Flying for VIPs
What you should know to help prepare for the flight Flying for VIPs
In the golden age of air travel, taking a flight for business or for leisure was a special occasion. Travellers typically dressed in business attire and looked forward to boarding the aircraft. Times have certainly changed, and in many ways. Lower prices have democratised flying, which has led to a certain decrease in standards of dress and behaviour in many arenas. World events in the last decade demanded a dramatic increase in security controls, inevitably leading to overwhelmed infrastructure, crowded air terminals, and long lines of frustrated passengers. In short, air travel is not nearly as enjoyable as it used to be, and passengers are no longer so eager to fly. However, switching to VIP travel can change all of this.
What is VIP travel?
For the purposes of this discussion, VIP travel means flying by means other than a scheduled flight from a commercial carrier. This does not, however, mean that only those fortunate enough to own their own aircraft can travel in VIP style. The growing discontent with commercial air travel has accelerated the development of alternatives, including chartered private flights and aircraft timeshares, in which a group of people collectively own an aircraft and arrange schedules to benefit all. Of these options, chartered private flights are the most accessible (lower cost) and private ownership is the most elite (highest cost to a single person). Both options grant similar benefits, as shown below.
On the Ground
The major benefits of flying VIP-style are found on the ground, and begin before the passenger ever arrives at the airport A private car is normally arranged to pick up the passenger from home or from office, for the drive to the airport. This means no more additional fees for taxis or a chauffeur service, no exorbitant payments for airport parking during a trip, and no difficulty in finding someone to drive you to the airport. The most satisfying moment of the entire experience may be the point of driving past the normal terminal at the airport, packed with throngs of disgruntled passengers, and driving to the separate executive air terminal, reserved for private and charter flights.
Boarding the Plane
As the private or charter flight leaves from a separate terminal in most cases, there are completely separate facilities for checking in to the flight. The charter service can check each passenger in immediately on arrival, avoiding long lines at the check in counters at the main terminal. Baggage screening, when necessary, is done directly at the ramp, again without waiting for long lines. In some cases, screening is not required at all, and baggage can be directly loaded to the aircraft. All in all, this means very minimal waiting time between arriving at the airport and boarding the aircraft. Should a passenger arrive early, however, there are two options: sit in the separate executive lounge, or ask for an earlier departure time. As the flight is chartered, the schedule is limited only by air traffic control and weather.
During the Flight
A private flight allows for a much higher level of customisation. Passengers are generally able to customise the choices of food and beverage (provided that the charter was not a last-minute arrangement), as well as entertainment on board. For corporate clients, many charter services can even personalise the headrest covers on each seat for additional business-identity focus. Because the interiors of charter aircraft do not have to maximise the number of seats, each passenger has much more room to move and to relax. With a correspondingly smaller number of passengers on board each flight, the crew is able to provide far better service, with attention to detail, ensuring an enjoyable flight experience.
With the given advantages of taking a charter flight comes increased convenience. A chauffeured car is normally available for moving from the executive terminal to the aircraft on takeoff, and flights can be met on the tarmac when arriving. This means no wasted time in transit. Charter aircraft are able to utilise a far greater number of regional or executive airports where the runways may be too short for large commercial aircraft. This means that the passenger can really choose the airport closest to his destination, which can save time in travelling from the airport and maximise efficiency for business travellers. Should a meeting run longer than planned, the charter passenger also has the option of delaying or advancing his return flight as needed, to avoid missing critical appointments at home or at the next destination.
Charter services are consistently increasing the level of service provided, with full-time concierge departments now handling the entire travel booking experience end to end. Travelling can now return to what it once was and should be – an enjoyable adventure to be anticipated and enjoyed. While the slightly higher price of charter air travel means that it is not a fit for everyone, those who have the option, will find the benefits far outweigh the cost increase. The savings in time and in comfort cannot easily be measured, but will be felt in every journey and realised in every destination.