7 Questions About the Shift in Chartered Flying in 2021 Answered
Private jets are known for their convenience, quality of service, flexibility, and the ability to fly with privacy. It is not a secret that private jets are mostly catered to the upper class due to their high price point and VIP perks. But due to Covid-19, transportation is extremely hazardous, which is why chartered flights are in demand even for middle-class citizens. Because of the high demand, more and more jet companies are experiencing struggles concerning flight delays, cancellations, lack of jets and staff, and an increasing number of private jet customers.
The rapid number of customers that are interested in flying via jet has its positive and negative repercussions. Many who have experienced chartered flights pre-pandemic say that jet companies are becoming less of what they offer due to the high demand. In addition, there are complaints such as flight delays and logistics problems because of the shortage of crew and pilots, new and used planes, and other mishaps brought by the covid-19 pandemic. The problem lies in the services these jet companies promise to provide and the high price point that many customers pay to experience the best quality flights. Now that this problem has been brought up, jet companies are looking for ways to solve this problem.
What is the impact of covid 19 on chartered flights?
Though Covid-19 or the Coronavirus is riskier depending on the country, transportation is one of the reasons why transmission is easier and faster. The pandemic was and still is a health concern around the world, causing problems in the economy. Some were found jobless, while others found that the pandemic helped increase their wealth. Those who were lucky were privileged enough to survive the isolation in their own homes.
During March of 2020, many countries have conducted a strict lockdown to prevent its rapid spread. Strict rules were applied, and going outside was highly discouraged. Travelling was banned, and governments worldwide have decided to close their gates to their fellow citizens and travelers. Unfortunately, traveling by plane was banned in most counties for months, without exceptions. This meant that even chartered flights were highly prohibited unless it was essential.
The question here is, how has Covid-19 affected traveling and the demand for chartered flights? Due to the rapid cases of Covid-19, those who experience symptoms such as fever, cough, tiredness, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headache, aches and pains, diarrhea, skin rashes, and irritated eyes are not only required to isolate but they are highly prohibited from traveling. As a result, the demand for chartered flights has skyrocketed, but strict rules are applied when traveling. Regulations include wearing face masks and shields, passengers sitting 6 feet apart, and even going on quarantine for 14 days after the flight. Most countries and jet charter companies only allow those who are vaccinated in the aircraft and require getting a viral test before and after the flight to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the cabin crew. Unfortunately, this form of travel eliminates the feeling of normalcy, especially to those who aspire to travel since countries are lifting the lockdown.
Why are people interested in flying chartered planes?
When the pandemic hit us, everything shut down fast. Cities and countries were on lockdown. People were encouraged to stay at home, businesses closed, and everything weIn addition, most considered “normal” before the pandemic was non-existent. So our routines started to look different. People would work from home; students would take classes online; everything was done from the comfort of our own homes. It is easy to feel sick, bored, and tired when you do the same thing over and over and when you’re trapped in the same place for a long time. So when the lockdown was lifted, when more and more people were getting vaccinated, and when places started opening up, people wanted to get away and see something unfamiliar for a change. Aside from wanting a difference in their environment, people want to get together with their family or friends that they haven’t seen or been to within a while. It also may be because their plans were cut off, and they’re just making up for lost time.
People are opting for chartered flights because they still want to take precautions while being able to travel. Chartered flights allow you and your group to isolate yourself from other people. Having a whole plane to yourself limits your exposure. It separates you from the public because you don’t have to line up with everyone else, and you don’t have to sit next to people you don’t know. It also promotes convenience because you get to skip the lines and all the other typical airport problems or hassles. Passengers can pick and choose their schedule, allowing them to determine the best possible time for them. Passengers could also avoid layovers by hiring an air charter service. There are also added advantages that are perks passengers could enjoy, such as picking and choosing the food they’ll have in flight.
Another main reason why people prefer chartered flights is because they have the means to do so. Due to people working remotely, many employees have realized that the typical work setting takes so much of their time. Having to go to the office, the travel time used kills time that could have been used to do something productive. Now that people have more time than usual, they have been able to dabble and explore different ventures, and some are starting businesses, some are learning to invest, and some are getting a second job. Some flourish and succeed with their new experiences, which allows them to gain more income and afford to hire an air charter service.
Why is it harder to look for chartered flights?
