Charter Basics

Why Choose Charter?

Flying by charter differs from scheduled aviation in many ways, but from the point of view of the customer it can be summarized in three words: efficiency, privacy and flexibility. You may be a corporate travel planner trying to get eight executives from New York to Nebraska as safely and with as little downtime as possible. You may be trying to lift a critically ill patient from one hospital to another. You may be trying to move the all-star cast, crew and equipment of a block-buster film from Los Angeles to Vancouver, or you may just be trying to get your family from London to Aruba without stopping at two other cities for hours in between. Whatever your priorities, charter air travel gives you the freedom to organize the trip around your needs.

When you fly scheduled airlines, you travel on the airline's schedule (assuming they're on time) and zigzag along their hub-and-spoke routes, connecting here, changing planes there, and sometimes doubling or tripling your travel time. Long drives to and from large commercial international airports, time spent reserving, picking up and clearing airline tickets and checking, tagging or even losing luggage drains your productivity even further. You then wait in lines with no end in sight, only to disrobe, unpack, be searched and then get dressed. You repack and regain your dignity, while finally climbing aboard an aircraft with 300 strangers. A useful and private business meeting on board a commercial airliner is all but impossible, and completing work confidentially or otherwise is more than a challenge.

With charter, you fly where you want, when you want, in the plane you want, and with extra amenities you choose yourself. Increasingly more and more business and pleasure travelers are discovering the advantages of charter travel. Time is money and every wasted moment is a lost opportunity. Aircraft charter puts you in control of your schedule by placing a fleet of aircraft at your disposal anywhere you are in the world.

How to Choose an Aircraft

There are several factors that will dictate aircraft that are appropriate for your trip: the number of passengers traveling, the nature and amount of baggage or cargo, your destination, personal aircraft preferences and budget all factor into the type of aircraft you’ll need. Before you charter a trip, you can expect an operator or broker to explore your travel requirements with you:

How many passengers are making the trip and where will you be going? The number of people in your party will determine what size aircraft you'll need; your location will indicate the required range. Some high-altitude airports like Telluride, Colorado, have limited accessibility, or accessibility that changes seasonally depending on the aircraft.

Think about your destination and how fast you need to get there. Cruising speeds vary widely, but a rough speed estimate for propeller planes is about 200 mph/322kmh, while jets fly at something closer to 500 mph/805kmh. When estimating flight-times, add 10-15% for the time necessary to achieve cruising speed and altitude. With these figures in mind, an 800mile/1,287km flight from Dallas to Chicago would take four and a half hours in a propeller-driven aircraft, but less than two in a jet.

Aircraft performance, size and passenger capacity all influence price, and choosing the right plane involves trade-offs. At first glance, price might make the propeller plane more attractive, but unless the aircraft has a lavatory, you may need a pit stop. Also consider noise level. Jets have pressurized passenger cabins and fly at altitudes where the noise of the engines drops off, making conversations and meetings held at normal speaking volume possible. While it isn't impossible to converse in a propeller plane flying at 8,000 feet, you probably could not manage a nuanced business negotiation or romantic chat with your sweetheart. Do you need to stand up and speak to your group, make a phone call, have a cooked meal, watch a DVD or enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted sleep? Be sure to relay these details to your operator or broker.

You should also disclose any special type or quantity of baggage or equipment you'll be bringing along. A safe flight depends on appropriate weight and balance. Snow skis, for example, are too long for the baggage compartment of many small aircraft. Operators are not allowed to lay loose items such as skis in the aisle. Travelers with monster golf bags can encounter similar snags. Also disclose things like the presence of heavy smokers, pets, or unusual items such as oxygen canisters or flammable material.

How to Choose an Operator

Many criteria apply to the selection of the right charter operator.

When talking to a prospective operator, you will want to question him or her thoroughly. We have provided a Glossary of Terms to assist you with industry jargon. Any good charter operator will appreciate the opportunity to go through a prospective itinerary with you as long as you are serious about using their service and aren’t simply window-shopping or web-surfing.

Credentials are important. Review the operator’s operating certificate, safety record and/or insurance policy. If your company has unique insurance policies, discuss them.

Ask the operator for customer references. Call these customers and ask them questions about their business dealings with the operator. You should be able to get a quick sense of whether or not they are happy with the services they have been provided.

If possible, visit your charter operator. This website has listed hundreds of operators, but we haven't met all of them. Air charter is a service business, and its people represent the key to success.

