Tomorrow morning I am flying into London Heathrow at 7AM in the morning on a long-haul scheduled flight from Brazil (I’ve been to visit the Embraer factory – more on that to follow). I’m already gritting my teeth anticipating the 12 hour wait at Heathrow.

Most of the people I am flying with are asking how the public sector strikes will be affecting private jet charter passengers. The answer is, it’s business as usual, with little or no impact for private jet customers.

At PrivateFly we’ve certainly seen a surge in pan-European flight search and bookings for 30 November, and it’s interesting to note that many of these bookings are from new customers who simply cannot afford to risk a 12 hour delay when they have an important meeting to attend or a personal reason to fly. As with any form of travel chaos, like during the volcanic ash cloud and snow chaos of last December, private charter flights become increasingly affordable when balanced with the significant time saving.

Private jet passengers at larger airports go through a separate terminal (known as an FBO) to scheduled or charter flights, and private jets can take-off and land from 1000s of smaller airports worldwide.

Using London as an example, we’re seeing potential gridlock of Heathrow tomorrow morning, and yet there are 14 alternative airport gateways to the capital, that will ensure a much more seamless and stress-free arrival, both during the immigration strikes and also on a normal day. (See our London Airport map)

Private jet charter passengers still clear immigration; although in most cases private jet passengers are pre-cleared before they fly. Before the flight their passport details are sent to the UK Border Agency staff for thorough clearance. Immediately after private jet passengers disembark their passports are checked by the FBO staff against the pre-clearance; and of course, the UK Border Agency can choose to spot-check private jet passenger passport details at any point, and at any UK airport.

For people who have to get into any UK airport on 30 November 2011, and cannot afford a 12 hour wait, they might be surprised that they can afford a private charter. We are booking last minute flights for tomorrow…

Using a twin propeller aircraft (and subject to aircraft availability and based on the hire of the whole aircraft) for short flights prices start from:
Paris – London from £500 per person
Dublin – London from £600 per person

And if you’re wondering why I’m on a long-haul scheduled flight (instead of a private jet flight), I am wondering the same thing! It’s certainly giving me an insight into the stress and time-cost of scheduled flights.