Cancelled. Diverted. Delayed. You can bid adieu to these three dismal signs the next time you decide to fly, at a (not so) small price of course. Chartering a private jet is a great option for those looking for hassle-free travel, flexibility of timing and the ultimate in comfort. The last ten years have seen a host of players emerge in the domestic aviation market, catering to the needs of jetsetters and business travelers, and we take a look at some of the best in the market.
Tata Group’s Taj Air is one of the oldest operators in the business. Set up nearly 80 years ago, the group now controls two Falcon 2000 jets, a Piaggio Avanti II and a Falcon 2000LX. It is also the only Indian company to own a state-of-the-art hangar and an exclusive passenger lounge at the Mumbai Airport. Its brand name alone makes it a favourite amongst business travellers who say the quiet, secure environment onboard the plane, ensures an ideal setting for conducting business meetings.
Run by the STIC Travel Group, Air Charters is one of the larger players in the industry. With access to over 350 aircrafts including helicopters, business jets and commercial sized carriers, the firm operates from nearly every major city in India. The company specialises in “pilgrimage packages” - ferrying large families across different religious sites all over India. Right from arranging all the items needed to carry out the religious ceremony to facilitating the aarti and darshan at the temple, the company takes care of everything.
If luxury is your priority, then Aviation India run by the Shaurya Group of Companies offers a host of swanky cars that passengers can choose from. A red carpet welcome is also on the cards, with garlands and “teeka” adding an Indian touch for its foreign clientele. On board, no demand is too big: from flying in special English tea from Harrods to ensuring the finest silverware at the table, this group takes the experience of private flights to new levels, making it harder to switch back to the life of commercial flights.
And if you thought the private jet experience was only for humans, think again. Companies like Arc One Charters (www.arc1charters.com) and Hi Flying Aviation (www.hiflyingcharters.com) offer to ferry your canine or feline friend from one city to another. With a trained animal behaviourist accompanying them, your beloved pet is pampered with treats and comfortable cushioned seating!
The Indian chartered flight experience is certainly a little tamer than international ones, where planes are custom built to house practically all kinds of luxuries. Jacuzzis, pool tables, video gaming consoles, you can find them all when flying with some of the global players. But the Indian market is catching up pretty fast, and private jet rental companies are working on upping their glamour quotient.
Most charter services charge by the hour depending on the number of passengers and the destination you wish to fly to. Prices start at about Rs 40,000 per head and rise depending on the type of aircraft and services hired.
All air charter companies facilitate bookings over phone or through the company website.
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