Charter Flights Explained

Hear an airplane overhead and assume it’s one of those well-known airlines taking passengers to some big city or an exotic vacation location?  You may be correct, but actually, many planes flying today are private, charter flights.  They may be carrying passengers, or goods referred to as cargo.

What is a Charter Flight?

In simple terms, a charter flight is the transportation of people or cargo via a private aircraft, rather than a commercial airplane.  Commercial flights, like those flown by American or Delta Air Lines, have a regulated schedule that they follow.  Their flight days and times are predetermined and have a recurring pattern. 

In contrast, charter flights can and do vary daily.  This is due to the fluctuating needs for a charter flight.  When a company or individual books a charter flight, they are basically renting the aircraft for their own use, on their own schedule.  This is the opposite of a commercial flight, where a seat or cargo space is purchased on an existing flight with a set departure time and destination.           

Business professionals deplaning a private charter flight

Types of Charter Flights

Air charter services encompass all charter flights.  They can be utilized for transporting either passengers or cargo.  For individuals wishing to travel without the complications, stress and possible delays experienced with commercial flights, a passenger charter flight is certainly a desirable, viable option. 

There are different kinds of charters for passenger flights which include:

Private Charter – the entire aircraft is used to transport a group of individuals to a predetermined destination.  This could be a company’s sales team flying to an important conference many miles away, a family headed to a reunion or vacation, or a surgical team traveling with a donated organ to its intended recipient.

Affinity Charter – like a private charter, except the flight is arranged by a club or other organization solely for its members.  Examples include a special interest club, a society, or a large association.  Each traveler pays for their own airfare individually.  Seats aboard an affinity charter are not open to the public. 

Public Charter – while considered a ‘charter flight’, this type of air transportation occurs on a commercial plane.  Some airlines will reserve a block of seats on one of their scheduled flights for travel agents or a cruise company partner.  While travelers on a public charter are seated among the other passengers, their airfare is purchased through the travel agency or cruise company.      

Forklift loading pallets on to a cargo charter plane

Cargo air charters involve moving goods from one location to another aboard an airplane.  It is the fastest method of transportation available.  With a cargo charter, the plane is used exclusively for freight from one, and only one client/company.      

Benefits of Chartering a Plane


One of the greatest benefits of a charter flight is the freedom of determining the route and schedule.  Whether it be for passengers or cargo, you determine the day and time of your flight and its destination.  And there are no connecting flights or layovers with charter flights.  This saves valuable time in getting parts to a factory without delay, or a CEO to an important meeting with a potential client.

Another time saver is the fact that charter flights typically depart from a fixed base operator (FBO).  An FBO is a private, separate terminal, usually located adjacent to the main airport.  For passengers, this allows for a quicker passage through security and seamless baggage handling, both on departure and arrival.

Chartered planes also provide passengers with more spacious, comfortable accommodations for their flight.  And the amenities are much nicer than those offered on commercial flights.  For example, catered meals may be served, Wi-Fi is usually readily available, and movies or television shows may be viewed on big-screen TVs.    

From the air cargo perspective, another major charter flight benefit is viability.  When commercial cargo space is scarce, a chartered airplane is readily available and can avoid costly delays.  This gets the product to its destination on time, thus quicker payment of the invoice. 

Booking a Charter Flight

Private airplane used for private chartersSecuring a charter flight is quite easy.  One call to Grand Aire and our team is ready, 24/7/365, to evaluate your needs and quickly provide you with your best aircraft charter options. 

With over 35 years of experience, Grand Aire is a leading provider of on-demand cargo, freight, medical, and passenger air charter service.  Our aircraft network of 3,000+ planes enables our Logistics Specialists to locate all available planes within seconds of your call. 

Whether it’s passengers or valuable cargo you’re looking to fly, let us put our experience to work for you.  Contact us at 1-800-70-GRAND or email our team at