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How are charters different?

There are a few ways that charters are different. The most important is how you are protected. When you fly a charter(again in this case, Homeric), you will sign a contract which is two pages long and covers a lot of territory. I read the contract and realized that there were clauses that, if used, would not make me very happy.

One of the biggest problems that I saw was that they could raise the fares even after you purchased the ticket(called a surcharge) to cover added expenses they've incurred(usually fuel).

Cancellation- If written notice of cancellation is received by "HTI" for charter your cancellation charges per person
Will be: up to 30 days or more before departure, $50 penalty; from 29 days to 15 days before departure, $150 penalty; 14 to 3 days before departure, $250 penalty: 2 days or less before departure, 100% of charges.

The other large problem is that they are not responsible for delayed or late flights. If the flight is delayed or cancelled then you are own your own. You'll buy your own food, pay your own transport out of the airport and back in, pay for your own hotel. These are all costs that are usually taken up by the commercial airline(Air France, Lufthansa, Olympic, Delta etc...) in what the call "protection". By law, the commerical airline must take care of it's passengers if there is a delay. There is no such protection required on charter flights.

The plane itself can be different also. The charter flights I've taken always seemed to have much less leg room than I remember on commercial flights....and that is because there is! Charter companies often put the seats closer together to squeeze in more passengers. Remember...each seat is worth $300-600 per flight. If it were you, how many extra seats would you try to squeeze in?

And finally....delays. Imagine, one plane flying back and forth to Greece(we're using Homeric still). It is scheduled to arrive in Athens at 8am and depart at 10:30am. That's two hours to turn around. The smallest problem could easily cause a delay and since they don't have their own mechanics, they will have to wait for one to become available.

Included n the delays....check in. I flew on a 747 that held 500 people. Working the checkout counters were 4 people. I believe we waited in line for over 3 hours!

Takeoff delays? If traffic is air traffic is backed up, guess who is last on the priority list to take off(and land).

Final Decision- should I fly by charter?



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