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Why are we surprised? AGAIN? The most recent private jet shuttle company to bite the dust – Surf Air!

Ok! Fine… They were actually taken over by Encompass Aviation according to AINonline. Nonetheless, these all-you-can-fly start-ups are raising money and then failing. We are beginning to wonder if the entire plot is a scheme from inception. In this case, Surf Air surrendered their FAA Part 135 operating certificate to Encompass Aviation and subleased all 12 of their aircraft to them as well. As for their non-California routes… they are brokering those out. Interestingly, all of this occurred back in May but we are just hearing about it. Thank goodness for the pilots that they are all still employed, as Encompass retained them. According to AINonline, it seems as though Encompass’ business model, moving forward, will be more geared toward FAA Part 121, commercial, operations but the immediate future is simply just to gain inter-state flying authorization; presumably, to also take over the routes Surf Air is currently brokering out.

Remember last October when we blogged about “The Uber of Private Jets,” failing? These business models sound great but they don’t make sense from an economical standpoint. When you take into consideration the costs associated simply with operating the aircraft, advertising, technology investments (apps and websites), crew salary and office staff, etc… the ability to operate outside of the red becomes very unlikely. Further, the likeliness of a lot of empty seats as you get your name out there and work hard to bring on paying members is inevitably going to result in operating at a substantial loss. There is simply no way around it.

It is alarming to companies like us who are working hard to do honest business with our customers when we hear of the nonsense many startups are selling. Perhaps just as disappointing is how they seem to be scamming investors. IF, and we mean IF, the founders of these startups have any aviation experience (many do not), they have to know the possibility of not failing, and actually becoming profitable, is not as likely as we are guessing they are presenting to investors (who probably have even less aviation experience). There are many quotes about how aviation is the fastest way to go broke, but perhaps the most applicable, in this instance, is “Crime wouldn’t pay if the FAA took it over and would go bankrupt if an airline management did.”

Private Jet Charter Rates


Private Jet Charter Rates

Perhaps one of the most asked questions revolves around private jet charter rates. It is quite challenging to estimate rates without giving special consideration to how the expertise and experience of your private jet charter coordinator impacts the rate you pay. For instance, if you do business with an operator they will typically try to put you on an in-house aircraft that they own or manage, as that is the option most profitable and convenient for them. A broker will typically search for the best matched aircraft for your needs; however, not all brokers are equal. Some have better intra-industry relationships and connections, others have better technology, and the unique truly get pleasure from getting a great deal for their customer; that would be our team! We love the challenge!

Cost per hour ranges for various aircraft classes

In general, the hourly rate of private jet aircraft are broken down by aircraft class. Sample information is as follows:

wdt_ID Aircraft Class Example Seating Approximate Hourly Rate
1 Very Light Jet Citation Mustang, Phenom 100, Eclipse 500 4-5 passengers $1,450 - $2,400
2 Light Jets Citation I/II/CJ2/CJ3/CJ4/Encore/Ultra, Phenom 300, Learjet 31/35/40/75, Beechjet. Hawker 400 5-9 Passengers $1,625 - $3,630
3 Mid-Sized Jets Citation III/VII/XLS/Excel, Hawker 800/850/900, Lear 45/55/60 7-9 Passengers $2,600 - $4,000
4 Super Mid-Sized Jets Challenger 300/350, Citation X/Sovereign, Hawker 1000/4000, Gulfstream 200/280, Falcon 5 8-10 Passenger $3,275 - $6,100
5 Heavy Jets Challenger 601/604/605, Gulfstream III/IV/V/400/450/500/550/650, Global Express/5000/6000, Falcon 900/2000 10-19 Passengers $4,600 - $10,000
6 Turbo Props King Air 90/250/350, Super King Air, Pilatus PC-12, Caravan, Cheyenne 6-13 Passengers $1,000 - $2,250

Please note:

  • Hourly rates do not reflect aircraft positioning, parking/landing fees, fuel surcharges where applicable, de-icing when required, international fees, overnight fees, catering, or special requests/
  • Domestic travel incurs FET (federal excise tax) and segment fees. International travel incurs international taxes as applicable. Travel to Hawaii and Alaska incur additional territory specific fees/taxes.
  • Taxi time is billed at 12 minutes per leg in excess of estimated flight time.
  • Hourly rates are subject to change.
  • Daily minimum requirements may be applicable on certain itineraries.

