The holiday season is an interesting time in private aviation. As one of the busiest travel windows of the year, operators and flight crews prepare to go the extra mile to ensure safe and comfortable transit without delays or disruptions.
However, the peak season can also prove challenging, with weather conditions becoming unpredictable during a time when private air travel is at its peak. During this one-month window, private jet travelers encounter several travel obstacles with a fair amount of regularity.
Read below about the top three travel difficulties travelers encounter when traveling between Thanksgiving and New Year, as well as offering advice on how to mitigate issues and get where you’re headed safely and on time.
- 1. Weather Delays
It’s universally understood that one can’t control the weather. It comes as no surprise, then, that weather delays and ground conditions can become the biggest obstacles to holiday air travel. The 2019 Thanksgiving travel peak—commonly referred to as the “biggest travel day of the year”— saw hundreds of weather-related cancellations, and over 5,000 delayed flights across commercial airlines, according to reporting from CNBC.
Weather delays can come from conditions in transit (such as runway issues, visibility, or precipitation) or mechanical issues such as icing conditions on the aircraft. Deicing operations can be time-consuming and costly, leading to delays in commercial flights and potential surcharges for private aircraft travelers. Note: While private and commercial aircraft must adhere to the same safety protocols, the size of private aircraft and the nature of private jet operations means more can be done to mitigate weather-related delays.
For instance, operators have some ability to limit the effects of icing on private planes, such as pre-positioning planes to avoid adverse conditions and keeping aircraft within a heated hangar to avoid precipitation or de-ice an affected aircraft.
If traveling private during snow or freezing rain events, you can request a heated hangar in advance to avoid icing conditions (if you are flying with Magellan Jets, we will do this on your behalf!). While storage incurs hangar fees, these can be significantly less than the expense of chemically de-icing planes.
2. Charter Availability
As the holiday peak season approaches, the available pool of private aircraft naturally contracts in response to increased supplemental lift for whole and fractional owners, plus the customary uptick in travel overall. While booking in advance can alleviate these concerns in most cases, in other cases, a traveler might find themselves without their customary mode of transportation, or switched to an aircraft not ideal for the mission at hand.
In these cases, working with a reliable charter or membership provider can make a difference. Operators who have access to a large fleet of available aircraft within their portfolio are more likely to be able to accommodate travel needs, even when those plans occur last minute. Memberships also allow travelers to select an aircraft that best suits their travel needs in terms of capacity, luggage storage, distance, and speed.
- 3. Fractional Conflicts
While fractional jet share is in many cases a valuable component of a travel portfolio, there are cases where scheduling conflicts arise with a fractional aircraft. Peak travel days such as holidays are one such instance. While fractional owners have a great deal of freedom over when and how they travel, a fractional share with potentially up to 32 competing share-holders means that holiday travel plans need to be booked well in advance to ensure service.
Peak travel can also affect call-in times, peak hourly surcharges, and fuel surcharges, depending on the particulars of your fractional share agreement. If your destination falls outside your Primary Service Area, ferry or repositioning fees may also apply.
In these cases, supplemental lift becomes necessary to meet your private travel needs. Membership and charter options can help you maintain your schedule and enjoy your travel plans even when your primary aircraft is unavailable. Be sure to book these options as far in advance as possible, to avoid the increased demand on the pool of available private jets during the height of the holiday season.
While delays and weather patterns could affect the winter travel, savvy travelers can mitigate these occurrences and enjoy their leisure time — both in the air and at their destination. A full-service membership program is an ideal choice to ensure that changes in weather and availability bring no disruption to your travel plans. Magellan’s Elevate program comes with no peak day surcharges, ALL inclusive hourly rates and a peace of mind that even the worst of the winter weather delays will not jeopardize your travel plans.
If you find yourself in need of holiday travel solutions on short notice, Magellan Jets is here to assist in creating a memorable travel experience for you and your family. Reach out to a Private Aviation Consultant today for a quote, and to learn more about the Magellan Jets difference.