You may have heard about great airfare deals you can get by taking a charter flight. Or, perhaps you found a low price on a packaged vacation, and the airfare component is on a charter flight. Chances are you might also be one of the many travelers who doesn’t know what exactly a charter flight is, or the benefits associated with charter flights.
Unlike the scheduled flights of most major U.S. airlines, charter flights generally take place outside of normal schedules. Seats on charter flights can be sold individually through a charter company or as part of a vacation package through a tour operator. Charter flights are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for safety.
What are the benefits of a charter flight?
When you charter an aircraft, you (or in most cases, the tour operator), rent the entire airplane and pay for that plane to be repositioned to your location Consequently, costs may be higher than buying standard scheduled air tickets, but it’s worth it, especially when you are flying to a destination that does not have nonstop flights from your departure airport.
Flexibility: Fares for charter flights do not carry most of the stringent restrictions that are imposed with commercial flights. These include special advance-purchase and minimum or maximum stay requirements.
Clarity of prices: Many charter fares are not subject to the typical legacy airline fare-class distinctions.
Less Hassle: Charter flights are usually direct (nonstop).
Service: Ease of ticketing, simple boarding procedure and low-stress airport experience.
I was fortunate enough to test out a charter flight from Pittsburgh to Cancun in August 2016. I loved that we were in our own terminal at the airport, where it was not crowded and everyone was happy because we were all headed to Cancun! We boarded nearly an hour before we were due to leave, because we were all there. Therefore, we were allowed to depart early, which meant that we arrived early. Our charter service representative was there to make thing ran smoothly. He arranged for an in-flight free snack and non-alcoholic beverage for each guest, plus there were alcoholic beverages available for purchase. During the flight, the Allegiant flight attendants passed out the forms that we needed to go through customs in Cancun and explained how to fill them out properly. It was a great experience and I will most certainly travel on a charter flight again!