How Exquisite Air Charter can help with private jet charter rates

Exquisite Air Charter’s primary goal is to satisfy our customers. Safety always comes first but aircraft quality, reliability, and price are not compromised when you charter with us. We have a network comprising more than 5,000 aircraft in the U.S. alone but, in fairness, we will not use them all. We make certain to qualify every aircraft and every crew member prior to allowing them the honor of flying our valued customers.

Interested in learning more? Why not get a free, no obligation, quote? Our team will provide you with the best aircraft options to accommodate your specific itinerary at the best possible private jet charter rates.

Be aware, not all services are the same. There are so many gimmicky programs starting up that it is extremely difficult to keep track of them. Many of them fail before making a name for themselves. Perhaps the worst of all are the ones who take advantage of customers interested in flying on a private jet by using what we consider to be deceptive private jet charter advertising.

One of the many benefits of private jet charter is the rural locations you can reach directly. Learn more about the private jet charter airports available when you fly private.

Welcome Aboard!

We are excited to make your journey safe and comfortable!


Are private jet shuttle service providers the real deal or just false advertisement? Recently I ran across an article in Forbes with a title that highlighted the claim of a new shuttle service’s CEO: a shuttle service is better than a private jet… REALLY? I am apalled! How dare he? A fancy exterior paint job on an old 30 passenger Embraer ERJ 135 does not result in private jet status… nor does a red carpet unrolled in a hanger with some ropes compare to a high quality FBO; let’s keep it real! Perhaps the article would have been titled better if it read, “New shuttle service sells a pipe dream!”

The article went on to highlight the inconveniences, and in this day and age even dangers, sometimes associated with commercial air travel. I would have been okay if they would have claimed to be a hybrid between commercial and private; highlighting the more boutique service they provide, hangar departures, and prices comparable to airlines (since the service is comparable). I absolutely cannot accept that they compare themselves to private jet service. They are playing on the desires of people trying to keep up with the Jones’ all while misrepresenting the service they actually provide. Air Canada and SkyWest (Delta’s regional connection partner) operate Embraer 170/175. I believe United Express still contracts with a few regional airlines who operate a few Embraer 135/145. At any cost, these Embraer regional jets simply do not compare with a true private jet but don’t take our word for it; let’s compare visually…

This first photo is passenger seating in a private jet vs. their shuttle wanna be private jet:

private jet shuttle service airplane interior

Inside a private jet shuttle service airplane

Here we have a tray table vs. a table that you can actually work and eat on:

private jet interior

the inside of a real private jet is much different than those pretenders operating shuttle services on what they claim to be a private jet

Last but not least is their lounge versus the lounge inside an FBO like what you use when you REALLY fly private:

hangar versus FBO

the difference between boarding a private jet shuttle service and boarding from a private jet FBO is incredibly different

Obviously there is no comparison and it is completely absurd and disappointing that this man would attempt to devalue the true private jet experience just to sell the dream of flying private to unsuspecting travelers. This is simply false advertising and unethical to suggest it is better than flying private just because you, ultimately, get to take a regional jet that departs from a hangar at the same price you’d fly that same regional jet from a small airport. I hope those considering this option turn to Yelp! to read what other reviewers shared in regards to flights being four hours late or canceled entirely if they don’t sell enough seats. Do your homework and protect yourself from false/misleading nonsense.

Citation XWhy are people so surprised? Aren’t most gimmicky business models uncovered at some point?

Let’s see… we have had the jet cards and the fractional programs and, most recently, the Uber of private jets and yet none of them are doing particularly well – if they are doing at all!

Since when were businesses in business solely for the benefit of their patrons – with no regard for turning a profit? OK! We all know that doesn’t exist so why would anyone think these programs could possibly be such a great offering to you, the customer?

The bottom line is that we all have been taught, at some point – either in business or through advanced education, that great businesses are innovative. There is definitely truth to that; however, in a service industry that caters to particularly discerning customers, we find safety and customer service generally trump innovation. On-demand, private jet charter works for who it is intended to work for. It isn’t intended to work for everyone – plain and simple!