How to Choose a Broker

If you are crunched for time or worried about all the trip details, you might consider working with a charter broker. The broker represents your interests and deals directly with operators and other trip service providers. A good broker earns their keep by being helpful with things like competitive rates, contingency planning, organizing all the logistics of your trip, and getting you to your destination in the wee hours of the morning if the weather won't permit the flight.

Brokers can handle the details of trip planning when you don't have the time to do so. The broker will survey most aspects of the trip, obtaining copies of FAA flight certificates, literature about the aircraft to be used, as well as backup aircraft available and the safety record of the operator. In addition, the broker will usually review the operator's flight manifests for FBOs, mileage en route, anticipated departure and arrival times, and plans for overnight arrangements for aircraft and crew.

What does the operator carry for insurance? What level coverage does your company expect for your senior people? Often policy riders must be constructed for certain trips. Most air charter brokers have dealt with related insurance issues enough to know when and where to inquire. They know how apparent problems can be solved quickly and inexpensively.

The broker is working with you and for you. Service is what they’re good at, so take advantage of their expertise! Ask a lot of questions – they’ll be happy to help.

Single-Piston Aircraft

Pistonprop single-engine aircraft are ideally suited for short-range flights with a few passengers or light load of cargo in good to fair weather conditions. Pistonprop aircraft are propelled by a gas combustion propeller engine. Pistonprops are typically smaller than other aircraft categories and therefore cannot fly as far without stopping for fuel, but they are able to access many airports with shorter runways, thereby getting the charter passenger closer to their ultimate destination. Pistonprop single-engine aircraft are typically flown by a single pilot, but a charter provider should be able to supply your flight with a co-pilot upon request.

Average Passenger Capacity: 3-4

Representative Aircraft: Beech Bonanza, Cessna 206, Cessna Skylane 210, Piper Cherokee Six, Cirrus SR-22

Popular Itineraries: Boston to Nantucket, Los Angeles to Van Nuys, Munich to Stuttgart, Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers


Multi-Piston Aircraft

Pistonprop multi-engine aircraft are ideally suited for short-range flights for a small group of passengers or light cargo. Pistonprop multis are usually less expensive than turboprops or jets. Pistonprop multi-engine aircraft are considered safer and more reliable than single-engine piston aircraft, especially in inclement weather situations. While pistonprop multis are larger than their single-engine counterparts and can carry more people, weight and cargo, they are still typically smaller than turboprops and jets. Pistonprop multi-engine aircraft are typically flown by a single pilot, but a charter provider should be able to supply your flight with a co-pilot upon request.

Average Passenger Capacity: 1-5

Representative Aircraft: Beech Baron, Cessna 402, Piper Navajo

Popular Itineraries: Boston to Nantucket, Scottsdale to Las Vegas, Hamburg to Dresden, Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau


Turboprop Aircraft

Turboprop aircraft combine the low-cost advantages of the piston aircraft while sharing some of the performance and cabin comfort advantages of light jets. Turboprops are powered by turbine propeller engines. With average cruising speeds of over 300 mph and an average nonstop range above 1,000 miles, a turboprop can travel further, faster and offer more comfort than piston aircraft while keeping charter costs below those of jet aircraft. Popular for short to mid-range flights, turboprops can access runways that are often too short for jet aircraft. Amenities often include: pressurized passenger cabins for added comfort, safety and performance and a semi-private lavatory. Baggage capacity is limited.

Average Passenger Capacity: 4-8

Representative Aircraft: King Air 90, 100, 200, 300, Cheyenne I, II, III, IV, Merlin, Beech Starship, Pilatus PC-12, Commander

Popular Itineraries: Toronto to Chicago, San Diego to Los Angeles, Boston to New York or Washington D.C., Geneva to Paris, Vienna to Prague and Seattle to Reno


Very Light Jets

Very Light Jets are a lower-cost alternative to other charter aircraft, without sacrificing any of the service. Designed for a single pilot, VLJs are lighter than most business jets and have a maximum take-off weight of under 10,000 pounds, or 4540 kg.

Average Passenger Capacity: 4-8

Representative Aircraft: Eclipse 500, Cessna Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100.

