Is the Flight-sharing Model Safe During a Pandemic?
Hiring a private jet charter comes with many perks, but the one that’s most sought after is the privacy this luxury affords. Enjoying a private cabin while flying between your two vacation homes or from your office to a client’s office is both peaceful and pleasurable – and in the COVID era, it’s also low risk.
But what about sharing a private jet? Are there health risks involved? Lately, our private flight advisors have been asked many questions about the flight-sharing model, which is why we decided to share our thoughts on the shared-flight model and what you should know before you consider booking a seat.
The origins of flight-sharing on private jets
The companies that offer shared charters have been dubbed the Uber of private jets. At first thought, it’s a nice idea. They likely started out with the goal to make private jet travel more affordable, and these providers introduced the idea of flight-sharing into the marketplace as a way to achieve that.
As expected, the flight-sharing model gained traction in the marketplace and savvy travelers hoping to cash in on an affordable private charter experience pushed this flight model into the limelight.
Is flight-sharing less of a luxury?
In a time when bio-security protocols are being enforced and of paramount importance with every charter booking, the idea of strangers sharing such close quarters for extended periods of time is raising concerns throughout the private aviation community.
Though it’s not much different than booking a seat on an airliner with a commercial airline company, the whole point of hiring a private jet, especially right now, is to avoid large groups of people and travel in the safest manner.
When this safety element is removed from the equation, it poses the question: Is the private flight-sharing model flawed, and is COVID-19 effectively reducing its popularity?
Some of the risks involved with flight sharing, pandemic or not, include:
- Increased likelihood of catching a virus
- Close proximity to strangers
- Increased high-touch surfaces
- Less peace of mind
- Reduced privacy
- Limited luggage capacity
- May not be able to travel with pets or family
Is the reduced fare worth the risk?
If saving money is important to the traveler, another safer option to be considered is empty legs. These deeply discounted flights are great for travelers with a flexible schedule. Through Marketplace, these flights can be easily discovered and booked. When you compare the cost of an empty leg flight with a shared flight, the difference is minimal. That difference is likely worth paying when it comes to reducing the likelihood of catching the COVID-19 virus.
Besides the risk of contracting a virus, it’s also important to understand that these charters may not meet safety regulations. Because a shared flight is typically discounted, some providers may cut corners to reduce their fees. When this happens, passenger safety may be put at risk.
Do flight shares drive up the cost of private charters?
There’s a very limited supply of aircraft available and registered under part 135 for private jet charters. When a flight-share charter is booked, it removes one of the available aircrafts from service, and it becomes a bit of a supply and demand issue.
As Joel Thomas, Stratos’ President and CEO, states, “The supply of private charter aircraft is diminished by the scheduling of public charters and drives up the rates. This shifts the focus of private aviation away from it being a utility to a mere luxury.”
Safety is the most important thing to consider
Here at Stratos, our first goal is to provide the safest air charter possible, and that’s why we don’t book shared charters. This is especially important when bio-security is at the top of everyone’s health and safety checklist.
For those seeking all the comforts of private aviation with a strong focus on safety, we recommend booking a private charter with travel companions you know personally.
For the safest air charter experience, consider Stratos Jet Charters. With more than 15 years’ experience, we’ve positioned ourselves as an industry leader. Leverage our experience and enjoy the confidence and peace of mind that comes along with booking your next trip with a high-quality air charter provider.