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Flying in Bad Weather

Flying Private During Bad Weather

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The weather is getting increasingly unpredictable and it’s probably safe to say that at some point every one of us has had a flight affected by the weather. Last February, Las Vegas saw snow for the first time in over a decade and it crippled their commercial airport. We had a number of calls from people whose flight was either canceled or significantly delayed and we were able to get every one of them on their way on a private charter despite the weather.  

How were we able to do this?

First, it should be clear that private aircraft are held to the same safety guidelines as commercial airlines and that our operators and pilots always put the safety of their passengers first. Bad weather does still affect private flights, it just doesn’t impact them to the same degree as commercial airliners.

Private aircraft are smaller and transport a lot fewer people than a commercial flight. They require fewer resources and less coordination between those resources to operate. This allows them to react more quickly than commercial flights once weather begins to hinder airport operations and the backlog of flights begins.  If a window opens up that allows for take-off, they can quickly move into action. This agility is an advantage during inclement weather.  

Also contributing to the agility of private aircraft, is their access to far more airports from which to operate. During the Las Vegas snowfall previously mentioned, while McCarran Airport, the commercial airport in Vegas, was backed up and at one point shut-down, we were able to use Henderson Executive Airport, twenty minutes south of McCarran, to get our clients on their way.  Despite experiencing the same weather as McCarran, without the commercial traffic, flights into and out of Henderson Executive were able to be operated more expeditiously. 

Lastly, the flight paths for private aircraft are more flexible than those for commercial airliners, allowing private aircraft to fly over or around severe weather more easily.  This flexibility means there is a better chance your aircraft will be on its way to its destination rather than remaining grounded until the weather clears.   

The Vegas snowfall was an absolute anomaly and something we probably won’t see again for another decade, but there are plenty of airports where weather delays are a regular occurrence.  If your commercial flight is cancelled or delayed due to weather and you must get to your destination, reach out to us and we’ll let you know if a private charter is an option in getting you safely to your next destination.

And of course, you can click here to a quote in 15 minutes or less!.

Turboprops Are Your Friend

Turboprops Are Your Friend 768 320 sashadmin

The turboprop is an ideal aircraft option for short hops of one to two hours. There are many negative myths about turboprops that need to be cleared up.

Turboprops VS Jets

Both turboprops and jets use turbine engines.  The key difference between the two types of aircraft is that jet aircraft have their turbine engines encased with fan blades while turboprops have a propeller on the outside. 

The turboprop mechanism is actually more efficient and burns less fuel than the jet mechanism, which is why turboprops have a lower hourly rate than a similarly-sized jet aircraft.  However, turboprops were designed to be flown at a lower altitude and speed and therefore are not appropriate for long distances.  But if you are doing a short hop, like from Los Angeles to Las Vegas or Miami to the Bahamas, a turboprop is a cost-effective and safe solution.

Another thing turboprops have going for them is their short-field take-off and landing capabilities.  This means that they are able to use shorter runways which gives them access to those smaller, regional airports at hard-to-reach destinations.

When it comes to comfort, the interior of many turboprops are equally as luxurious as any light jet.  In fact, the baggage hold of many turboprops are more spacious than their light jet counterparts which makes them a better option when you are carrying bulky items such as skis or surfboards. 

How Safe is a Turboprop?

As far as safety, turboprops and jets both use a turbine engine, meaning their operation is very similar.  They both use similar technology including radar, GPS navigation and advanced avionics. To date there is no data demonstrating that turboprops are any less safe than jets and in fact, in certain conditions, like with short runways and steep approaches, turboprops are safer than jets because they can stop more quickly and their propellers add extra drag.  Lastly, in bird strikes, a turboprop engine is less likely to be damaged due to their inertial separator mechanism.

Lots of people confuse turboprops with piston aircraft and it must be clear that piston aircraft do not match the safety or comfort of a jet which is why we choose not to use them at ClickJets.  

Another fallacy that exists regarding turboprops is that a dual engine turboprop is safer than a single engine turboprop. This myth has been disproved by safety statistics pulled from the FAA and NTSB.   Modern turbine engines are extremely reliable, and the reality is engine malfunction is rarely the primary contributor to an accident or incident. 

The take away today? Turboprops are a safe, often luxurious and definitely economical option for your short hops of one to two hours.