Popular Itineraries: Chicago to Dallas, Paris to Hamburg, Los Angeles to San Francisco and Boston to Altanta


Light Jets

Light jets are the entry-level jet class in the charter industry. Light jets are the most economical choice for short to mid-range trips. With average cruising speeds of 440 mph and an average nonstop range of about 1,500 miles, a light jet can travel further and faster than non-jet aircraft while operating in and out of airports not accessible by the major airlines. Amenities often include: pressurized passenger cabins for added comfort, safety and performance and a semi-private lavatory. Light jets have limited baggage capacity and often cannot accommodate skis or large golf bags.

Average Passenger Capacity: 4-8

Representative Aircraft: Citation II, Learjet 35, Falcon 10, Westwind, Beechjet 400

Popular Itineraries: Chicago to Dallas, Paris to Hamburg, Los Angeles to San Francisco and Boston to Altanta


Mid Jets

Midsize Jet aircraft optimally blend comfort, performance and economy for medium length flights. With average cruising speeds over 500 mph and a nonstop range of about 2,100 miles, a midsize jet can travel further, faster and with more comfort then light jets while operating in and out of airports not accessible by the major airlines. Most of the midsize jet aircraft have external baggage storage and can accommodate a reasonable amount of baggage. However, some aircraft such as the Hawker line of private jets only have internal baggage storage and can pose problems for skis or other bulky items. Most midsize jets offer a private lavatory.

Average Passenger Capacity: 5-9

Representative Aircraft: Learjet 55, Falcon 20, Hawker 800, Citation VII

Popular Itineraries: New York to West Palm Beach, London to Milan, and Van Nuys to Seattle


Heavy Jets

Heavy jets are top-of-the-line executive aircraft offering optimum performance and amenities for long-range flights. With average cruising speeds of 530 mph and an average nonstop range over 4,000 miles, a heavy jet can travel further and with more comfort than smaller jets while operating in and out of airports not accessible to the major airlines. Amenities usually found onboard heavy jets include; a private lavatory, external baggage compartments, stereo DVD, satellite phone, fax, and a full galley. A flight attendant can enhance your flight experience, improve safety and assist with gourmet catering for high-end business and entertainment.

Average Passenger Capacity: 10-19

Representative Aircraft: Falcon 900 or 2000 Challenger 600, 601 or 604, Gulfstream II, III, IV or V

Popular Itineraries: Bangor to Seattle, New York to Rome, Moscow to Miami, London to Los Angeles, and San Francisco to Tokyo


Turboprop Airliners

Turboprops airliners combine a larger passenger cabin with turboprop performance. Popular for short to mid-range flights, they can often land at airports with runways too short for jet aircraft and are typically more economical than jet airliners. Turboprop airliners are powered by two to four turbine propeller engines. Compared to regular turboprop aircraft they usually have more powerful engines and a longer nonstop range. Turboprop airliners feature pressurized passenger cabins for added comfort, safety and performance. Some turboprop airliners feature executive configurations with multiple amenities while others have commercial airliner configurations to maximize passenger capacity. While the majority of turboprop airliners are used for scheduled service, many are available for charter through charter companies, brokers and charter divisions of airlines.

Average Passenger Capacity: 19-65

Representative Aircraft: Beech Commuter 1900, Jetstream 31, Swearingen Metro

Popular Itineraries: Newark to Charlotte, Sacramento to San Francisco, New York to Washington D.C., LeBourget to Bordeaux


Jet Airliners

Jet airliners are capable of carrying large groups of people or heavy cargos on medium to long-range flights. The wide variety of jet airliner types encompass diverse performance characteristics. Smaller jet airliners are designated "regional" and are best suited for mid-range domestic transport, while the largest jet airliners can carry hundreds of passengers over thousands of non-stop miles. Jet airliners are powered by two to four jet engines and typically feature pressurized passenger cabins for added comfort, safety and performance. Jet airliners can be either executive configured, featuring multiple berths, lavatories, a gym, shower, meeting room or study, and other luxurious appointments; or economy-configured like a commercial airliner to maximize passenger capacity. While the majority of jet airliners are used for scheduled service, many are available for charter through charter companies, brokers and charter divisions of major airlines.

Average Passenger Capacity: 25-500+

Representative Aircraft: Airbus 300, Boeing 727, McDonnell-Douglas DC-10

Popular Itineraries: New York to Aruba, Chicago to Tokyo, Moscow to Capetown, and Sydney to Venice



Helicopters can move into and out of difficult to reach places like big-city congestion or remote wilderness locations. They are perfect for small groups of people that need to travel a short distance in good weather conditions. Today's modern charter helicopters are typically powered by a single jet engine or dual jet engines and fly at speeds up to 175 mph for average ranges of 100-350 miles. Helicopter charter enables passengers to hover to take photos of a real estate site, carry the injured to area hospitals, land in locations where there are no available airports and generally get in and out of places faster and easier than with fixed-wing aircraft.

