How to charter a private jet? Easy step by step walk through.


May 22, 2024

15 min read

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    For most of us, the first time we stepped into the cabin of a private jet wasn’t as an owner or a jet card holder. Instead, we began as private jet charter passengers. Renting a private jet is the gateway to living larger, traveling farther, and experiencing unparalleled freedom.

    But booking a charter isn’t the same process as buying a business class ticket. See how easy it is to charter a private jet for the uninitiated.

    What is a private jet charter?

    A private jet charter (aka a private jet rental) is a premium service for the exclusive use of an entire aircraft. It allows individuals (or small groups) to fly on a schedule they set, offering flexibility, privacy, and convenience far surpassing anything available from commercial airline travel, even business class options.

    Unlike scheduled passenger airline service, a privately chartered flight is arranged outside a regular airline timetable. A resort might arrange a charter flight for its clients; business executives might hop on a charter for a more streamlined mission between meetings; and high-net-worth individuals lean into charter flights for the elevated privacy and comforts they afford.

    Where to book a private jet charter.

    In the world of private jets, there are two ways to book: a private jet broker or directly through an operator such as Volato.

    Charter brokerages are specialized agents who act as intermediaries between clients and operators to simplify the process for clients. Brokers are well-versed in all aspects of private jet travel and typically work with several operators to find the right aircraft, terms, and concierge services for every client and every mission.

    However, you may be able to simplify the process one step further by booking directly through the operator. While not all private jet companies allow direct booking, Volato makes it easy to book on-demand flights through a simple quoting tool.

    Fly where, when, and how you choose with the help of our world-class customer service team.

    Cut out the intermediary to lock in your next charter flight with Volato.

    What should you consider when choosing a private jet charter?

    The beauty of flying private is the level of freedom it allows. You won’t be stuck choosing a seat among hundreds on a crowded aircraft; instead, you can choose the operator and then the aircraft itself.

    As you or your booking assistant explore the available options for your next charter flight, consider the following:

    Aircraft selection

    As mentioned, chartering a private jet means you can select the jet to suit your travel needs in terms of range, passenger capacity, or cabin amenities. There are notable differences between charter operators in terms of the aircraft in their fleet. Explore the available operators to find one whose fleet can meet the needs of your next mission.

    choosing a private jet charter

    Safety standards

    Yes, flying is safer then traveling by car, bus, or train, but that doesn’t mean an operator’s record and adherence to safety standards isn’t worth consideration. Does the operator make their record public? Do they go beyond the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements?

    With Volato, safety is our number one priority. We’ve achieved ARGUS Platinum, IS-BAO Stage 3 and Wyvern safety ratings, and we ensure every mission is manned with two pilots.

    Reputation and customer experience

    Volato distinguishes itself in the industry by maintaining one of the highest Net Promoter Scores (NPS), with an 88 percent 12-month rolling average in 2023. Customers should prioritize companies like Volato that deliver excellent customer support before, during, and after the flight.

    Availability and flexibility

    A private charter operator with a fleet of jets will offer more availability and flexibility than one with just a handful of jets. The more jets it manages, the more options you’ll have when booking.

    Cost and transparency

    Cost isn’t the first concern for many high-flyers when booking a private flight, but you will find a certain degree of price variability among operators. At the very least, look for charters that offer pricing transparency and provide a detailed quote with each charge broken out by line item. Transparency builds trust and ensures an operator understands your exact mission specifications.

    Step by step: How to book a private jet.

    Chartering a private jet is a relatively simple process, but it does differ from booking a standard commercial airline ticket. Buying a business class ticket from New York to Miami happens entirely through an airline’s website or a travel agent, but in most circumstances, chartering is a quote-based process.

    Here is what to expect when you book your first private jet charter flight:

    Step 1: Detail your travel requirements

    Because chartering a private jet is designed to suit your specific travel needs, you’ll need to know these details before you request a quote. Determine how many people you’ll be flying with, where you’ll fly to and from (including the airports), your flight time flexibility, and any add-ons like in-flight catering, flight attendants, or pre- and post-flight concierge services.

    Step 2: Find a charter provider (or brokerage)

    With more than 15,000 private charter companies operating in the US, no matter where you depart from, you should have several options regarding which operator or broker you choose to work with.

    Not all operators in your area will have the jet size, jet availability, or charter services that meet your travel needs. With variations between each operator for fleet, services, and price, take the time to consider your flight needs, concierge expectations, and the operator’s safety profile.

    Step 3: Request a quote

    With your mission details in hand and a charter company lined up, it’s time to request a quote. Be sure to include the fundamentals in your request: number of passengers, dates, locations, and any additional concierge services you’ll need.

    Whether you are booking via a brokerage or directly with an operator like Volato, this step may happen by phone, via email, or through a streamlined online request form.