Click here to get a quote on a flight today.

Private Airports

Private Airports

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You are flying private from Los Angeles to New York City and your itinerary has you departing Van Nuys and arriving into Teterboro.  What’s up with that? Why aren’t you flying LAX to JFK? 

Okay, today we are talking about the airports we use in private aviation and why. 

When possible, we use private-only airports and at the very least a low-volume commercial airport. For instance, here in LA we avoid using LAX for our flights and stick to using either Van Nuys Airport or Hawthorne Airport. Why would we do that?

Traffic: that’s both up in the air and on the ground.

Let’s start with up in the air:

Large commercial airports facilitate hundreds or thousands of flights each day. This requires a tremendous amount of coordination. If a wrench is thrown in the works, like say weather, flights start backing up and that carefully orchestrated plan quickly goes to hell. 

We want to avoid getting caught up in the flurry of commercial airliners, freight and mail carriers coming in and out of LAX. We want to make sure that your flight is cleared to depart and land on time and the best way to do that is to use an airport with limited traffic.  

When we talk about traffic that we want to avoid, we are also talking about ground traffic. The Clickjetz offices are just south of LAX Airport and airport traffic backing up on the freeway and the surrounding roads is a daily occurrence. Because tens of thousands of people are trying to reach those thousands of flights on a daily basis. We want to stay away from all those people in all those cars.  Like the air traffic, the ground traffic at private airports is significantly less.

Cost.

Private aircraft are not based at the major commercial airports due to limited space.  Every time an aircraft is moved, it costs money. So departing from the aircraft’s base keeps your cost down.  Additionally, since the commercial airports have enough to handle with their regularly scheduled flights they don’t really want to add private flights to their current load so they tend to charge higher fees than the smaller airports for using their facility.  

This isn’t to mean you cannot use a commercial airport, especially if you are meeting a connecting commercial flight, but know that the clickjetz staff will recommend the best airport for your trip to provide you the smoothest travel experience.  

Final point. Convenience

There are thousands more airports worldwide for private aircraft to use. Why is this important?   

Here’s an example.  Coachella is a popular music festival here in SoCal which takes place in the small desert town of the same name. People from across the U.S,. and beyond, come to experience Coachella and for the most part fly into LAX or Ontario Airport.  On a “normal” weekend it’s a three-hour drive from LAX and an hour-and-half drive from Ontario to reach Coachella. Of course during the festival the drive is much longer as everyone and their mother is trying to get to and from the festival.  There are some, not many, regional flights that go directly into Palm Springs Airport which cuts the drive down considerably to about 40 minutes to an hour. Private flights, however, can use Bermuda Dunes Airport which is about 6 miles from the festival grounds.  See how this is an advantage? Many people envision flying private as a champagne-sipping, luxury experience. While that is a piece of it, a major component of the “luxury” experience is ease and convenience. Being able to fly directly to your destination and not waste hours cooped up in a car is the absolute luxury.  Easy in, easy out and onto the next.

So don’t be surprised if you are offered an alternate airport on your quote, our purpose here is to provide you the best flight experience possible and that is often done by avoiding thus hub airports and taking advantage of private and low volume airports.

Have a question regarding the best airport for your trip? Reach out and we are happy to provide our expertise or answer any of your questions regarding flying private.

How much does flying really cost? Find out now with ClickJetz

How much does flying private cost?

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Today, you get the answer to the number one question regarding flying private:

How much does it cost?

Flying private is obviously awesome. You have your own aircraft, you don’t have to battle with the commercial terminal, the lines, the people, etc. The entire process is easier, quicker, more peaceful from start to finish. So what does this convenience, ease and luxury cost? 

Unfortunately, it’s not a simple question to answer because many variables go into the price of a private flight:

  • The size of the aircraft
  • The distance you’re flying
  • The type of plane

What I will tell you is that flying private IS NEVER less expensive than flying commercial! We get a lot of calls from people who think it’s going to be cheaper to have their group of 15 or 20 people fly private rather than commercial. This is absolutely NOT the case.

Once again, flying private is NEVER cheaper than flying commercial. Even on an “Empty-Leg” or “Dead-Head” flight it is not cheaper than the commercial economy.

