service has all your information and your charter has been reserved, the only part left of the process is loading your baggage and keeping you in comfort on the plane.

Treat Yourself—Living in Luxury

Have you ever traveled first class on a traditional airline? If you have, you’ve seen just a tiny taste of the personal comfort and convenience an air charter company offers.

Privacy is not a luxury you get on commercial airlines. When discussing private matters or just enjoying some alone time on a charter, you won’t have to worry about who is seated next to you.

What to Know Before Choosing Air Charter

Here are some important factors to know about and consider when choosing to fly via air charter.

Cost

Price per charter depends on the size and type of the jet and the time spent traveling.

Expected prices per hour of flight on a light jet range from $3,000 to $4,000. Mid-size jet prices are usually between $4,000 and $5,500. The estimated cost for a heavy jet is $5,000 to $6,000 per hour of flight time.

Seating 6-8 people, a light size jet has about 2-3 hours of range.

Midsize jets are larger and have about 3-4 hours of range. These jets often seat up to 9 passengers comfortably.

Heavy jets are—you guessed it—even bigger and typically offer full stand- up cabins, and they seat up to 14 passengers in full comfort. Heavy jets have a range of 7-9 hours (or more).

How Far in Advance to Book a Charter Flight

It’s recommended to schedule your flight as soon as your plans for the trip are set.

The earlier you book, the wider variety of options you have for aircraft on your travel dates.

How Soon Before Your Departure to Arrive at the Airport

One of the benefits of charting a private jet is that you get the beauty of setting your own schedule.

For domestic flights, it’s recommended to get to the terminal at least 5 minutes prior to departure.

With international flights, try to arrive at the airport at least 15 minutes before your scheduled departure.

Of course, it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s always good idea to give yourself some extra time for travel wiggle room.

Customs and Air Charter

Even while using air charter, you cannot avoid customs.

However, the customs process is known to be quicker for those traveling by charter. So don’t let the thought of time spent in customs deter you from chartering a plane and taking that vaycay you’ve always dreamed of!

Tipping the Crew

Charter pilots themselves typically say that they don’t expect tips. But of course, they always appreciate them, especially for exceptional service.

What constitutes “exceptions” is up to you.

In the end, it’s your choice whether or not to tip the crew. There is no right or wrong in this case.

If you want to put yourself in control of your own schedule and place a fleet of aircraft at your disposal anywhere you are in the world, aircraft charter is for you.

Have you ever had an exceptionally bad experience with flying via traditional commercial airlines? Tell us about it in the comments!