Private Jet Charter to Vail – How to Rent Your Own Jet to the Slopes of the Rocky Mountains

You can’t beat the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado for great snow skiing, hiking and outdoor adventure. And with all the cozy resorts that have such wonderful dining and lodging, it’s easy to see why a place like Vail is such a popular destination in the winter months.

According to the airport operators at Vail’s nearby Eagle Airport, the most popular time of year to spend time in Vail is during Christmas holiday season and the week after Valentines Day. Kids are off school and families head to the slopes to have some winter fun. Most of these travelers choose to fly on the airlines, however some decide to charter their own private jet so that they can bypass the potential delays in and out of Denver International Airport and skip the oftentimes scary winter driving conditions on Interstate 70.

People are often surprised how easy it is to rent a jet to Vail, and even more surprised at how reasonable the cost is. Oftentimes, people just aren’t aware of how easy it is to do it.

One way to find a charter outfit to fly you to Vail is to call up your local airport and track down an FAA certified operator. Once you’ve found them, give them the details of your trip and request they send you their best quote to perform this flight. Within a few hours, they’ll have a quote to you, giving you a pretty accurate expectation of what the flight will cost.

Another option is to use a charter broker to find you the right airplane. A broker already has the in-depth knowledge of the charter industry and will know immediately what type of aircraft you’ll need to perform your trip. For instance, if there are only four people going on this trip, there’s no need to charter a jet that has eight seats. Or, if the trip length is anything over 300-400 miles, a turboprop airplane will likely end up costing you more than a jet. The broker will be able to track down the right airplane from a qualified charter operator and negotiate a good rate on your behalf. In the end, with the exception of a few circumstances, it should save you money to use a broker when arranging a charter flight and it will make the whole process a lot easier.

When a charter operator quotes the cost to do the trip, they base their calculations on the hourly retail cost to fly their airplane. They then add other costs on top of the hourly rate, such as a fuel surcharge fee, landing fees, parking fees, crew charges and a 7.5% federal excise tax. All of these charges are included in your retail charter quote. However, unplanned costs that may be incurred along the way aren’t included and will be billed to you after the completion of the flight. Examples of these costs include possible air traffic delays, unplanned change in routing because of poor weather and other fees for airport services that may be required such as deicing the airplane or putting the aircraft in a hangar to avoid impending weather. Pilots will try to avoid these costs in order to keep the service as reasonable as possible for you, however in order to complete a flight safely, they may have to use these services like these and the operator will pass these costs onto you.

Most modern private jets are able to go nonstop from anywhere in the country to any of the Colorado ski towns and should be able to complete the leg to Vail without refueling. A flight from Teterboro, NJ, an airport on the outskirts of New York City, to Vail should take anywhere from four to five hours, depending on the aircraft flown. To get to Vail from anywhere on the West Coast should be under three hours. There are exceptions, though, depending on factors such as the total number of passengers going, the winds aloft on the day of travel and the weather conditions forecast for your arrival time. Some operators will have to make a fuel stop along the way in order to have adequate reserve fuel in case of a change of plans.

Upon arriving in Vail, your crew will taxi up to Vail Valley Jet Center, a jet service center known for their excellent customer service, as well as the giant grand piano in the lobby. Even though this business has a monopoly on jet traffic coming in and out of Eagle, they’re known to be very helpful and friendly to their clients. If you’ve arranged for ground transportation to pick you up at the airport, this is where they’ll find you. If for some reason you don’t have transportation lined up in advance, the staff at the jet center will arrange for transportation on your behalf.

Depending on the length of your stay and your agreement with the charter operator, your flight crew will either remain in town until your departure date. If your flight was booked and charged as a one-way flight, they’ll likely have the airplane serviced and refueled, then be on their way back to their home base. And by the way, alhough it certainly isn’t expected, pilots and cabin crew always appreciate a thoughtful tip.

Your broker or the charter operator themselves can help take care of all the additional details of your stay. If you need help with reservations at hotels or restaurants, most brokers and operators will do all they can help you and may even have special connections established with local businesses already. Make sure to let them know ahead of time if you need any assistance with extra details.

As a side note, the benefit of flying into Vail’s Eagle airport as compared to Aspen is that it is less restricted and enjoys better weather due to its unique location and altitude. Because of the nearby mountainous terrain that surrounds Aspen, charter operators must adhere to certain procedures that limit their access at night or during times of poor weather. In addition, the available parking space at Aspen is fairly limited and during popular times of the year, it may require that charter crews simply drop off their passengers and fly to Eagle to park the airplane. From a client’s perspective, if their final destination is Aspen, it’s much more convenient to fly into Aspen Pitkin Airport than to fly into Eagle.

During the ski season when jet traffic in and out of Vail, Aspen and Garfield is especially busy, your charter operator will have to schedule a “slot,” essentially a reservation to land at the airport. These slots are subject to availability and issued on a first come, first serve basis. That’s why if you absolutely have to be in Vail at a specific time, make sure to plan your charter as far in advance as possible.

If you would like to charter a jet to Vail, there are several resources to learn more specifics about the charter process. National Business Aircraft Association provides plenty of useful information that will help you prepare for a trip.

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