Average Passenger Capacity: 3-10

Representative Aircraft: Bell Jetranger, Eurocopter Twinstar, Sikorsky S76, and Agusta 109

Popular Itineraries: East Hampton NY to Manhattan, Zurich to Geneva, Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, and Whidbey Island to Tacoma

Pricing & Payment

The expense of air charter must be evaluated against the needs of your trip. How many passengers are going, and how does the cost compare to other forms of travel? What is the savings in time, lodging, ground transportation, and gained business opportunity? Air charter can bring all the advantages that air travel is supposed to offer- rapid transportation with real convenience and service. When you really have to be somewhere in a hurry, it is worth every penny.

Aircraft are usually chartered by the hour, with rates varying according to many factors. Hourly rates are figured against the time an aircraft is actually in the air. A strong tailwind, therefore, will lower the cost. Air traffic delays, holding patterns and en route deviations will increase it. Some operators and brokers will charge based on a quotation that is fixed, and will not change, regardless of your actual flight time. Be sure to understand which method your charter professional will be using to quote and invoice you.

Many operators try to make their pricing more appealing by charging on a distance basis, against actual trip length. Some will qualify this length, however, by charging for trip length as extended by expected deviations. Since there is no way for a passenger to check this distance, it becomes an inaccurate form of pricing because the unit (i.e. mileage) cannot be measured.

Most unit pricing charges (hourly or distance based) relate to an operator's actual hourly expenses—aircraft lease, fuel, maintenance, crew wages, and his profit margin. Prices guaranteed in advance are like any other lump sum agreement: a bet on the part of the vendor that he can do the job within the sum quoted and still make some money. To the extent that the market will bear, a prudent operator will charge extra to give himself some margin. However, if you are willing to share the bet and accept his unit price terms, you may share the savings if the trip is quicker than expected. Or you may pay more if the trip is longer.



While many charter operators include all surcharges in their base price, some bill other aspects of the trip as extra charges. These can include handling fees (landing and takeoffs), municipal landing fees, ramp (parking) fees, repositioning fees, waiting time, overnight charges, de-icing, preheating of cabin and/or engines, hangar storage, and federal and state taxes.

Landing and ramp fees are regarded as pass-along expenses to the customer. The fees vary widely. Though usually quite reasonable (it costs more to park a car in Manhattan than to land and park a Lear Jet at the average airport), the expense to land at major metropolitan airports can be very high.


Terms of Payment

Terms of payment are of great concern to the operator. Because of the high expense of a single trip, one bad debit might erase a substantial portion of a year's profit. The operator has provided a service that cannot be returned, and the cost of pursuing a claim may preempt litigation.

Often, and this applies to charter brokers as well as operators, a 15-20% deposit is required of a new customer. Less frequently an operator may ask as much as 100%, or complete payment in advance for the trip. Variables that influence payment terms might include the operator's cash position, the trip cost, his feeling about the account, and the time available for a reasonable credit history to be verified. Usually there is no time, so the operator is back to trusting instincts or asking for pay in advance.

The credit card offers a way out. Its advantages are several: all travelers and companies have one; a third party of national financial stature is ready to offer him support; a method to take a "deposit" in escrow or advance (which may or may not be debited from the card holder) in order to minimize the chance of double booking or an unreliable customer. It also gives the operator a way to insure final payment on time. And cash flow is particularly important to an industry with large fuel bills and expensive equipment leases. A survey recently performed by The Air Charter Guide indicates that 16% of all charter flights are conducted using some form of credit card payment.

Whether it is a last minute, complicated or short trip, make certain you understand every line item of the quote you receive from the operator or broker and that the payment terms are clear.


The air charter community has developed its own industry-specific business and technical terminology that may be unfamiliar to newcomers. The Air Charter Guide has prepared this brief list of terms that a user of air charter is likely to encounter in conversation with charter professionals, in our publications, and on our website.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

airway distance: The actual (as opposed to straight line) distance flown by the aircraft between two points, after deviations required by air traffic control and navigation along established routes. The difference between this and straight line distance will vary throughout the country. Average figures would be between 5–9%.

amphibious floats: FLOATS or "pontoons" equipped with retractable wheels that permit the aircraft to operate from paved airports.

