Why use a charter broker?
Are you crunched for time or worried about all the trip details? Then you might consider working with a charter broker. The broker represents your interests and deals directly with operators and other trip service providers. What can a good broker bring to your charter trip? The short answer is quite a bit.
The longer answer includes issues like competitive rates, contingency planning, organizing all the logistics of a trip, and how to get the customer to their destination in the wee hours of the morning if the weather won’t permit the flight. While operators are strongly inclined to use the aircraft in their own fleet, it can be strongly argued that a broker is more inclined to look for the right tool for the job, meaning the correct aircraft for your trip.
How do you pick a good charter operator in the first place? Some are a whole lot safer and better equipped than the airlines. Some are not. An experienced broker knows how to find the answer to this question. A diligent broker will take the time to call the FAA to check on any violation history, and the nature and severity of anything discovered. This is very definitely “value added.”
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. In addition, the broker will usually review the operator’s flight manifests for FBOs, mileage enroute, 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 quickest and at the least expense.
In short, the broker is representing your interests. Use them as such! Work with them. Ask them questions. Insist on answers. Help them plan all the details of your trip (not just the airplane part). This is what they’re best at — service.