Many people get confused about the difference between commercial scheduled flights and charter flights. Essentially, the difference is that scheduled flights can be booked by the general public, whereas chartered flights are private and only available at the request of particular individuals, or companies. Obviously, it is not always practical for certain people/cargo to travel in a plane meant for the general public, so these flights address this need.
These flights are used to transport celebrities, racehorses, emergency cargo and more. Generally, they cost more than a normal flight would cost, because of their specialized nature. However, occasionally, price reductions can be agreed upon, depending on the circumstances. These flights have been a popular option with many people for quite some time, due to the increased flexibility they offer.
On a charter flight, you can decide the time and place of your departure, and you rarely have to put up with plane changes or delays. This certainly beats queuing at an airport for hours, only to be told that you will have to take a different flight, due to an over-booking. If you have a medical condition, or cargo that needs special attention, charter planes can cater to your requirements to make your trip a painless experience. For instance, in all likelihood, it would not be safe for someone who had been involved in a serious accident to fly on a normal public flight, as special equipment would need to be provided to treat them.
Often, business travelers use charter flights to reduce their stress levels in-between meetings/corporate events. Obviously, avoiding all the usual hustle and bustle of a public airport can go quite some way towards easing tension. Also, these flights are a common feature of regional airports, as many people fly from these airports to remote locations, where a more comfortable and exclusive type of flight is preferred.
Sometimes, people who book charter flights are taking more of a financial risk, because the airlines who operate the flights are more prone to go bust. This is due to the lower turnover of bookings and smaller profit margins on each flight. Indeed, in some serious cases, charter flight passengers have been left stranded after airlines have gone bust mid-trip. Furthermore, airlines can opt to scrap these flights prior to take off, while only having to give 10 days notice. Usually, this happens if the airline does not manage to get enough passengers for the flight, which is not an uncommon occurrence. All in all, compared to public commercial flights, these flights are a more uncertain proposition.
As mentioned above, normally, chartered flights are more costly, especially if only a few people are traveling, or if the plane is being used for a single item of cargo. If you have the budget then that’s great. However, for many people, traveling on a normal flight is more financially viable. Not to mention, for those who are environmentally conscious, charter flights are less Eco-friendly, because they use more fuel and contribute to polluting the atmosphere. Thus, many people would refuse to pay for such a flight on these grounds alone, as a matter of principle.
Recently, some companies have offered charter flight tickets to the general public. Typically, these flights are to tourist hotspots several times per year, or to sports events. Usually, while these flights are cheaper, passengers have far less flexibility, and no refunds are offered in the event of a cancellation. So, if you decide to book one of these flights, make sure that you can definitely travel on the dates you book.
While not without their flaws, charter flights provide a valuable service to many people and are a crucial resource in difficult circumstances. Some would say that they are a necessary evil, although as long as they continue to damage the environment, they will continue to attract criticism.