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Thread: Air Charters charging per person vs. flat rate?

  1. #1
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Default Air Charters charging per person vs. flat rate?

    I'm trying to figure out the justification of charging hunters per person on fly-out hunts. I can understand if by taking more hunters that it means more trips.

    However, if in our case, my partner and I flew to our destination last year for a given rate of $2300 a person for a total of $4600. The price was never given to me as a per/person rate, only the total cost. It's a long flight and for the cost, although expensive, I feel it's reasonable.

    This year, however, I wanted to take my wife along so there'd be three of us. After talking with the booking guy, who I've dealt with for the last two years, we agreed that there would be no extra flights and we'd be restricted to the same weight requirements. So we are getting the same flight as last year with the same weight restrictions, in and out. He said the price would be the same as last year. Yet, when I receive the invoice, it says $6900!

    To me, that's just a bit over the top. Other than them being able to do it just cause "they can", what justification do they have to charge that much more for another person, when everything else stays the same? I can see paying a little extra to cover liability maybe but $2300 extra?

    I called to talk to him about it and get an explanation or help me understand their reasoning but it's been two weeks and no call back. Other phone calls having to do with bookings were promptly returned. I'm going to call again in the next day or so.

    Now I don't claim to know everything there is to know about air charters or their inner workings. But this whole thing just seems strange and both my partner and I can't help but feel like we're being taken advantage of.

    What say you?

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    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    every charter flight I've used, price/cost was based on weight and distance. More weight = more cost. Further distance = more flight time = more cost.

    This has been true for one, two and six people hunt.
    Though one carrier wanted only two passengers per flight with heavier loads. (1100 lb max on the widgeon)

    If your carrier raised prices, check if due to fuel cost. if not.... maybe it's time to find another service.


    Chris

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I did notice this year that they (transporter) was doubling up on the runs - ie. bringing people in and dropping in the same spot. This effectively cuts down their overhead costs by 25%. They come in full and leave full - no empty flight time. Good for the transporters bottom line - perhaps not so good for the folks coming in as followup to the same camp. There are other reasons that make sense for them to do this - weather was pretty bad and hunters both at the strip and out at camp were stacking up.

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Agree with Chris, The chartered flights I have taken were all based on mileage (flight time) and weight limitations. If we kept it under the allotted weight limit we could take anywhere from 1-6 people on the flight and the price was the same.

    I know I would be looking for another option.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


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    Per person sounds like a glacier tour....not a charter. I'm with the rest on this. My experience is that you get up to a certain weight, (no deals for going light, but can't go over) and pay by the hour. You pay for there and back each way, the backhaul is just good planning by the flight service and again you get no deals if they do this. Something sounds very fishy.

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    The problem is that there really aren't many other options. They are a good service and have treated us good in the past but I can't help but feel a bit miffed about paying that much more when it costs them nothing extra to perform the same task.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I did notice this year that they (transporter) was doubling up on the runs - ie. bringing people in and dropping in the same spot. This effectively cuts down their overhead costs by 25%. They come in full and leave full - no empty flight time. Good for the transporters bottom line - perhaps not so good for the folks coming in as followup to the same camp. There are other reasons that make sense for them to do this - weather was pretty bad and hunters both at the strip and out at camp were stacking up.
    Perhaps like NAC...there should be a 'back haul' rate applied.
    Alaska Outdoors Television ~ Outdoor Channel

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    Who picked the destiation.. i have used charters before based on the plane per hour...no per person

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    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    some charter companies will do deals if another party is on the back haul. This was with Harvey Air out of Kodiak. Made my day to get a price cut due to him picking up another party/fare on the return.

    Most do not do this however.

    One company charged me going in and out each trip, then pick-up another hunter and charged him same fee.

    Hunter turned out to be a customer of ours, and brought photos in for our wall of fame.

    Neither one of us complained about the fare either- company was fair and up front with both of us.


    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    This year, however, I wanted to take my wife along so there'd be three of us. After talking with the booking guy, who I've dealt with for the last two years, we agreed that there would be no extra flights and we'd be restricted to the same weight requirements. So we are getting the same flight as last year with the same weight restrictions, in and out. He said the price would be the same as last year. Yet, when I receive the invoice, it says $6900!
    Why not just deal with it? as in

    If you have a copy of the previous years invoice, then look through it to see if it was a per person price. If not, then circle the total at the bottom and indicate that you understood the price would be the same as last year.

