PrivateFly took some time to recap these important lessons learned. It is absolutely within financial reach to get a private jet to safety, especially when commercial tickets skyrocket and major airports close. Short hops, shared flights, open legs, small equipment – all can provide safety and sanctuary from menacing weather. IF you’re well prepared. Having a plan in place and perhaps sharing costs with family/neighbors is just the beginning.
“With back to back hurricanes, we saw the usual (and precipitous) increase in jet requests. The problem is that supply during those times becomes an issue. It’s infinitely better to have a plan in hand during hurricane season or when serious weather approaches.” Adam Twidell, CEO PrivateFly.
PRIOR TO HURRICANE
– Try to book as early as possible. The closer to the last day of evacuation before the hurricane hits, the less aircraft & options there will be available, as operators won’t want to position aircraft in the path of the storm. By booking a jet early you’ll get a better price & better options to where it takes you.
– It’s not as expensive as you might think! During Hurricane Irma, many people were chartering prop aircraft from one island to the closest point out of Irma’s path – that could be a different island or to Miami & then driving to a safer destination from there.
– Additionally, we saw a lot of customers joining up together with their neighbors or other families that were looking to evacuate & splitting the cost of the entire aircraft to make it more affordable.
– Commercial is not always the best/cheap option. As we saw during Hurricane Irma, many airline prices were hiked up into the thousands, making it about the same price as splitting a private jet. Plus, you don’t always have control of what flight destinations are available – so you could find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere.
– After a hurricane hits, it’s important to remember it may take a few days for the airport to get running again. And sometimes even when it is back up & running, it can sometimes be used only for emergency flights like we saw during Hurricane Harvey – delaying your ability to leave the area.
– With that said, private jets can get you going much faster after a storm than commercial flights. Once an airport is open again for general aviation, you can book a private jet & get going while commercial flights are still getting their schedules together, as well as trying to accommodate the many passengers who saw major delays/cancellations that need to fly. It can take commercial airlines sometimes up to three to five days to get back on track after a major disruption like a hurricane – where a private jet can be ready to go in a few hours.
– During Hurricane Irma, we saw a 46% increase in flight requests. At one point, we had more requests than aircraft availability & our team was actually working with customers to fill as many seats in an available aircraft as possible – sometimes putting multiple customers on one flight (a practice we don’t normally do!)
– We are still getting quite a few flights that are from customers looking to get out or into areas affected by the various hurricanes, especially as commercial airliners are slow to get to the hardest affected areas. We’re recently seeing a lot of flight requests in & out of Puerto Rico