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Gillbilly
Topic Author
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:46 pm

Flying Chartered Aircraft

Mon Jul 26, 2021 1:15 am

This is a very open ended, vague question, but I'd like to know more about the passenger experience on chartered aircraft, like Delta's 752's subfleet, Atlas and Swift Air.

Is there assigned seating? Do they still do the same safety briefing or show the same video? There's usually no security check, right? If it's not single class seating (a United/AA/AC charter maybe?) who gets the better seats?

On Delta's subfleet, do they have PTVs? Does Delta give out Biscoff cookies still? Can any Delta pilot of FA attempt to work one of these flights?

Thanks in advance, sorry for being so scatter-brained.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 8078
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Flying Chartered Aircraft

Mon Jul 26, 2021 2:14 am

Any pilot or F/A with the seniority to hold the charter flying and qualified on type can fly it. I’d guess fairly senior. Who sits where is up to the customer. Yes, safety briefs are still done. Security, at a pax terminal is still done. If at a private FBO, off the commercial side, not so much.
 
e38
Posts: 879
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

Re: Flying Chartered Aircraft

Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:24 pm

Gillbilly wrote:
Is there assigned seating? If it's not single class seating who gets the better seats?
Do they still do the same safety briefing or show the same video?
There's usually no security check, right?
Does Delta give out Biscoff cookies still? Can any Delta pilot of FA attempt to work one of these flights?


Gillbilly, everything GalaxyFlyer mentioned above.

Just a few additions, with the disclaimer that my experience with charters is limited to: 1) major U.S. air carrier; 2) charters involving NBA and NHL teams.

Our charter aircraft are divided into two cabins: the forward cabin has about twenty seats. On the left side of the aircraft are two tables and at each table there are two forward facing seats and two aft facing seats on each side of the table. Across the aisle are four individual "first class / business class" style seats.

In the aft cabin are the remaining seats--30 or so--all first class/business class type of seats. There is also a table near the back of the aircraft with forward and aft facing seats (the players occasionally like to play cards) and there is also a table in the center of the rear cabin where food is set out . . . more on that later.

With regard to your question, "who gets the better seats?" HaHa . . . the owner and the coaches, of course! There is no assigned seating, but the players are aware that the forward and aft facing seats with the tables in the forward cabin, as well as the few individual seats in the forward cabin are for the owner, the coaches, and team management personnel. The players take the seats in the aft cabin--still very nice seats, roomy, and comfortable.

"Do they still do the same safety briefing or show the same video?" Like GalaxyFlyer mentioned, yes, that is mandated by the FAA. But, we do not make any other announcements--they don't care about flying time, weather, or how the ride is going to be. From the flight deck, the only PAs we make are "Flight Attendants prepare for departure/arrival" as appropriate or a seat belt advisory if it gets turbulent.

"Does Delta give out Biscoff cookies still?" Well, all the catering is ordered and set up by the customer--in this case the NBA or NHL team chartering the aircraft. It varies greatly, depending on time of day and length of the flight, but just as an example I have seen main course dishes--hot entrees--such as beef tenderloin with potatoes and broccoli, or chicken with rice and mixed vegetables. In one instance the owner always wanted hamburgers after the game and so that was provisioned as well. Also, since some players won't want a full meal, they will also cater peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, chips, fruit (usually apples and bananas), vegetable trays, granola bars, energy bars, sodas, coffee, tea, water, sports drinks, etc. Most of the hot items are delivered to the aircraft in aluminum pans that can be easily heated and the catering folks also provided high quality disposable plates to make clean-up easier. In general, the flight attendants serve the owner and staff up front and set out the other items on tables in the aft cabin during the flight so the players can help themselves to as much as they want.
From what I have experienced, the amount of food catered on NBA and NHL charters is ENORMOUS!

GalaxyFlyer, reference your comment, "I’d guess fairly senior."

You would think that would be the case, but not necessarily so. Personally, I generally peruse the bid package for charter trips and bid for them because I think they add a certain amount of variety to an otherwise routine month. However, I know there are quite a few pilots--some senior--who intentionally avoid them because they don't like some of the "back-of-the-clock" flying. Not all the flights are late night, of course, but a typical charter segment might be to take an NBA team after the game from Dallas to New Orleans from say 2300 - 0030, then ferry the aircraft empty up to Newark 0130 - 0530 for the aircraft's next charter assignment.

Because the sports charters are high value trips for the company, in addition to the pilots and flight attendants, we always carry a "charter coordinator" with us. The pilots and FAs may change over every couple of flights but the coordinator stays with the team for the duration of the trip and simply makes sure everything goes according to schedule and troubleshoots any problems. Also, if any destination is "off-line" (Pontiac, Michigan--KPTK--for example), the company may put a mechanic aboard as well.

I think charter operations are enjoyable. During a regular month where just about everything is a "scheduled" operation, charter ops add something "different" and "interesting."

e38
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 8078
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Flying Chartered Aircraft

Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:34 pm

E38,

Yeah, that schedule might well not be very senior.
 
Gillbilly
Topic Author
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:46 pm

Re: Flying Chartered Aircraft

Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:06 pm

e38 wrote:
Gillbilly wrote:
Is there assigned seating? If it's not single class seating who gets the better seats?
Do they still do the same safety briefing or show the same video?
There's usually no security check, right?
Does Delta give out Biscoff cookies still? Can any Delta pilot of FA attempt to work one of these flights?


e38


Great reply, thanks for typing that up.
 
Yflyer
Posts: 1767
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:05 am

Re: Flying Chartered Aircraft

Tue Jul 27, 2021 5:09 pm

I traveled to Cuba back when all flights between the US and Cuba were officially charters and Americans had to travel as part of an organized "educational" tour. MIA-HAV was operated by Sun Country, and the return flight by Xtra Airways. As I recall it didn't feel all that different from a normal scheduled flight. We still checked in at a ticket counter, checked bags, got a boarding pass, went through security, and boarded from a normal gate. I'm pretty sure we had assigned seats. In flight service was something like a soft drink and a bag of chips, which was more than adequate for such a short flight. When we returned we went through customs and immigration the same as everyone else arriving on international flights. The only thing that was unusual was that we had paper tickets, but I think that was because of the lack of infrastructure in Cuba for processing e-tickets issued in the US rather than anything to do with it being a charter flight. This, I will grant you, was a "scheduled charter"; I imagine it's different with flights chartered by a specific group.

The other charter flight I've flown was in Tanzania, from Arusha to Zanzibar. That flight was actually chartered by the tour company, specifically for our tour group. Even then we got boarding passes and had to go through security. The were handwritten boarding passes though, so that was kind of cool. The plane was a Cessna 208, so of course no flight attendants and no in flight service to speak of. On that flight everyone could sit wherever they wanted. I don't recall getting a safety briefing on that flight; I don't recall the pilot actually speaking at all in fact. I suppose Tanzanian regulations are a little different (although I don't actually know if a flight on a Cessna 208 would require a safety briefing in the US either).

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