ARO: Airport reservation office. Staffed by the FAA, this entity allocates landing and take-off reservations for unscheduled aircraft in and out of the following airports: JFK, LGA, EWR, DCA, ORD (see airport identifier listings for codes). Since these allocations are scarce and granted 48 hours in advance on a first-come-first-served basis, travel to these five airports may be difficult by charter.

block rates: A lower "contract rate" for scheduling significant amounts of charter time in advance on a pre-arranged agreement.

block speed: The average speed over a specific distance "block-to block", or door-to-door with respect to the airport gate.

broker margin: The difference between the flight charges assessed by the charter operator and the flight charges assessed by the charter broker.

certificate: FAA-issued license (in this context sometimes referred to as ticket, part 135 license, etc.) to carry passengers for hire.

charter broker: A company or individual that buys charter at wholesale and resells it at retail. The broker is responsible for payment to the charter provider, for assessing end-user taxes and fees, and for ensuring their customer's safety and satisfaction. A charter operator may act as a broker to provide supplemental lift to their customer.

charter operator: A company or individual that holds aircraft charter certificates and provides charter services to retail and wholesale customers.

commuter operator: A regional, scheduled airline. In this book limited to that operator with adequate fleet capacity as to be available of charter. Not all commuter airlines charter, because of the limitations of aircraft and crew availability.

corporate operator: A company flight department that has earned a part 135 certificate to carry passengers for compensation.

cruise speed: The aircraft speeds shown in the Aircraft Listings in this directory. Cruise speed is the normal speed attained at altitude once the aircraft is no longer climbing and is en route.

D-085: Page 85, section D, of an operator's federally mandated Operations Manual. This certified page lists all aircraft that the operator may legally offer for charter.

deadhead: Originally a noun, now a verb meaning to fly the return leg of a trip without cargo or passengers. Originally coined during the infancy of the major airlines, the term was pejoratively applied to company employees or spouses, who were strapped into otherwise empty seats to give the appearance of high business volume.

duty time: That portion of the day when a crew member is on duty in any capacity (not just in the air). This can be a constraint on long day-trips, as there are FAA-imposed limits on the amount of time allowed on duty. Many charter operators have stricter rules, so it pays to inquire before planning a trip too tight to the limit.

empty leg: Also known as "one-way availability". Since charter trips typically charge for the round trip travel of the aircraft, empty legs can often represent relative bargains. These are usually posted as available for travel between two airports during a certain time period.

FBO: Fixed-base operator, which represents a large majority of the air charter industry. By definition at a permanent location, this is a vendor of services, maintenance, fuel, flight instruction, and aircraft sales, in addition to charter.

fleet manager: A commercial aviation entity developed to subcontract the maintenance and operation of corporate aircraft, which are often chartered out to the general public.

flight time: That portion of the trip actually spent in the air. For billing purposes this definition is generally strict and only applies from moment of lift-off to moment of touch-down.

floats: Pontoons, or flotation devices, that enable an airplane (or helicopter) to land on water.

GADO: General Aviation District Office of the FAA. As the most local branch of the FAA, also the entity most likely to know the specific history of a charter operator.

general aviation: That portion of aviation other than military or commercial scheduled operations. Commercial unscheduled operations, corporate flight operations, and private aviation are the most conspicuous members of this group. Most major metropolitan airports tend to have a separate "general aviation" terminal, where a chartered flight is likely to depart or arrive.

great circle distance: The shortest distance between two points on a globe.

IFR: Instrument Flight Rules (flight in clouds).

ILS: Instrument Landing System. Low-level approach equipment at certain airports. In The Air Charter Guide, airports with ILS systems are indicated in bold face type in the airport listings. Though instrument approaches and departures can be made in airports without an ILS, its presence is a material benefit to the travel planner because an instrument landing system improves trip reliability as closely as possible to the level of scheduled airlines, which generally fly from airports with these facilities.

independent operator: A charter operator that does not meet the definition of FBO or commuter, but may not be involved in contract management of aircraft. The larger independent operators, however, are very close to the fleet manager in business approach.

layover: A night spent in the middle of the trip in a city other than home base for the aircraft and crew.

leg: Describes one direction of travel between two points. Commonly used in referring to a planned itinerary, it may not indicate all landings such as fuel stops.

lift: Any aircraft engaged for transport.

medevac: Medical evacuation (usually emergency) seen in this book as a service of many helicopter companies.

net/net: The quote format that applies wholesale rates and does not include taxes or other end-user assed fees. Also known as a wholesale quote.

