Air Charter Purchasing Guide
Prior to booking a charter flight, all jet charter consumers should pre-screen their charter broker to ensure their safety and security before ultimately choosing who to do business with. The following is a list of 25 questions that you should be asking to determine which charter broker, and charter operator, is the best match for your wants and needs.
Private Aviation Background and Experience :
1. Who is the specific FAA-certificated air charter operator that will conduct your charter flight? What experience does the operator have? How long has the operator been in aviation? How long have they been an air charter operator?
2. What types of aircraft are on the charter certificate? In what year(s) were these aircraft manufactured? Have any major refurbishments (such as interior, paint, flight equipment, etc.) been completed on these aircraft? If so, when did they occur?
3. How many aircraft and crew does the air charter operator have? Has enforcement action by the FAA ever been taken against the operator or one of its flight crewmembers?
4. How many total flight hours does the crew have? How many hours in the make/model of each aircraft?
5. If special operations will be conducted, such as extended over water flight or a mountain airport takeoff/landing, what experience (both initial and recurrent) does the crew have with these operations?
Charter Jet Safety and Security Procedures :
6. What is safety record of the air charter operator? Has the operator had any aircraft accidents or incidents? If so, what changes have been implemented by the operator to ensure increased safety?
7. Has an independent, third party organization audited the charter operator? If so, what were the findings? Does the operator compare favorably to other charter companies?
8. Although air charter operators will (appropriately) be hesitant to share the details of their security procedures and plans, what security screening protocols are in-place (e.g., to identify passengers, etc.)? What do passengers need to do to comply with the operator’s security program?
9. How often is training provided to the flight crew? What is covered in the training? Does the charter operator provide training to the crew that goes above and beyond the minimum training requirements established by the FAA?
10. Is the initial and recurrent training provided in a simulator or the aircraft?
11. What is the charter operator’s policy on crew duty and flight time limits? If a potential customer trip goes beyond these established crew flight/duty times, how would the air charter operator conduct the flight and also maintain their policies?
Private Aircraft Maintenance :
12. Who maintains the operator’s aircraft? Which program is used to maintain each aircraft (CAMP, AAIP, factory maintenance program)?
13. On the rare occasion that a maintenance issue should arise during a trip you have booked, how would your operator handle the situation?
International Jet Charter Operations :
14. For international flights, what experience does the charter operator have flying to/from/within the countries on your itinerary?
15. What specific security and safety measures or modifications does the operator implement when conducting operations in these countries?
16. Will the charter operator assist you with customs and immigration logistics, such as obtaining visas and customs forms?
17. Have the pilots, flight attendants and other employees received any customer service training? Have service standards been put in place; and if so what are they, and how are they measured?
18. What is the operator’s customer satisfaction rating: low, average, good or excellent? Can the operator supply documentation that supports this rating?
19. How soon before the scheduled charter flight will the aircraft be at the airport, and departure ready?
20. If you have concerns or complaints regarding flight irregularities, safety, or other customer service-related issues, to whom should they be directed? And is someone available 24 hours/day, seven days/week to hear these concerns and offer solutions?
Aviation Insurance :
21. Regarding aviation insurance, what company has issued the policy? What is the operator’s insurance coverage, and limits?
22. Will you be named by the charter operator as an additional insured?
23. Will you be provided with a certificate of insurance confirming the coverage and the aircraft that will be used for your charter flight and also a waiver of subrogation by the charter operator?
Charter Flight Problem Resolution :
24. If a problem arises with your charter flight arrangements, such as an aircraft that becomes unavailable after the trip is booked, how will the charter company make adjustments to accommodate you? Will the operator find another charter operator to conduct your flight?
25. In the event that a problem is encountered, and a substitute air charter operator is used, who is that operator and what are their answers to the same pre-screening questions 1-24 above?