Often times, some hopeful (often with little or no aviation experience) comes up with a get rich idea, secures funding, and hires great sales people who convince customers why their program is so amazing by appealing to their ego and emotions. It is no wonder that, publicly traded, Avantair left 600+ fractional owners grounded due to funding issues. Now, just two weeks ago, FlexJet/Flight Options moved forward with an offer of voluntary separation packages as part of their transition to an on-demand charter business and now, yesterday, Blackjet abruptly ceased operations. What happens to all the customers who paid for memberships? I can only guess they sold them by emphasizing their ties to celebrities like Ashton Kutchner, Jay Z, and Will Smith. We really shouldn’t be surprised. Nonetheless, let us again explore why the various programs are eventually exposed and, ultimately, fail.

Fractional Programs

Let’s look at two scenarios. The first, a light jet program in a Nextant, costs about $325,000 for 50 hours. In addition to the primary pricing there are monthly management fees and a per-hour fee for each hour flown. For 50 hours, that runs about an additional $185,000. When you divide that by 50 hours you ultimately pay $10,200 per flight hour. If you are paying that rate with a charter company (for on-demand charter) for a comparable aircraft, you should really re-visit who you are doing business with. The all-in cost per hour for the Nextant, including all fees and taxes (except catering), should be about half of that.

Second scenario, a heavy jet (Gulfstream 550), is about $3 million for the same 50-hour per year program but based on 5 years (a total of 250 hours). Flying 50 hours each year, you end up paying an additional $416,000 per year for the management fees and per-hour charge (still not including fuel surcharges and federal taxes). That breaks down to roughly $21,984 per flight hour before taxes and fuel surcharges – HOW IS THAT SUCH A GREAT DEAL?

Jet Cards

One of the most well-known, and reputable, companies specializing in jet cards offers two programs based on your requirements for the newness of an aircraft (year 2000 or newer costs extra). For a 25 hour card we have the following standard (not the newer aircraft option) pricing structure:

  • Light Jets: $124,825 (or $4,993 per flight hour)
  • Mid-Sized Jets: 167,775 (or $6,711 per flight hour)
  • Super Mid-Sized Jets: 227,050 (or $9,082 per flight hour)
  • Heavy Jets: $285,825 (or $11,433 per flight hour)

While these prices include Federal Excise Taxes (currently at a rate of 7.5%), taxi time is billed at 12 minutes per leg (in addition to flight time). Bermuda, Caribbean and Mexico flights incur a 10% premium charge on the hourly rate. Catering, ground transportation, and international fees are billed separately, and peak travel days also incur a surcharge of 5%.

The ultimate result is that it is not a more cost-effective option than traditional charter and, in most-cases, their back office operations aren’t really much different, if at all, than a traditional charter operation. In fact, most jet card programs source supplemental lift from the exact same FAA Part 135 operators as any other charter company (management companies and brokers both). The bottom line is that you have to find the best option for who you choose to work with; a company who can meet your needs and provide exceptional service without regard for whether or not they are a big name brand and/or offering all the gimmicky programs that aren’t likely in your best interest anyhow.

The Uber of Private Jets

Really? This program was backed by well-known celebrities and originally founded by Uber co-founder and chairman Garret Camp – who pulled out after a previous service suspension; giving up his entire investment! The idea was to ultimately settle in as a per-seat cost model that charged an annual fee (in addition to the cost per seat). They aren’t the only company offering this service. It probably will take off eventually and will probably work for many; however, it isn’t the same as a true private jet experience and we simply aren’t interested in compromising quality in an effort to attract the masses.

Before we close, let us not neglect to address one of the primary selling points, as we know it, for most of these programs – the one-way pricing structure! In all fairness, there was a time (more than ten years ago) that the pricing of one-way flight itineraries was quite unattractive in traditional, on-demand, charter operations. That has evolved considerably. If you are working with someone who isn’t investing considerable effort into finding you one-way options when they are a more appropriate fit then you should really consider exploring alternate (or additional) service providers who will take your best interest into consideration. You really want a company who will match your needs to the most appropriate option for you; without regard only for what is most profitable for them.