The first reason is the demand. More and more people want to travel- it’s the best possible mode of transportation, and an increasing number of people can afford to do so. Second, there’s a shortage of available planes; jet companies also lack pilots and crew members. Due to the shortage in workforce and planes, companies tend to limit giving out jet cards. So when people apply as members of private jet customers, they are automatically put on a waitlist. It is a shame that charter companies couldn’t accommodate all the interested fliers because they are turning down potential growth. There is an estimated number of 10,000 people who are new to flying private, and among those, there were 300 people surveyed who said that they are not planning to go back to commercial flying. At least not in the near future.
The reason why companies lack pilots is that many of them have decided to retire during the height of the pandemic. A lot also transferred to commercial airlines because of better opportunities at that time. The same situation happened with the cabin crews. On the other hand, the shortage in planes’ availability is that the companies were never prepared to accommodate this many people. This problem is not easily solved because even if companies would like to buy planes, they couldn’t. Private jet makers have reached an all-time low when it comes to their inventory. It’s not that easy to build planes, too, because parts are also scarce. So there’s a shortage chain in the whole industry ecosystem.
What are the differences between chartered flying pre-pandemic vs. during the pandemic?
It is undeniable that the most significant difference is that recently, private jet companies have been struggling to serve the constantly growing number of newly chartered fliers because of the problems in supply. To show how drastic the change has been, let us look at the record for this year: In July, there were a record-breaking 300,000 flights. What’s more surprising is that even in non-peak season months, people still kept the industry busy. September and October nearly matched the record in July with almost 300,000 flights. These numbers at this time of the year are new in the industry. Private jet companies also experienced new problems that they didn't necessarily encounter before—issues such as delays, cancellations, lack of available fights, and even catering. Companies are struggling to provide the passenger’s food requests because of the number of fliers. Another reason is that more and more people are booking last minute, so it’s hard for them to source and make the meals in that short amount of time.
Private jets are only catered to a few people because there were only a limited number of people who could afford them. Even now, it’s still not that attainable to most travelers. It’s just that people would rather shell out more money to feel safer. Customers would spend an average of $200,000 for a chartered flight, and with that amount of money, they expect nothing but the best. But, with all the advantages and the problems discussed, is it worth it?
What are jet companies doing to provide alternative services to their clients?
Private jet companies constantly strive to offer the best quality service. To maintain this, many of these companies have focused more on private shares and aircraft management instead of flying new customers interested in hiring private jets. According to Patrick Gallagher, NetJets’ president, all requests for their NetJets Card Program have been placed on a waitlist. As a result, sales of cards have been put on a temporary pause which allows them to prioritize exceptional experiences that they promised to deliver in the first place. While some have decided not to put their jet card programs on hold, CEO and owner of Velocity Jets Patrick Harris has decided to put their jets card sales on hiatus to new customers. The main reason for this is that the private jet industry has become a volatile market, making it unclear whether or not jet cards are still worth being offered during these scary times.
Due to the high demand for chartered flights, the next step to provide better quality service depends on the private jet company. As of the moment, we have noticed that private jet companies have very similar plans. They rely on their loyal customers for jet card program sales. However, it is still possible for new customers interested in flying private to book a flight. Instead, these jet card programs are offered for a higher price point and a more extended contract of at least 12 months. According to private jet charter companies, their prices have increased by 1.8% since 2019.
Is chartered flying the solution it claims to be?
To put it simply, private jet companies have become busier since the strict lockdown was lifted. Traveling to other countries is becoming more frequent whether essential or not. As of 2021, chartered flights have gone from 400 flights a day during 2019 to 500 flights a day, according to NetJets. Because of this high demand, customers who frequent traveling with private jets noticed the lack of quality and service. The sad part about this is that more and more people are willing to pay as much as $200,000 to ride a private jet to reach their destinations. As much as this high demand is a good thing to most private jet companies, it can be unfortunate to customers who were guaranteed excellent service that was not met by the companies who state that their services are equal to what the customers pay for. So many underlying factors decrease the quality that the so-called private jet companies promise their customers.
Private jet companies promise a safer experience, but the spread of the virus is still not guaranteed. To top it off, the demand for chartered flights has increased rapidly since the pandemic, which lessens the quality of service. Though more and more people are willing to pay more to fly private, most people ask: is it worth it to pay more to travel safer? There is no correct answer to this question as there is always a risk. Traveling and even going outside is a form of exposing yourself. The reality is, no one can escape Covid-19. If you wish to travel during these scary times, you must consider the price you are willing to pay. If you can afford the extra $200,000, then flying private may be the safer option.