Since Clickjetz is an “on-demand” charter company I’m going to talk about the price of on-demand charter. On-demand means that you are paying for the flight when you need it and you don’t need to have a membership.

Since there are a number of variables that go into the cost of private charter, the best way to demonstrate cost is with an example:

Scenario 1: Bachelor party flying from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

This is an hour-long flight. Remember that. 

The next thing to consider is the number of people flying and the experience you are seeking.

A group of 8 can go one way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a turbo-prop, like a Pilatus, for around $5k. Of course, pricing depends on variables like the time of year or how far in advance you book etc (just like with commercials) but on average it’s safe to say that the one hour flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is going to be about $5k. Not terrible, breaks down to $625 per person. Remember, this is just one way and is a turbo-prop so it’s the least costly aircraft on the market. The cabin will be small on the inside with a height of under 5’ so you aren’t standing up walking around.

Let’s consider this same flight, one-hour from LA to Vegas on a jet. Jets are quicker than turboprops but more expensive because they use more fuel.  If you were to do this one-hour flight on a midsize jet, which is a few steps up from a turbo prop and can still carry 8 passengers, you are now looking at a cost of around $8k for the one way.  Looking for a group of 10 people to go? Now you require a heavy jet, the largest of the private jets, and it’s going to cost you around $15k for the one way.

Understand how giving a straight-forward answer to how much it costs can be difficult?

Okay, here are some additional variables regarding pricing:

  • One-ways are always more costly per leg than a round trip because the plane must get back to its base so you are paying, in-part, for the return trip.  
  • So round-trips are always less expensive for each leg? Not necessarily.

If you are going for one or two nights you can benefit from round trip pricing. But once you stay beyond a couple days, your trip has now become two one ways.  Why? Because private aircraft make their money by flying and if it’s sitting on the ground waiting for you, it’s not making money. So it’s going to take other fares during you stay and come back to get you for your return flight. If the aircraft does stay and wait for you, you will end up paying for crew accommodations as well as possibly lost air time.

Let’s look at the cost of a round-trip with the aircraft in our Vegas scenario:

  • Turboprop one-way $5k and round trip $9k
  • Midsize one-way $8k and round trip $14k
  • Heavy Jet one-way $15k and round trip $24k

Overall, for this scenario, you are going to get the return leg for about 60% more than the one way.

Using the Vegas scenario you might assume that a turboprop is going to cost $5k/hour, a midsize jet $8k/hour and a heavy jet $15k/hour. Not necessarily.  

Let’s use a new scenario of a flight from Los Angeles to New York which is about a five hour flight.  

Scenario 2: Bachelor party flying from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

This flight on a heavy jet starts around $30k. So now your hourly rate goes from $15k for the hour for your Vegas trip, down to $6k/hour.  Why? It’s expensive to just move that heavy jet so short trips push up the hourly cost. 

Hopefully that’s cleared up private charter pricing for you and hasn’t confused you further.

There are a number of variables that affect pricing:

    • Size of aircraft 
    • Age of aircraft
    • Distance you are flying
    • The route you are flying
    • The region you are flying within
    • Whether you are flying one way or round trip

And most importantly, It’s never cheaper to fly private charter than commercial. If you are comfortable with First Class pricing then you might be ready to step up to private charter.

If you have questions regarding the cost of a flight or other questions regarding flying private,  please feel free to reach out to us for a quote or with your questions, we’re here to help you out with the entire process of private charter.

What to Expect When You're Flying Private

What to Expect When Flying Private

What to Expect When Flying Private 768 329 sashadmin

For those wondering what it’s like to fly private and those who might be flying private for the first time and want to know what to expect the day of their flight, this article is for you.

TO BEGIN

You will be departing from and arriving into either a private airport or an airport that is not a hub for commercial traffic. This is the best way to avoid traffic both on the ground and in the air which is crucial.  We don’t want you battling traffic on the ground trying to reach the airport and we don’t want your flight delayed due to air traffic.

Plus, we want to get you as close as possible to your ultimate destination which commercial airports can’t always do. 

One bit of lingo you need to know when flying private is FBO which stands for Fixed Base Operator. Your FBO is the spot from which your plane departs.  It substitutes the terminal and gate used in commercial travel but a fraction of the size. FBO can range from opulent to simple, depending on the size of the airport, but for the most part they are well-appointed facilities that offer a range of amenities for the private traveler.