When do empty legs and one-way opportunities become most practical? In most aircraft, a two hour per day flight hour minimum is imposed. If you are flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles for business, and plan to stay overnight, your itinerary spans two days. This would typically result in a minimum of four flight hours being charged but we know that the flight time from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back is not four hours. This scenario is indicative of when two one-way flights become most cost-effective. Considering these are both high-density city pairs, a charter coordinator who is taking your best interest into consideration, should invest the extra effort into matching your needs with appropriate availability within the industry. If they are only offering you a plane within their own fleet that results in the greatest revenue for their company, it may be time to shop around to see if they are truly the best company for you to give your business to.

Don’t forget to let any charter coordinator you work with know your preferences. Do you prefer newer aircraft? What are your requirements for newness? Year 2000 or newer? Year 2005 or newer? Are you partial to a particular model? Do you or someone in your party have special needs? Excessive luggage? Any company who is service oriented and committed to their customers, as we are, will most definitely go to extremes to please you; after all, private jets aren’t for everyone or else all these gimmicky fad companies wouldn’t keep dropping like flies!

Dassault Falcon 5X Exterior 1

Dassault Falcon 5X

The Falcon 5x is expected to be certified in 2017 and for those of us who are big fans of the Falcon jets… this is pretty exciting! The 5X is a large-cabin twinjet which is expected to up the ante for cabin comfort, aircraft performance and ease of maintaining.

The expectations surrounding the 5X have existed among rumors for years with Dassault finally giving head to the rumors in late 2013.

Here are some of the eye popping specifics:

  • Expected to cost around $45 million new
  • 8.86 feet fuselage diameter (larger than the 8X)
  • 6.5 feet interior height
  • 1,766 cubic feet volume
  • Seating for 12 passengers

Those figures show us that this 5X will actually be larger than the trijet 7X that we love so much!

How about operations and fuel efficiency you might ask? Well, how about 50% more fuel efficient and costing 30% less to operate that similar models available from competitors? Pretty impressive, right? Dassault didn’t just think of the passengers though… they are incorporating pilot seats that recline 130 degrees so that one crew member can rest while the other flies the aircraft. This bird also boasts a 5,200 nautical mile range (approximately 11.5 hours of flying) and can fly as fast as Mach 0.9 (approximately 600 mph).

Additional specifications:

Maximum Takeoff Weight

69,600 pounds

Cabin Length

38.7 feet

Cabin Height

6.5 feet

Cabin Width

8.5 feet

Cabin Volume

1,766 cubic feet

Baggage Volume

155 cubic feet

Service Ceiling

51,000 feet

Dassault Falcon 5X Interior 1

Dassault Falcon 5X Interior

A temporary flight restriction, most often referred to as a TFR, is a restriction originally created by the FAA in an effort to manage the airspace surrounding things such as fires, natural disasters and the like. Following the attacks of 9/11, TFRs were also adopted as a method for federal security agencies to use, as they deem necessary, in relation to the security of VIPs. Considering there are typically an average of 150 active TFRs at any given time, it appears that security is a big need by the federal security agencies. Perhaps it is important to also consider that we are in an election year and those securing high office are traveling quite a bit and TFRs are also implemented for their travel. Nonetheless, the variation of active TFRs during election and non-elections years is not considerably significant.

TFR_ExplanationWith most TFRs, commercial airline flights are rarely disturbed; TFRs primarily affect independents, business and general aviation. What can be the icing on the cake, in regards to inconvenience, is that these TFRs tend to occur quite a bit during peak travel days such as Memorial Day and Labor Day (when everyone and their brother is returning from a big weekend). It is not uncommon for a major TFR, during a peak travel weekend, to cost a charter company in the realm of $15,000 and up in lost revenue. This causes many professionals in the aviation community to question the cost versus the gain. How effective are TFRs against crazy people who might be inclined to wish (or cause) harm to a current or future politician? In truth, as an aviation professional, I don’t see the use of TFRs as a means of protecting politicians as much more than guys with big egos shutting down airspace so they can feel powerful; after all, how likely is it that terrorists give a hoot about checking the TFR database before committing a horrific act?

Not only should you visit Edinburgh, Scottland‘s capital, but you should take your kids! Yep! That’s right! You should take your children. Why? You may ask… well, Edinburgh is bursting at its seems with medieval history painted with gardens and neoclassical buildings. From Arthur’s seat (an extinct volcano in Holyrood park) to Edinburgh Castle (home to Scotland’s crown jewels) to the scavenger hunt at the palace to… too many to mention!