    Ready to charter your next flight with Volato?

    Step 4: Review the quote and complete the contract

    If you’ve requested a quote from Volato, someone on our customer service team will quickly get back to you with a detailed quote. We can quote up to 90 days in advance, and all quotes are valid for 24 hours after issue.

    Review the line items to ensure the mission specifics are correct and any special requests have been included. Questions about a line item? The Volato customer service team is always available to clarify the quote.

    Step 5: Complete payment

    If the details of your charter quote are dialed in and you’re ready to lock in the schedule, payment is due at the time to secure your upcoming private flight. The customer service team will be able to confirm payment methods with you when booking. Remember, Volato quotes are valid for 24 hours of issue.

    Step 6: Get ready for takeoff

    The only step left for renting a private jet is to show up in time for departure. Keep in mind this won’t be several hours before your flight departure. When flying privately, you only need to check in mere moments before you take off.

    You can also check with your booking agent for directions to private terminals (called FBOs fixed-based operators). If the terminal is unfamiliar to you, getting directions to the FBO is always recommended, as Google or Apple maps may not always be accurate.

    How much does it cost to charter a private jet?

    Private jet charters are priced hourly as an occupied hourly fee. While the price isn’t dependent on the number of passengers (you are renting out the entire private jet), it depends on jet class and flight duration. The longer the flight and the larger the aircraft, the greater the occupied hourly fee.

    What else impacts the cost of a private jet rental? Here’s the rundown of all the items that will dictate the final quoted price:

    • Jet class
    • Market demand
    • Fuel costs and surcharges
    • Crew expenses
    • Airport fees
    • Pre- and post-flight services
    • In-flight amenities
    • Jet card or membership discounts

    With so many variables, it’s difficult to make any sweeping statements about how much it costs to charter a private jet. For the shortest flights on small jets like Volato’s HondaJets, expect a few thousand dollars. For longer missions on larger aircraft, costs increase.

    private jet booking
    Take off on your first private jet mission on board one of Volato’s national fleet of state of the art HondaJets.

    Your best bet to get an accurate cost estimate for your next mission is to connect with the Volato team for a quote. There is no commitment and no fee. We’re happy to provide a customized quote based on your specific trip details.

    Preflight preparation.

    Flying private means very little pre-trip preparation is required once you confirm the quote and send payment.

    Unlike flying commercially, you won’t need to worry about what to pack in carry-ons versus checked baggage or how to fit everything within the allotted luggage limit. You also won’t have to worry about what refreshments (if any) will be available from the in-flight service.

    With a private jet rental, the pre-flight preparation is minimal. First, luggage limits are based on the aircraft, not on a per-person basis. Many jet models even provide in-flight luggage access.

    Second, as part of the quoting process, you’ve already decided on your in-flight refreshments. If you can dream it up, we can put it on the menu.

    Third, we can also arrange for pre-and-post-trip transportation, so there won’t be any need to navigate the nightmare of airport parking.

    Beyond the customer service team contacting you closer to your departure date to confirm your flight, if you fly privately, you can put the usual stressors of pre-flight preparation aside.

    Post-flight considerations.

    As soon as you land at your destination, you will go to your next meeting, tee time, or wine tasting. With a commercial flight, there is often a lot of post-flight waiting and wandering through the public airport hallways and endless luggage carousels.

    Instead, you’ll be landing at an FBO, which means no lineups, no waiting, and no chaotic luggage carousel. Your post-flight considerations are minimal and may even be included in the concierge services.

    But there are two final steps you’ll want to take care of: customer feedback and outstanding charges.

    Providing feedback to the charter company

    Providing feedback to your charter company allows you to reflect — positively or negatively — on the service you’ve experienced.

    Feedback is essential to ensure operators fix any glaring issues and better match client expectations with deliverables. If the operator sees a demand for new services, your feedback can also help inspire them. Most importantly, for the private jet charter company, your feedback is like a temperature check to ensure that what they offer aligns with the needs of their clients.

    Volato delivers a survey at the end of every mission to ensure continuous improvement of our services. Your feedback helps us evolve.

    Settling any outstanding charges

    Depending on the in-flight amenities and concierge services used, additional charges may apply after your flight lands. In the rare circumstance that you and your party added last-minute refreshments, crew, or on-ground services to your private charter, you will need to settle these once you’ve landed.

    Rent your first private jet today.

    If you’ve never chartered a private jet, today is the day to start. In a way that a business class ticket could never, flying private allows you to skip the stress and disorder of a public terminal to land at your destination in a much more relaxed and leisurely manner.

    private jet rental

    Fly where, when, and how you want through the freedom of a private jet rental. Connect with the Volato team to get a quote today.

    Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. Volato is not responsible for omissions or inaccuracies in such information, or for data that is no longer accurate due to delay, change in law, rules, or regulations.