Lead Time:

You only need to arrive at the airport 30 minutes prior to your departure.  Compared to commercials which have you arriving at minimum an hour before your flight, and sometimes up to two, this is a real time saver. 

Security:

When you arrive at the FBO you will let the receptionist know your name and the tail number of your aircraft and the crew will be alerted to your arrival.  Once you are ready to board the crew will escort you to the aircraft and perform “security”. They will check your government issued photo-ID and ask you some screening questions.  Then you board.

Yeah, no TSA line, no taking off your shoes and emptying your pockets, no throwing away the bottle of water you’re drinking.  You want to carry your full cup of Starbucks onto the plane? No problem.  

The crew will stow your luggage, finish final preparations and you are off.

That’s it. Super simple.

The Seating

On your aircraft, the seating depends on the aircraft you choose and Clickjetz provides a seat-map and photos of the plane’s interior when you receive a quote so you will have an idea of the configuration before you board. We will also indicate on your quote whether your aircraft has a bathroom as some small jets and turboprops do not have them.

Flight Attendants

Flight attendants come standard on Heavy Jets, but smaller aircraft do not usually have a Flight Attendant unless you request one.  

Food & Drink

All flights offer a variety of snacks and both soft and alcoholic beverages, so if your flight is without a Flight Attendant you simply serve yourself.  If you want more than chips and nuts, etc or if you have a specific request in mind, we can of course cater whatever you’d like to eat or drink to be brought on board. Or you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks on the plane, that’s never a problem.

Arriving is even easier than departing.  Once you touch down the crew will assist you in deplaning, hand you your luggage and escort you to the FBO or your waiting ground transportation and you are on your way.

COUPLE OF OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT BE WONDERING ABOUT:

What if you are running late?

We’ve all been there, stuck in traffic sweating that the plane will leave without us. Unless you are running HOURS late, your plane will not leave without you. Most aircraft provide a 30-minute courtesy window after which, depending on the situation, they might start charging you for the time. If you are extremely late and the aircraft has another pick up that they must meet then it obviously must be on the way, but if it is a reasonable amount of time that you are late, like 15-30 minutes, you don’t need to worry about your plane taking off without you.

Parking:

Parking varies by FBO, but most will valet your car on both ends.  If you are in a privately-owned vehicle or a licensed car service, you can often drive on the tarmac up to your aircraft, but this does depend on the airport rules. Nevertheless, the Clickjetz staff will provide the specific details for your arrival on your itinerary so you will have all this information in advance. 

Overall, the whole process is shorter, simpler and smoother than commercial travel.  

If you are traveling with a pet, a sick or elderly person, or a baby, avoiding those crowded terminals and keeping the total travel time to a minimum is crucial for a successful trip. 

Those with busy schedules know that time is money and the time you save by flying private is one of its greatest values.  

If you have any more questions regarding the day of flight, please reach out and we’re happy to answer them.

If you’re ready to fly private with ClickJetz, GET A QUOTE now!

Keep calm and fly on!

Keep Calm and Fly On

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“Keep Calm and Carry On” comes from a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 to boost morale in anticipation of World War II. The poster received little promotion at the time it was released and was not well-known until a copy was rediscovered in 2000 and has since then has become a fixture in popular culture.

Seventy years later this snippet of British stoicism continues to serve us well. As we carry on in this new reality of social distancing and quarantine, we want to share how it has affected the air charter market and what that means to you.

Up Arrow

The first two weeks of March saw a huge surge in demand as people rushed to reposition home or to safe shelter. In addition to an increase in the usual group of private flyers, the marketplace was flooded with commercial flyers using private aviation as a safer alternative to commercial air travel.

The peak of individuals repositioning has since slowed and existing travel plans canceled as people comply with social distancing and quarantine recommendations.  With the ongoing uncertainty as to how long the need to quarantine will last, along with economic uncertainty, little future travel is being planned at this time.

Stop Watch

The market is currently being dominated by short-term demand with the median time between booking and departure being 3 days.

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU? 

During the spike of early March availability was limited and a number of operators were setting prices at a premium.  While some operators continue to inflate prices as though demand was similar to the peak of early March, others recognize the declining trend and, eager to fly, are providing extremely competitive pricing.  If you need to fly, expect a number of well-priced options for your trip as well as the ability to book your flight on a last-minute basis.