The Gorgeous City of Edinburgh

The Gorgeous City of Edinburgh

What is there to do at the palace? What isn’t there to do? Some prefer the Explorer Quiz, some prefer the scavenger hunt. Others prefer hands on exhibits like the one that allows you to hold a replica of the broadsword – just like the one Mel Gibson fought with in the movie Braveheart. If that is too much excitement for you, as it is me, perhaps you’d like to join me in the castle’s Redcoat cafe for some coffee and cake while overlooking the amazing city views.

Whatever your pleasures may be… Edinburgh offers amazing opportunity. Whether you charter a private plane to Edinburgh, Scotland or not, you’d love the experience… of course, we do recommend a private jet charter to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Airport

 Airport Information – Edinburgh
 City: Edinburgh  Country: United Kingdom
 Airport Code: EGPH  Alt Airport Code: N/A
 Latitude: 55.95000000  Longitude: -3.36999989
 Runway Length: 8,400 ft  Runway Elevation: 135 ft
 GMT Offset: 0


All too frequently we associated San Diego with the beach, great sporting events, and awesome downtown entertainment and forget that they are also blessed with the beautiful Laguna Mountains!

San Diego Sunset Trail

San Diego Sunset Trail

Did you know that “The Golden State” was made the official state nickname for California in 1968? You probably do! California can be traced as having been where gold was discovered in 1848 and is often also associates with our golden poppies. But did you know that San Diego county is home of one of the original gold mines? Yes it is! Right in the city of Julian; where you can explore a guided adventure with Eagle Mining Company that will take you deeo into the mine tunnels to experience them from the viewpoint of the original miners of the 1870s. Wouldn’t it be fun to learn to pan for gold with the kids? Follow that up with a slice of Julian’s famous apple pie from Mom’s Pies and you’ll be in golden apple heaven!

Charter flights to San Diego

San Diego Private Jets

Mom’s Pies
2119 Main Street
Julian, CA 92036
(760) 765-2472
Mom's Apple Caramel Crumb Pie

Mom’s Apple Caramel Crumb Pie

San Diego couples together the best of city life with the historical mountains in the most beautiful scenery imaginable. A splendid place to visit!

Dusk settles on downtown San Diego with snow-covered Mt. Laguna in the distance

Dusk settles on downtown San Diego with snow-covered Mt. Laguna in the distance

Don’t miss the final segment in our San Diego feature tomorrow that highlights the pleasantly overwhelming fun, food and festivities just waiting for you in downtown San Diego!


Exquisite Air Charter is available to arrange a private jet to/from and destination worldwide. Contact us to day to learn more at (888) EAC-JETS or email us.

Worldwide airport destinations can be explored here.


If you are still interested in learning more, there are a couple of great website with local information that can also be explored.

Link to Old Town Website for additional information here

Link to Chamber of Commerce Travel Page here

Whether you go for the famous splendor of SeaWorld, unparalleled joy of LegoLand, the historical gaslamp district, or all of the above, San Diego is probably the most underrated tourist city around!

san diego gaslamp district

San Diego Gaslamp District

Our previous post in this series, San Diego – A great place to visit!, highlighted the Hotel del Coronado and briefly mentioned gondola rides and the gas lamp district but let’s dig deeper into the amazing offerings of downtown San Diego. 

The Gondola Company

The Gondola Company affords you the ability to mentally be in Venice, Italy while still physically in San Diego California on a 50 minute cruise that accommodates up to six passengers. Bring along a nice bottle of wine or some champagne and they provide the bucket of ice, glasses, and the wine opener.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

How can we be an aviation company and not share this one? If you’ve never taken the time to explore aviation history, I promise it is remarkable and inspiring beyond what you may imagine! As founder & CEO of Exquisite Air Charter, and being a lady, I have come to realize that as little girls we don’t tend to play with as many cars and planes as our male associates. The result is less adult interest in aviation. I wish I could share with every little girl the inspiration I found in aviation. Perhaps a museum such as this is a good place to start; let’s teach our children that they can fly! Let’s teach our children that they are capable of the unimaginable. You’d be surprised how much of these lessons exist in aviation; I invite you and your children to explore aviation history and to become inspired in all facets of your life – it was through the is how I fell in love with aviation and I am sure you will find it rewarding as well!

