Booking a private jet should be a quick and seamless experience, but safety always comes first. 

How do you ensure your safety, and what should you look out for when working with a new broker? Whether you’re flying private for the first or 500th time, here are five red flags to keep in mind before your private jet booking and during your flight.

1. No Third-party Audit Certifications

Reputable brokers seek out certifications from third-party auditors. These voluntary programs show the broker’s dedication to safety and transparency.

ARGUS is the leader in aviation safety and information. Their Certified Charter Broker Program measures the legitimacy of charter brokers and operators and ensures that policies and procedures are in place to ensure safe private air travel. Stratos became ARGUS-certified following an on-site audit that demonstrated our standards that go above the requirements set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

At Stratos, we’re also a Wyvern Approved Broker and an Air Charter Safety Foundation member.

2. A Focus on Flight Sharing

Shared flights are often marketed as a more affordable alternative to private aviation. However, there are considerable pitfalls that come with flight sharing.

Rather than having a plane to yourself, as the name private aviation suggests, you’re paying for a seat on a scheduled flight with no guarantee that your flight will be cheaper than a private jet charter.

Aside from the type of aircraft, flight sharing has more in common with commercial airlines than private aviation.

How Much Does Booking a Private Jet Cost?

It depends on several factors, but smaller jets typically cost less per hour than larger jets. A turboprop plane starts at around $4,000 per hour compared to about $15,000 for heavy jets.

If you’re looking for a more affordable private jet charter experience, consider booking a private plane with friends or family and splitting the cost. If your itinerary is flexible, empty-leg flights are also a great way to experience the luxury of private aviation for less.

3. Questionable Online Reviews

Before you book a flight through a new charter broker, be sure to check their online reviews. Many reputable brokers, like Stratos, will showcase their customer feedback. 

Look for a detailed and transparent review policy, a high overall rating and recent positive or five-star reviews. A significant number of negative reviews, or worse no reviews, is a red flag.

4. Missing Airworthiness Certificate

Every aircraft that takes to the skies must hold a valid airworthiness certificate through the FAA. The type of certificate varies depending on the aircraft’s intended use, but the FAA form must be displayed inside the aircraft.

A missing certificate could be a sign that the aircraft isn’t authorized or in a condition that’s safe for operation.

When you fly with Stratos, we verify the status and condition of the aircraft before every flight to help ensure a safe and smooth experience.

5. Frost on the Wings

Frost is a common occurrence for many flights departing from the United States, Canada and much of Europe. Handled correctly, it’s nothing more than a nuisance and has no impact on the safety of your flight. Frost on the aircraft is only a red flag if nothing is done to clear it before taking flight. 

Most airports that see frequent frost have de-icing equipment on standby. The orange de-icing fluid, known as Type I, is heated to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and removes any snow and ice from the plane. Depending on the conditions, the plane may also be coated in a thick bright green fluid known as Type IV, which prevents contaminants from sticking to the aircraft during flight.

Booking a Private Jet FAQs

What Do I Need to Know Before Flying on a Private Jet?

Aside from your flight details, the broker’s safety record is the most important thing to know before private jet bookings. Look for ARGUS and Wyvern certifications and be sure to investigate your broker’s safety standards and policies.

How Far In Advance Should You Book a Private Jet?

You can fly in as little as four hours when booking a private jet with Stratos. For the best selection of aircraft and to help ensure a better price, it’s best to book as soon as you confirm your travel plans.

At Stratos, we’re dedicated to ensuring safe, comfortable and luxurious private flights. Ready to book a private jet or learn more about how we keep you safe in the air? Give us a call at (888)593-9066 to get started.