ClickJetz recognizes that for the first time flying private has become more of a necessity than a luxury. We are dedicated to helping flyers safely and affordably reach their destinations and stand by to answer any questions to new or existing private charter flyers.

Empty Leg Flights from ClickJetz

Empty Legs

Empty Legs 768 320 sashadmin

We get tons of calls from people thinking that they’ll get to fly private for a couple hundred dollars with an empty leg.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is not the case. While this might not be the news you want to hear, the myth and rumor surrounding empty leg flights needs to be dispelled and replaced with facts.

What is an Empty Leg? 

Let’s start with defining an empty leg. An empty leg occurs when a private aircraft needs to move to a new destination but has no client/fare. The operator of the aircraft tries to make up the loss incurred in moving the empty aircraft by selling the flight at a discounted rate.

This is where the confusion comes in.

A discounted rate does not mean that the flight now costs a couple hundred dollars, but rather a discount off the regular price for the flight.

What does an Empty Leg cost?

Let’s take the example of a super midsize jet that is based in Los Angeles, taking a client to New York and needs to return to LA for its next client but doesn’t have a fare for the trip from NY to LA.

The full-price fare on this super midsize jet from LA to NY is $30k.  For the return from NY to LA the operator offers the empty leg for $25k. This is a savings of $5k and who doesn’t like to save $5k?

Many people who call us are put off when they hear that an empty leg flight still costs $25k. Their stance is that a little money is better than nothing.   For the aircraft’s operator this is not the case.

$2k of revenue on a $25k flight makes a nominal contribution towards covering operating costs.   At the same time, the operator must now assume the liability and work associated with carrying passengers. Further, it devalues their service.

This is not to mean you can’t get great deals with empty legs.  A couple of the empty legs we recently secured for our clients:

  • 8-passenger Pilatus Turboprop from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
    – Full fare $5k, discounted to $2k! 60% discount
  • 8-passenger Citation CJ2 Light Jet from Los Angeles to Dalla.
    – Full fare $22k, discounted to $15k! 32% discount!
  • 8-passenger Hawker 800XP Midsize Jet from New York to Palm Beac.
    – Full fare $18k, discounted to $12k! 35% discount
  • 12-passenger Gulfstream G-IV from Kona, HI to Los Angeles.
    – Regularly $50k, discounted to $30k! 40% discount

How much of a discount can I expect?

Each operator sets the prices and discounts for their aircraft and this can vary greatly from operator to operator.

Generally speaking, smaller aircraft are able to more deeply discount their empty legs because their operating costs are lower.  However, since they are more affordable to begin with, there are usually fewer empty legs available on small aircraft because they have an easier time filling their schedule to avoid empty legs.

Large aircraft often comprise the bulk of the empty leg market.  Due to their high operating costs these aircraft start at a higher price point and are not as easily discounted.  For many trips these large aircraft are more plane than necessary, and more costly even as an empty leg than the appropriate aircraft at full price.

For example, if you are two passengers looking for an empty leg for a three-hour flight, while an empty leg might be available on a heavy jet, most likely a light jet at full fare will be less expensive.

When should you plan on taking an Empty Leg flight?

The last thing to share about empty leg flights, and this is important, is that they are offered (for the most part) on a last-minute basis. Once an operator finds out that they need to move their aircraft with no fare, they will try to fill that flight with a full price fare. The deepest empty leg discounts are found in the days prior to the aircraft’s departure.  If you are comfortable with waiting until the last minute to book your flight, or plan a spontaneous trip, you will have the best luck finding a discounted empty leg.   

ClickJetz leads with Empty Legs

Whenever we book a flight for our clients we ALWAYS check for available empty legs – you don’t even have to ask! We love using empty legs because we can save money for our clients which makes them happy and making our clients happy, makes us happy – it’s a WIN-WIN. Check out our empty legs alerts page for a freshly updated list of our featured empty legs for that last minute trip!

More questions about Empty Legs?

As with private flights in general, there are many nuances to empty legs so if you still have questions please reach out. We love to share our knowledge of private charter and are always happy to hear from you!

Click here to get a quote from ClickJetz for a Private Charter Now.