For most of us, flying means long lines, squeezing into tiny airplane seats and plenty of waiting around.
But for those with the means to travel in style, charter jets are the way to go.
The charter flight industry is big business and it’s getting bigger, even in Kansas City.
According to the industry market research firm, IBIS World, the private charter industry has seen growing demand over the past five years “as the broader economy improved, corporate profit reached record highs and per capita household income increased.”
Furthermore, says IBIS World, it’s expected to continue growing over the next five years.
“You don’t have to hassle with the airlines, and you don’t have to go through security checking your bags,” says Tom Cargin, owner of Air Associates of Kansas, which maintains and handles charter scheduling for private jets in the Kansas City area.
“Generally, we can land in airports closer to your home and business, so that opens up a lot of airports. Plus it’s just a nicer environment. You have your associates with you, and you can talk business during the flight.”
And the biggest selling point of all, Cargin and other industry experts point out, is you’ll save time.
“You can drive up to the aircraft and literally take five steps into the plane. It’s your private plane,” says Rick Colson, president of New Flight Charters in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
“You can be in the air in 10 minutes. Same thing on other end — your rental car can be on the tarmac on the other end. It could not be easier getting into the air. So rather than arriving two hours early for your flight, you can drive up five minutes before, they valet your car, the crew checks your I.D., ‘Yeah we got the right passenger,’ and you’re on the plane.”
Locally, you can book charter flights at multiple airports including the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport, Johnson County Executive Airport and Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, and through multiple companies like New Flight Charters, Air Associates and NetJets.
“It’s a big business,” says Keith Plumb, CEO of Executive Airshare, which charters flights but mostly sells customers partial ownership of private planes. “When you have a small company in Kansas City and they have a two to three hour business meeting in Little Rock (Ark.), they can load everyone up, fly down, have the meeting and be back by lunchtime. They can’t do that with a commercial airline. It gives them a competitive advantage…