Savvy travelers that need to get somewhere as efficiently as possible have found great value in charter flights. However, some travelers prefer to book both types of flight, charter or scheduled, in certain situations. There’s something to be said for the convenience private aviation provides, but for some flights, it can come with a hefty price tag.

So what is the difference between charter flights and scheduled flights, and why do some travelers alternate between them? Let’s take a look.

What is a Scheduled Flight?

Are you wondering, “What is meant by scheduled flight?” In the most basic terms, the scheduled flight meaning is a flight that’s sold seat-by-seat until the aircraft is full. This method of travel is typically employed by commercial airline companies. In some cases, a Part 135 operator (a provider permitted to provide non-commercial flights for hire) may offer these types of flights if they’re selling seats on a private jet instead of the aircraft in its entirety.  Though, this isn’t very common.

What does scheduled flight time mean? In the world of commercial aviation, this is the time that the aircraft is scheduled to depart, or leave the departure gate and head to the runway.

At Stratos, we believe selling seats on a private aircraft can hamper the safety of the traveler. It also has the tendency to increase the costs associated with flying privately.

Joel Thomas, Stratos Jet Charters CEO and founder has addressed this issue by saying, “The supply of a private air charter aircraft is reduced by the scheduling of public charters. This drives up the rates for private jet charters and shifts the focus of private aviation away from it being a tool for travel to a mere luxury.”

You can read more about private jet seat sales in a previous blog: Can you Buy a Seat on a Private Jet?

What is the Definition of a Charter Flight?

The charter flight meaning is much different than a scheduled flight with an airline. Those who book a charter flight hire the entire aircraft, which means they can set the schedule and choose their preferred departure and arrival airports. In addition to this, they can also choose the type of aircraft they prefer to charter.

And when you book with Stratos, you’ll have access to thousands of well-maintained aircraft from our preferred providers, putting the entire world in the palm of your hand.

What is the Difference Between Scheduled and Non-scheduled Flights?

To further highlight the difference between charter flight and scheduled flights, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Scheduled Flight Pros

Scheduled flights have a few perks that speak to many travelers. These flights:

  • Are generally scheduled well in advance, leaving nothing to change for travelers that prefer to book early
  • Operate on a consistent schedule, which is appealing to some travelers
  • Are cheaper than private air travel, making them the only option for travelers on a strict budget

Scheduled Flight Cons

Scheduled flights have very little wiggle room when it comes to planning an itinerary that best suits your travel needs and preferences. Because other passengers have booked a seat on the same aircraft, the flight schedule is set in stone, barring any unforeseen delays.

When you fly with an airline, you’ll also be required to make your way through the airport, stopping at various queues and line-ups along the way. And if you plan on traveling to an international destination, the airline will require you to arrive and check-in several hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.

Charter Flight Pros

Charter flights offer travelers a unique set of benefits not found with scheduled flights, like:

  • Charter flights are booked and scheduled to align with the traveler’s needs, getting them where they need to be when they need to be there.
  • When you hire an entire aircraft, you can choose the aircraft type. Besides sharing the same with people you’ve never met before, you’ll enjoy the entire cabin to yourself. For long-haul flights, you’ll also have the option of selecting and aircraft with a private jet bedroom, full-sized bathroom, and more.
  • Booking an entire aircraft means you’ll have control over every detail. Your aircraft can be outfitted with whatever you need to make your flight as comfortable as possible. Pillows with your team’s logo? Done. Your favorite snack food? It’ll be waiting for you. Your flight will be tailored to your requirements in nearly every way.
  • When you charter an aircraft, you can skip the lengthy line-ups and queues. Simply arrive at the FBO, check-in and board your waiting aircraft. And when you land? You’ll be able to choose the airport that’s closest to your final destination saving you time on the ground as well.
  • Private jet charters are one of the safest ways to travel. Just be sure to hire a broker or provider that is open and transparent about their safety policies and procedures.

Charter Flight Cons

The biggest drawback to charter flights, for some, is the cost. Chartering an entire aircraft as opposed to paying for a seat can be expensive for travelers on a budget. Of course, those that want to save on the costs of chartering a jet, should ask their private flight advisor about empty leg flights. These deeply discounted flights are a great option for savvy travelers not bound by a schedule.

What’s the difference between a charter flight and a scheduled flight? The main difference is that a scheduled flight refers to a commercial flight that sells seats on the aircraft and a charter flight refers to a private jet that’s been booked by an individual or private group.

Which is a Safer Type of Flight: Charter or Schedule?

There’s a common myth out there when it comes to the difference between charter flight and scheduled flight. Some believe that private charter jets are not as safe as scheduled commercial aircraft, and that’s simply not true.

Part 135 operators are held to an extremely high standard of safety, and some providers even excel beyond what’s required of them. If you’re booking with a charter broker, we recommend looking at their in-house safety procedures. Make sure they hold the appropriate accreditations and employ their own in-house safety policies and procedures that go above what’s expected of them.

And according to ICAO Accident Statistics, we can see that the accident rate of scheduled commercial flights on airplanes is 0.57 for 2021 across the globe, making both methods of travel extremely safe.

For more information on air charter safety, check out our previous blog: Air Charter Safety: A Look at the Safest Private Planes.


Now that you know the difference between charter flight and scheduled flights, let us know if we can help you book a private charter. Our private flight advisors can help you pick the best aircraft for your journey and our Trip Support team will help you finalize the rest of the details. To get started and Soar Higher on your next flight, Reach out for a free quote today or call (888) 765-5750.