Winter Travel - Tips and Advice for a Smooth Flight
With the arrival of winter not only comes the holiday season, but often comes the much dreaded “Cabin Fever”. As wintry mixes of sleet and snow fill our neighborhoods and morning commutes – visions of tropical beaches and pina coladas fill our minds. Winter is a time for travel - whether it is spending the holidays with loved ones, escaping the blustery winter conditions or packing your skis and racing to them. As you plan your private jet travel this winter, it is good to give yourself and your air charter company as much notice as possible to avoid any unsightly winter related delays. There are also a few things that you should keep in mind (other than tropical beaches)!
Most private jet companies have Peak Travel Days. These are the days that historically have the highest flight volume. Many of these fall around the winter holiday season – the days before and after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. During these days, many private jet companies will increase the amount of notice you must give in order to confirm flights. Most air charters must be booked within a very minimum of 96 hours in advance. In addition, changes and/or cancellations must also be completed with more notice as well – most times within this same window. Always be sure to ask when booking your private jet whether or not your date coincides with any company “Peak Travel Days”. If so, make sure that you have all departure times, passengers and other flight details confirmed well in advance.
Another consideration when booking your winter travel is “Slots”. The FAA can at times administer landing slots for popular airports. A landing slot acts like a reservation for your private jet. Be advised, landing slots are most common in ski country, such as in Aspen and Vail. Like any other reservation, slots are subject to availability and are issued on a “first come, first serve” basis. If your desired landing or departure time has already been filled, you may need to have more flexibility with these times than is normally required when flying privately. Again, be sure to ask your private jet administrator whether or not your winter trip will be subject to landing slot availability. Booking your private jet trip early will give you the best chance of securing your preferred slot date and time.
The last element you should take into consideration when planning your winter private jet travel is de-icing. In order for a private jet to take off safely in wintry conditions, it is imperative that the wings be completely free of ice. Ice can build quickly on aircraft that are sitting, so there is always the potential that the plane will have to be “de-iced” before takeoff. A private jet is de-iced by being sprayed with a complex solution that will quickly melt the ice and leave the wing free of winter debris. This process, however, can be an additional cost to you the passenger. Depending on the size of your aircraft, de-icing can cost between $500 to $2,500 dollars.
So, as you depart on your winter adventures – keep the above in mind. Whether hitting the slopes or the shores this winter, planning in advance is key. Be aware that winter traveling, especially around the holidays, can require more time and flexibility than traveling during other seasons. Best of luck!