Booking a charter flight isn’t something that most people are familiar with, and if this is your first time going with a charter plane company over flying commercial, the entire experience can seem a little overwhelming.

Flying charter offers a lot of advantages over traditional air travel, including the ability to go places that commercial planes don’t fly, the ability to tailor a schedule to meet your specific needs, and—perhaps most important of all—avoiding that cramped middle seat between two strangers. Before you book your first charter flight, though, here are some questions you should ask to make sure you have a safe and stress-free flight.

1: Do You Own Your Planes?

Some charter airline companies just rent their aircraft, while others own a fleet. Generally you will get better service and more flexibility to customize your trip if you go with a company that owns its own airplanes. In addition, a charter plane company that has its own fleet will often have more control over safety and maintenance.

2: Can I See Some Information About the Safety of Your Aircraft?

Any reputable charter airline company will be willing to show you all their safety information, including things like:

  • Maintenance records
  • History of accidents or incidents for an aircraft or a pilot
  • Total hours your pilot has flown (250 is required to get a commercial license, but many companies require 2,500 or more)
  • Any health issues with the pilot(s) that could impact your safety in flight (and whether there are one or two pilots on your flight)

3: Are There Daily Minimums or Fees?

If you plan to rent a charter plane that shows an hourly rate, you might assume that a short flight—say 45 minutes—would be pro-rated. However, some companies require a daily minimum, so you’ll get charged for that no matter how short your flight. Some companies also have add-ons like short hop fees or high-density fees to major metropolitan airports due to arrival and departure delays, which can add even more to your bill. Nobody wants a surprise bill after the trip, so make sure you ask about all fees and minimums up front.

4: Are There Weight/Luggage Limitations?

Since charter aircraft are smaller than commercial airliners, it’s important to know the weight limits, including any restrictions on luggage, before you fly. You don’t want to arrive and learn you can’t take the 7 bags you packed for a month-long stay on a Caribbean island, then have to figure out how to consolidate your stuff into just one bag before boarding.

If you’re ready to book a charter plane to a destination in the southeastern U.S., Florida, the Bahamas, or the Caribbean, Plane Travel can get you there. Call us today to find out more about how easy it can be to book a charter flight.