Private Charter Frequently Asked Questions
Is the aircraft always available?
Specific aircraft are booked by clients on a first come first served basis. However Sawyer Aviation has access to numerous aircraft.
Are there weight restrictions?
Yes. Every aircraft from a Boeing 747 to a LearJet have a maximum weight that they are not allowed to exceed on takeoff and a number of other weights and conditions that must be taken into consideration by the pilots for safety. When planning for a trip, Sawyer Aviation takes care of making sure you are able to complete your trip, bring the reasonable amount of luggage you need and still stay safe. It is usually assumed that each passenger will have one suitcase (if they state that they are bringing luggage) of up to 35lbs-50lbs. Carry on items are usually 5lbs-10lbs. These weights are not restrictions but if you are bringing luggage please notify us at time of booking the trip. It is very important for our pre-flight planning. Also any large items such as golf clubs, skiis, or heavy equipment need to be announced to your charter-sales representative.
What planes do you have?
Several and the list is constantly being updated. We will present you with several options that are best suited for your trip. We will even help you decide which aircraft is right for you, your trip and your budget. Jet, turboprop and piston aircraft are available.
How fast does it fly?
Different aircraft fly at different speeds. Piston-engine aircraft fly at 200mph-230mph, turboprop 250mph-310mph, and jets 400mph-500mph. Winds, weather, airspace and ATC routing will affect total flight time.
How long does it take?
Less time than the airlines! You are able to drive up to your aircraft, step in and be whisked away moments later. No need to wait in lines, arrive to the airport hours in advance, etc. Upon arrival a rental car or other ground transportation will meet you planeside and off you go. Winds, weather, airspace and ATC routing will affect total flight time.
How far can I go, maximum range?
This depends upon the specific aircraft and will vary based on winds, weather, passenger and luggage weights etc. Piston aircraft can typically fly nonstop 200mi-600mi, turboprop 800mi-1,200mi, light jets 600mi-1,200mi, mid-size jets 1,800mi-2,500mi, heavy-jets 2,700mi-4,500mi and ultra-long range jets up to nearly 8,000mi (which equates to being able to fly anywhere in the world with one fuel-stop.
Where do you fly?
Anywhere with a runway long enough to legally land or takeoff from, within reason of course. Flights and aircraft are available to or from any city in the United States. We can fly you to Mexico, Canada, Caribbean or anywhere else you may want to go.
Can we leave out of any airport?
In most cases, yes. There are approximately 5,000 airports available to private aircraft, only around 500 of those airports are served by airlines. You have 10X more options when you fly privately. Arrive closer to your destination and leave out of less congested airports.
Is the airplane pressurized?
Yes, for Turboprop and jet aircraft
Is this the price for the whole airplane?
Yes, when you fly privately the entire aircraft is yours. So stretch out and enjoy all the extra legroom.
Is there an additional charge to bring other people?
In most cases the answer is, no. There is a small fee of less than $4 per passenger per takeoff for most aircraft called a “Segment Fee.” Sometimes adding extra passengers or weight may result in a fuel stop on longer flights. Always make sure to update your Sawyer Aviation Charter Sales Representative to any requested changes to your flight.
Can I just buy a seat?
No. However if you and your friends would like to charter an aircraft and share the cost of a trip then you are able to do so.
How much does it cost to charter an airplane?
It varies by aircraft. Piston and propeller aircraft cost the less per hour but also fly slower. Jets cost more per hour but fly faster so it is a tradeoff. There are four categories of charges in any charter flight: flight-time charges, standby or overnight fees, miscellaneous fees (such as landing fees, catering, de-icing, etc.) and tax. Tax is usually 7.5% on domestic flights. All charges and fees are clearly outlined on your flight estimate.
What can I not bring aboard?
You are not allowed to bring any hazardous materials. Certain exceptions apply but always check with your charter-sales representative in advance and notify the crew before boarding as to any potential hazardous materials so that they are not accidentally brought board.
Can I bring my skis, golf clubs etc?
Yes, yes, and yes. Just maybe not all at the same time unless you are on a heavy jet. Large bulky items can be transported.
What type of suitcase is best for private aircraft, how do I pack?
Soft sided suitcases are best. Bags without rollers are also optimal.
Do you fly pets?
Yes, kennels or holding smaller animals is acceptable.
Do I have to go through security?
There are Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security measures in place overseeing the security and safety of general aviation and business aircraft. Make sure to provide the names of all the passengers to your charter-sales representative at time of booking your flight and make sure those traveling bring a photo ID matching the names given.
How do I find the airplane?
The address of the point of departure (executive airport terminal or “FBO”) will be on the charter quote along with the phone number of that specific terminal for directions if needed. The executive terminal is usually a privately business and not part of a City or Airport government building. Some form of MapQuest or Google Maps is suggested to ensure easy arrival at the correct location. NOTE: The executive terminal is almost always not the same building as where scheduled airlines depart.
Can I drive “Plane side”?
The term “planeside” is when you drive through the airport security gate and right up the aircraft you are about to travel on. Exercise caution and drive slowly when on the airport area as there is a lot of activity.
How soon before the flight do they have to get to the airport?
No advance arrival is necessary, we leave when you arrive. Don’t worry, we will not leave without you. However it is a good idea to have ask your entire party to arrive 15-minutes prior to departure in order to allow for luggage loading, passenger briefing and an on time departure.
Are there two pilots?
Yes, on most all jet aircraft. The FAA, industry and insurance companies alike have deemed that it is acceptable that there only be one pilot flying in piston or turboprop aircraft and still maintain excellent safety. A second pilot may be available upon request for propeller aircraft.
Are there flight attendants?
On some mid-size aircraft and almost always on heavy-jet and ultra-long-range aircraft.
Are gratuities accepted, does that apply to the ramp attendants as well?
Gratuities are always appreciated but never expected. All of us at Sawyer Aviation take great pride in our work and will gladly serve you. If you feel that the people who got you to your destination went above and beyond then showing your appreciation to whatever amount you feel comfortable is always welcome.
Contact Sawyer Aviation’s Charter Department at 1 (877) FLY-SAWYER (359-7299) (option 1).