As long as they have filed a valid flight plan, one would assume private charter jets can fly anywhere they want. So why do some choose to follow the coastline? The answer may save you some time and money.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has rules about extended over-water operations. These rules impact charter operators, pilots and passenger safety. Let’s look at how the FAA over-water flight rules affect your charter travel choices and some solutions.


Air safety is the reason for the federal regulations. The regulations state that flights traveling beyond 50 nautical miles from land must carry life jackets and a raft suitable for the capacity of the aircraft, as well as an emergency locator transmitter. The cost of this additional safety equipment is borne by the private charter jet operator. As a result, operators that do not invest in this equipment must hug the coastline to stay within the 50-nautical-mile range over water.


As noted, there is a cost to the operator, but the costs also impact private charter jet passengers.

If an operator stays within the 50-mile limit, they may not necessarily follow the most direct route between destinations. Deviations from the most direct route result in additional costs, which are usually passed on to the passenger. For example, a typical New York- Miami flight is about 2.5 hours in good weather.

However, if the aircraft hugs the coastline, it will add at least half an hour to the flight. And inclement weather could increase the time. Every extra minute requires additional fuel, and the costs start to accumulate.


Time efficiency is the other important factor in the air travel equation. All air carriers, both commercial and private charter jets must balance safety requirements with the cost and convenience of air travel. Safer travel frequently takes more time. Passenger security checks take longer, crews are limited to how long they can fly, and aircraft without life-rafts must hug the coastline.

As mentioned, a coast-hugging flight is safer, but it also adds time to your travel schedule. And as Stratos founder Joel Thomas noted in a previous blog post, your time is a valuable, inelastic asset. Executives and vacationers alike don’t like wasting time.


Fortunately, Stratos Jet Charters has several ways to address these travel issues. Our Charter Agents will choose a carrier based on your group’s travel needs. If you need a fast aircraft that is rated for extended overwater flight, that’s what we will find. The Stratos Jetcard Membership is another great way to get the best value for your travel dollar. Essentially, you can purchase 25 hours of private jet flight at a fixed rate. This gives you access to a variety of aircraft within a class and protects you from price fluctuations. You can use one type of aircraft for a cross-country flight, and another that is certified for extended overwater travel for your trip to the Bahamas.

Some travelers don’t mind a leisurely coast-hugging flight. But if you value your time, talk to one of our agents about charter options that follow the most direct route to an over-water destination.

When you need to book a private charter jet charter flight anywhere in the world, with comfort and safety, call Stratos Jets Charters at 888-593-9066.