    If you don't have a copy of the previous years invoice, then "write them a check for the $4600 with a response that 1) you asked them but they have not replied, 2) reports your understanding that the agreed upon price was the same as the previous year. If they have any questions, then call you at ......" and see where that goes.

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    I feel your pain. For years all my hunting charters were quoted as a flat fee for the flight with a maximum weight. How many people and how much gear I put in the plane was up to me. For the last 5 years I have not had any luck finding charter services still willing to operate that way. They all want to charge per person. Prices are crazy and I am not happy about the changes but I guess it is their business and they can charge me what they want to. I like the trips so much I guess I will keep writing the checks....

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    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    I think its up to a business to charge what they want. Its your job not to use the service if you don't like the price or service. My .02.

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-HUNT View Post
    I think its up to a business to charge what they want. Its your job not to use the service if you don't like the price or service. My .02.
    You're right, and that's what it may come down to. It is their right to charge whatever they want but it doesn't make it right. One way or the other, I won't be paying that extra money to them and I'm sure I'll be on the losing end.

    All I wanted to hear from you guys was a possible reason that so many outfits are now charging per/person rather than per hour or flat rate to a chosen destination. At least a reason other than "cause they can". If that's all it is than that's unfortunate.

  14. #14
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Maybe your "subsidizing" the little guy. That's what this country is all about any more anyway. Solo hunters couldn't afford the real charter rate, but if the transporter makes it up with larger groups, then he can let the small guy go for a better price!!!!!!!!!
    Depending on the size of the plane, more people may mean more trips. Especially if the group is trying to fill a tag for each person.
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    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Sorry, wasn't trying to be mean but nobody wants someone telling us how to bill no matter what our business.

    The "by the person" is definitely used but maybe not as common as hourly rate. Just depends on how they want to bill. Done both. I'd have a problem with getting charged for my wife if I already chartered the plane too......but did you charter the plane or buy a seat? (that should be hammered out before flight though)

    Maybe they will work with you. I would try to make contact again and see if you can agree on something. That will be the easiest in the long run for everyone, no?

    Good luck.

  16. #16
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    That's ok... The plane is chartered so it's our plane from the way I understand it. It's a Helio so not much room to stick anyone else on. I plan on calling again since my original call wasn't returned, just wanted to give ample time to make a return call.

    Anyway, just wanted to see what others thoughts were on the matter and perhaps an insight on why some charters charge this way while others charge a flat rate and the more hunters, the less it is per person. Which is what we thought we were doing. I must have misunderstood somewhere along the line.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Always pays to have ANY contract in writing.

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    The charter I always use did the per person thing when I first started using them. Since the Mulchatna herd went downhill, they have switched to the hourly rate with a max weight. When I first started in 98, most of the hunting charters I found around anchorage and down in Kenai/Soldotna were all quoting the per person rate. First time I got the per hour rate was using Wright's Air up in Fairbanks in 2001.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are getting the same per-person deal that you got last year which I assume is what the charter assumed you were asking for. 2 @ 2300=4600 and 3 at the same would be 6900.

    I talked to my charter when I flew to the brooks and basically with the flat rate they haul out what you kill and there is no hidden charge on that end. As a guy that likes to chase around sheep I don't need much consideration toward weight for the return trip (especially with my luck) but for folks taking off after moose and bou with 3 people it probably helps to know that they are paid in full and they aren't going to have to budget for an additional haul when the plane shows up and says "sorry, you have to much and it will cost you an extra $1000 to get it out".

  20. #20
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Ya that's exactly right Lujon. Talked with them this morning and basically their reason of doing it that way is to keep it even across the board. It's their way of allowing flexibility to those that may end up needing extra flights for meat pickups or whatever. I just said I mis-understood from the beginning and it was my fault for doing so. I said that it'd just be my partner and I cause I couldn't afford for both my wife and I to go this year. They said that was fine and was no problem.

    I understood their reasoning, basically it's just to keep things simple and to allow for flexibility and in doing so, if you need an extra flight for gear or meat then it's allowed at no extra fee. So there it is.

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