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Wanted: Getaway Vehicle. And Pilot.
August 28, 2008 7:58 AM   Subscribe

How does one charter a plane? [and how much would it cost?]

If a group of people [say around 20 +/- 18, but I'm not up on plane capacities, so if it's either 5 people or 150 people I'd like to know that, too. the exact number for this question should be 'one planeload'.] were to attempt to go to from edmonton, alberta to [undetermined city], Cuba for a couple of weeks in december, would chartering a plane be a reasonable way to get there?

That was a shambles of a sentence. Sorry.

I read in an earlier thread that sometimes flight schools will offer "flight instruction" but that seems like a long shot when crossing borders. The only charter information I can find right now is of the package vacation / strict schedule / all inclusive variety.

What I guess I'm asking is:
How do I find out how much it costs to rent a plane?
Who do I even ask?
What is the magical number of people that makes chartering a plane definitely cheaper than individual ticketing?
posted by Acari to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Flight schools will usually offer charter service also, but it's expensive. The trouble with flight schools is that their fleets usually only have very small aircraft - three passengers. And they can't go very far or very fast (they're for training, after all). That would mean stopping in the United States for fuel, so taking it to Cuba's probably a bad idea.

For 20 people or so you could charter something like a Gulfstream, but I'm not as familiar with those operations. Figure several thousand US dollars per hour for the airplane, which may or may not include the pilots' pays.

For anything less than, say, 25-30 people it's almost certainly cheaper just to buy airline tickets.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:16 AM on August 28, 2008


I just googled "edmonton charter flight" and found a ton of results.

Onesky.com has turboprop rates from $995 - $3,774 for your trip.
posted by charlesv at 8:17 AM on August 28, 2008


To rent a large enough aircraft, like a Gulfstream IV a rough estimate is that you'd be looking at around USD$30-40,000 roundtrip.
posted by crapmatic at 8:22 AM on August 28, 2008


Onesky.com has turboprop rates from $995 - $3,774 for your trip.
per hour!
and
around USD$30-40,000 roundtrip.
is what I'd feared.

so, using crapmatic's math, backseatpilot's estimate
For anything less than, say, 25-30 people it's almost certainly cheaper just to buy airline tickets.
is about accurate.
posted by Acari at 8:32 AM on August 28, 2008


- What is the magical number of people that makes chartering a plane definitely cheaper than individual ticketing?

For what it's worth, the benefits of chartering are not cost (unless you're chartering a large plane and filling it) but convenience. You get more flexibility in scheduling a flight, choosing an airport, and as a bonus, you skip the entire TSA baggage hassle.

The airport selection in particular is much greater than with standard flights. You know all those tiny airports that only the weekend flyers with private planes use? You can probably fly there.
posted by zippy at 9:59 AM on August 28, 2008


I've chartered planes.

For anything under 40 people, fly sched. It's cheaper.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:16 PM on August 28, 2008


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