What is a Charter Flight and Benefits of Flying Private?

July 15th, 2021 | Traveling Tips

While the end of the pandemic could very well be on the horizon, traveling around the world is still restricted and getting onto flights is still not easy. So many are turning to the idea of taking a charter flight to get around.

Even when things settle again, private flying has been used by many for years and years. It’s exclusive, safe, and convenient.

But what is a charter flight and what are the benefits of private aviation?

What is a Charter Flight?

To charter a flight means you are paying for a private plane service. Much like taking a private cab, you are in charge of where you’re traveling and when you’re making the journey. This means private flying is flexible, compared to scheduling a trip on regular public airplanes. You rent the plane and decide on the vessel, the pilot, the dates, the fly time, the destination, the passenger list, the airport – the lot.

It’s also up to you whether you are flying one way or on a round trip. You are also in charge of making decisions about ground transfers, catering, and crew.

Benefits to Flying Privately

Chartering a flight is fast and direct, cutting out all the hassle of travelling aboard a commercial flight.

You’re In Charge

Charter flight services are typically sold by the hour, and there’s no need to worry about scheduling connecting flights as your private journey will be direct. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, flying privately has increased by 40% where the transportation of families is concerned. This demonstrates that, amid the pandemic, it’s not just businesses using charter flights, with families looking to get back in the air. Perks include no lining up, no security screenings, and no waiting for luggage to be transported off the plane to the terminal with everyone else’s baggage.

You can also arrive to a charter flight much closer to take-off time than with commercial flying. Often it’s a matter of getting to the airport with 15 minutes to spare. And sometimes, depending on the airport and facilities, you can drive right up to your plane and leave your car there while you’re away. Another benefit comes via the transportation of pets. This can be trickier on commercial flights, with pets often having to travel in the hold. A private charter will let them ride with you – a less stressful experience for sure.

Business is Booming

In 2008, chartered flights suffered, thanks to the financial crisis that hit the economy at the time. But the same cannot be said of the way the industry has been affected by coronavirus. Those who can fly privately, where many aren’t able to, will do so. It allows travel amid times of heavy restrictions and keeps you in your own bubble in a time where health is at risk. Private flying is also great for business purposes. Whether it’s just you on the plane or others, you can often opt to sit in a closed off section, or be with the rest of your passengers. If you’re on a work trip with others, you can take advantage of having the plane to yourself and conduct that all important business meeting at 30,000 feet.

These planes also provide iPhone/Android connectivity and WiFi – private to you. There’s less likely to be signal interference with the fewer users and exclusive network on a chartered jet.

Sit Back and Relax

You are often able to depart from a private terminal on a charter flight, known as an FBO. Perhaps the biggest perk of all is the comfort and room on offer, compared to a commercial flight. Even first class flying is a tad confined, with the charter plane providing ultimate luxury. Space to sit, lie, stretch out and roam. These flights also offer variations on catering options – from gourmet deliveries to onboard cooking. Many private jets provide entertainment too, such as high-end stereo systems and satellite TV.

Good for the Environment

A major benefit is the direction private flights are taking to lessen their carbon footprint. And this has been true of flying amid a pandemic. While carbon emissions have been on the decline due to fewer people traveling on the ground and in the air, a smaller, private plane will make less of an environmental impact that traveling on a larger, commercial airplane. This can justify taking advantage of chartered flights in the current global climate. As well as this, many private jet companies provide systems to offset carbon emissions.

Increased Safety

Amid COVID-19 – and in the aftermath of it – plans have enforced strict health and safety guidelines. Chartered flight providers are even more stringent than commercial flights, partly because the lower amount of passengers means there are fewer people to keep tabs on. On top of this, private passengers will be expecting the top quality from their chartered service, having paid to travel safely and securely. It is also worth noting that those traveling on a commercial flight will experience, on average, 700 contact points with other objects and people. Private flying will only expose you to approximately 30 of the same contact points.

Of course, those who own their own jet eliminate any extra concerns about safety and hygiene, as it is solely your responsibility and your own property.Having your own private plane gets rid of health and safety concerns. You are the boss and run how the plane operates and is looked after and managed. This includes being able to limit precisely who has access to your plane – most likely your closest friends or family. Having your own plane also means you are subject to fewer restrictions thanks to the Part 91 rules. You will also be allowed to enter a vaster array of airports that meet the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s specs.

Passenger identification is also not usually required for trips within the US thanks to Part 91 rules. ID checks still may take place and those at least 18 years old will be required to prove official photo identification while aboard the charter flight.

Do You Have To Be Super-Rich To Fly Privately?

The answer is no – and the effects of the pandemic proves this due to the concerns around traveling commercially. The COVID-19 crisis has actually led to chartered planes becoming accessible to a larger range of consumers. Flyers have been worried about the spread of the virus given the transmission rates that being in confined areas can cause. Over Memorial Day weekend 2020, there was a spike of 58% of air traffic from chartered flights in stark contrast to the same weekend in 2019. Commercial airlines suffered a significant drop in customers too, according to flight data tracker Argus.

Corporations followed suit as employers worried their workers were unable to attend meetings so chartered a plane instead. Businesses also joined in with this new trend, not just those flying for leisure. Employers have worried that their employees cannot make journeys for meetings, or be able to get around to actually conduct their work. The answer: charter a jet.

Generally, there are four main types of private flight, as listed below:

Private and Public Charter Flights

A private charter flight is for individual use – so your trip is totally your own. This means you hire the entire plane for just yourself or your group and it is exclusive to you. This can be for as little as 1 to 100 passengers. It ordinarily works by the main renter covering the cost. Public charters are usually organized via air carriers and the carriers’ rota. It is a more restrictive method as you cannot totally take charge of your itinerary. Instead you must adapt to the pre-planned rotas. These types of flight can be arranged via operators from low-budget airlines as well as regularly scheduled carriers. Tour operators often organise these types of flights.

Public Charter

Public charter flights tend to be available via air carriers and often on a seasonal rota. Schedules are limited, unlike with a private charter which allows you to totally plan the itinerary. Public charters tend to include operators from low-budget airlines as well as regularly scheduled carriers, and often are organized via tour operators and travel agents.


The likes of currency, furnishings, donated goods, medical assets, military equipment and livestock are transported on cargo flights. These are flown without passengers and are chartered by private individuals or companies to transport particular types of cargo.


Not for general public use, Affinity flights are often used for sports teams of musicians being taken to a big events. Or indeed fans of sports and music going to these events. Affinity flight passengers will usually be linked to a company, business, or organization.

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