Part 91: The set of federal regulations that govern private aircraft use.

Part 135: The set of federal regulations that govern the commercial hire of jets.

positioning: Ferrying aircraft for departure from other than originating airport. (Also for return.)

positioning time: Time estimated for an aircraft to travel to the trip departure position.

propjet: A propeller driven airplane, in which the engine is a jet turbine rather than piston driven.

ramp: The apron or open "tarmac" in form of an FBO or terminal facility. This space is busy, used for deplanement, parking of aircraft, etc. Some facilities will permit automobiles to drive to the aircraft on the ramp, a feature of real benefit to the traveler with heavy or bulky luggage.

repositioning time: Time estimated for an aircraft to return to its based position after completion of a passenger segment.

retail customer: Also known as the "end user". This customer purchases charter for their own use and is assessed Federal Excise Tax (FET) and segment fees as applicable. Unless they have made special arrangements with a particular operator, they are usually quoted the market rate.

retail quote: Quote provided to retail customer including taxes and end-user assessed fees.

segment: Describes the unit of flight between take-off and landing. Sometimes used interchangeably with the term leg.

stage length: Distance of itinerary non-stop leg.

taxi time: That portion of the trip spent rolling between the gate, terminal, or RAMP and runway.

VFR: Visual Flight Rules (flight out of clouds).

waiting time: That time that the chartered aircraft and crew must wait on the ground during any portion of the trip.

wholesale buyer: charter broker or charter operator that you allow to represent your aircraft to their customers.

wholesale quote: Quote provided to a wholesale buyer for the purpose of resale. Applies wholesale rates and does not include taxes or end-user assessed fees. Also known as a net/net quote.

wholesale rates: Discounted hourly rates offered to wholesale buyers for purpose of resale. Industry average is a 5% discount but the rate varies according to agreements between individual charter operators and charter brokers.


Catered meals are a wonderful amenity on charter flights of more than an hour. Some of the better-equipped and larger jets can accommodate on-board cooking. Aircraft smaller than ten-seat capacity are not equipped to handle this. Advance coordination of this service will be necessary for anything much more complicated than drinks and pretzels or coffee and doughnuts. But you "own" the aircraft while you have it, so you are entitled to request something special.

The most important precaution to bear in mind is that bringing food onto an airplane is not another form of take-out. Because several hours can elapse between preparation, transportation to the aircraft, re-heating, and service at cruising altitude, meals treated like ordinary take-out can spoil and endanger the health of passengers and crew.

An operator or broker can help you to coordinate with a knowledgeable in-flight caterer, who can provide a meal of the highest taste and quality safely. Make sure that they are aware of any dietary restrictions. If you're picking up food from your favorite restaurant, let them know if you won't be eating the food right away so the chef can plan and package your meal appropriately.

Savvy in-flight caterers can also supply the services of event planners. If your family or business party is traveling around a holiday or celebratory event, ask your caterer for some ways to make the trip part of the festivities. Birthday cakes, holiday decorations and special activities can all be ordered ahead and ready for your trip. With some creative planning, your holiday celebration doesn't start when you get to your destination, but as soon as you step on-board your charter flight.

Ground Transportation

If you're flying into an unfamiliar or new airport, give some thought to ground transportation. "I'll meet you at the airport" is often a welcome gesture from the host in your destination city, and is probably the best solution when you're arriving at a new airport. If that isn't possible, every town has a taxi service, but you probably won't find a line of yellow cabs waiting for the crowd at the airport. There isn't a crowd—that's the point. If one taxi will do the trick, a simple advance call from the air can usually coordinate a timely hand-off on the ground. A radio call from the air can save you time on the ground.

The larger national limousine services have central reservation numbers, and like charter aircraft, they too can be positioned for the job. If you're traveling as a group, a limo might be best way to make a luxurious virtue of necessity and get everyone to the final destination in one vehicle. At metropolitan airports, the major national car rental companies usually provide shuttle services between general aviation terminals and the main car rental facility. Often your FBO can have cars brought to the terminal, but you should try to make your request in advance and coordinate it through your operator.