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Charter FAQs

What is a charter?

A charter is probably one of the best kept travel secrets around. In fact, our research shows that only 17% of frequent business travelers have even considered chartering an airplane.

Last year, almost 15 million people all over the United States took to the air in charter aircraft. And every day, more air travelers are discovering just how smart charter can be:

  • Charter is saving time and, often, money on your business trips.
  • Charter is the convenience of not having to depend on the airline schedules.
  • Charter is having complete control over your travel environment -- you can land or leave whenever you'd like.

When does it make sense to charter?

Obviously, charter is only smarter under certain circumstances. The airlines are very competitive when it comes to carrying a lot of people who are able to schedule well in advance, for long distances, to a limited number of destinations. So traveling between two very distant, major cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, or traveling overseas, it definitely makes sense to travel the airlines.

There are times when charter makes a lot more sense. For example, when you have several places to go but very little time. Or, if there's more than one of you going. Or, if your destination is not a major hub. Or, when the airlines schedule does not fit your's.

So, before you can compare the costs of airline travel to Air Charter, consider the time and money you will save on overnight expenses, motels, meals and car rental, and factor in the inconveniences you often face with the scheduled air carriers.

Many times, it's smarter to charter.

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How much does a Charter cost?

The cost of a charter depends on your particular flight and really can't be determined until you call GrandAir with your specific trip plans. Generally speaking, charter fees depend on what type of aircraft you need and how far away your destination is. E-mail GrandAir now for a free quote.

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What should I ask when I get a charter quote?

You've decided to charter an airplane. So, what's your next step? First of all, lay out your travel plans. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where are you going?
  • How long are you going to stay?
  • When do you want to leave?
  • How many people will you be taking with you?
  • Will you want to stop at several locations?
  • How fast do you want to get there?

This way, you'll have all the necessary information when you call GrandAir.

Hourly rates are usually determined by how long the airplane is actually in the air. So, if there is a strong tailwind, you might get there sooner, thus lowering your cost a bit. On the other hand, a strong headwind, air traffic delays due to weather, or unexpected shifts in your route can make the time in the air a little longer.

Ask about any extra charges to the quoted price. Extras might include things like landing fees, de-icing, hangar storage, and federal or state taxes where applicable. A common extra fee is the pilot waiting fee and overnight crew charges.

If your visit is a long one, your pilot may have to drop you off, fly back to his base and then come back later to get you. This doubles the flight time and possibly your fare.

If it's only a short visit, you'd probably be better off paying the pilot to wait. Typical fees for the pilot's wait time are anywhere between $25-$150 per hour, up to a specified maximum. After the maximum waiting time, the overnight charge is imposed. Obviously, this expense doubles with a two pilot crew.

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Are these aircraft safe?

Yes. Of the 44 million General Aviation flights that will leave airports around the world this year, 99.9% of them will land at their destinations safely. More lives are lost each year due to stomach ulcers than to the actions of General Aviation. While safety is a relative issue, General Aviation (more specifically, Air Charter), with its constant improvements in training and technology, is one of the safest forms of transportation.

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How can I avoid any problems?

Do some checking. Every charter operator must have a certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) showing that his operation meets or exceeds the agency’s standards for aircraft maintenance, management control and keeping track of its crew's training, flight time and health. Also, ask for verification of the type and limits of insurance coverage carried by the Operator.

Charter pilots must hold either a Commercial Pilot Certificate or an Air Transport Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA, just as his airline counterpart does. Every six months, he or she undergoes a mandatory proficiency check ride with an FAA inspector, who also verifies the pilot's knowledge of specified routes and the aircraft he's flying—just like the airlines.

But before you charter an airplane, you may wish to contact your regional FAA office and ask whether the Charter Operation is certified and if its service record is good. Look in the phone book under U.S. Government Offices, Department of Transportation, for the number of your regional FAA office.

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How do I get a price on a charter trip?

GrandAir will be happy to quote you a price. E-mail us now or call (517) 627-9557.

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What about the ground facilities?

They will vary from airfield to airfield. The smaller airfields will often have many of the accommodations of major airports -- waiting areas, restrooms, and telephones. Many of these facilities provide complimentary airport-to-town transportation. Also, it is very likely that your charter operator can prearrange for a car to be waiting for you on the ramp when you land.

What these smaller fields lack in size, they make up for in warm hospitality. With few exceptions, people in aviation are there by choice. They like what they're doing and their enthusiasm sparks a cordial atmosphere.

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Do charter operators accept credit cards?

Yes. Most charter operators accept nationally recognized credit cards.

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Can I make my connections with airlines if necessary?

Yes. Due to security, airports with airline service are divided into separate general aviation and airline areas. But at most of these airports, courtesy cars are provided to drive you to the airline terminal.

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