Balboa Island

Balboa Island in itself is amazing but then… the additional activities are endless; from parasailing to water sports, to fishing, and tours – there are endless activities. One thing, in particular, that draws huge crowds at this time of year is the annual Balboa/Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and the holiday light cruises; simply stunning! Did I mention it is so inexpensive? This year, a 90 minute cruise for the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is just $25 per person!

balboa newport christmas boat parade

Balboa Newport Christmas Boat Parade

Nearby Airports:
San Diego International – Lindbergh Field
San Diego – Montgomrey Field
San Diego – Gillespie Field
San Diego – Brown Field Municipal


Whether you are a local Southern California who wants to drive up for the weekend or a non-native looking for a great place to visit (with or without the kids) – San Diego is a great choice! The countless experiences that exist in the San Diego is just the icing on the cake to the beautiful scenery and gorgeous year ’round weather. San Diego is uniquely located between the Anza-Borrego Desert, the Pacific Ocean, and the Laguna Mountains; affording you the best of all worlds in one destination!

Scenic San Diego

Scenic San Diego

San Diego Ocean

Imagine… 70 miles of beaches! That figure suggests what many of us natives know to be true – plenty of beach for every mood: romantic, quaint, family-oriented, party, quiet meditation, and so much more! The island area of Coronado houses the famous, red-roofed, Coronado Hotel, sparkling (thanks to the mica mineral) beaches, and plenty of family-oriented and romantic activities such as kayaking, biking, gondola rides, shopping, and amazing food options.

Hotel del Coronado is a landmark that exudes grandeur and luxury and has been complimenting the beautiful beaches since 1888. Whether your visit is geared more toward the Spa Mimosa Mondays or the complimentary s’mores in the evening, the skating rink on the beach during the holidays, or… my personal favorite: the amazingly delicious Sunday brunch, there is no denying the warm and inviting aura provided by such an amazing landmark hotel. With that being said, don’t underestimate Hotel del Coronado‘s competition! Whether it is the casual splendor of Paradise Point or the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley that is so conveniently located just a little more than a mile from Qualcomm stadium.
I think I had the best chipotle chicken sandwich I have ever tasted delivered to my room at Paradise Point followed by walking out my rear French Doors to feed the birds before putting my feet in the beach water right outside my bungaloo in the bay that almost seemed like my own private beach. Did I mention the fire pits and lawn chairs on my back patio (on the beach). While Paradise point isn’t as fancy as the Hotel del Coronado, it is definitely a force to be reckoned with and I, personally, can’t wait until my next visit!

Check back tomorrow for my section on San Diego Mountains; followed by a post dedicated to downtown San Diego.

San Diego Airports

 Airport Information – Gillespie Field
 City: San Diego  State: California (CA)
 Airport Code: SEE  Alt Airport Code: KSEE
 Latitude: 32.82000000  Longitude: -116.97000122
 Runway Length: 5,341 ft  Runway Elevation: 387 ft
 Time Zone: Pacific  GMT Offset: -8
 Airport Information – Montgomery Field
 City: San Diego  State: California (CA)
 Airport Code: MYF  Alt Airport Code: KMYF
 Latitude: 32.81000000  Longitude: -117.12999725
 Runway Length: 4,577 ft  Runway Elevation: 427 ft
 Time Zone: Pacific  GMT Offset: -8
Airport Information – San Diego International Lindbergh Field
 City: San Diego  State: California (CA)
 Airport Code: SAN  Alt Airport Code: KSAN
 Latitude: 32.73000000  Longitude: -117.18000031
 Runway Length: 9,400 ft  Runway Elevation: 14 ft
 Time Zone: Pacific  GMT Offset: -8
Airport Information – Brown Field Municipal
 City: San Diego  State: California (CA)
 Airport Code: SDM  Alt Airport Code: KSDM
 Latitude: 32.57000000  Longitude: -116.98000336
 Runway Length: 7,999 ft  Runway Elevation: 526 ft
 Time Zone: Pacific  GMT Offset: -8