Plane logic Featured

8:49am EDT March 31, 2003

After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Michael Grossmann fielded many panicked calls from veteran business travelers who were now too frightened to step foot on a commercial airplane. But Grossmann, a gregarious man with a calm voice and handlebar moustache, isn't a counselor or a therapist, he's a pilot: a charter airline pilot.

"There's no question that there was a skyrocketing in terms of calls and business," Grossmann says. "But it took a lot of education of the customer. Many of them thought they were buying a ticket. When you charter, you don't buy a ticket, you buy a plane. It's yours for however long you need it."

Grossmann's charter flight company, Castle Aviation, located in the Akron-Canton Regional Airport, is just one of many in Northeast Ohio and nationwide that have picked up extra passenger flights since the disaster. But Grossmann's most common passenger is cargo. Packages from FedEx Custom Critical, metal parts from Kennametal's plant in Cleveland, or a gorilla from the Toledo Zoo are the most common types of passengers on Castle Aviation flights.

Some business owners scoff at the idea of chartering a plane for a business trip as too extravagant. But the time and stress saved might be worth the extra expense, which turns out to be not much. Here are the benefits to chartering a business flight.

Money

An average charter flight (less than 500 miles each way) carries a price tag of about $1,200, but that's for the whole plane. Castle's passenger planes hold three, five and nine people, which could spread the cost out depending on the number of travelers. It turns out to be not much more than a commercial flight.

Time

How much is your and your employees' time worth? You don't have to show up to charter flights two hours in advance for a security check. You can board immediately. You can park your car mere feet away from Castle Aviation's doorway. Think about how much time you're spending just getting to your plane at a major airport.

Convenience

No lines, no waiting, no stuffing your luggage into a tiny overhead bin. If there's a smaller airport closer to your meeting or conference, charter flights can usually land there.

"Chicago has dozen airports in the major metropolitan area," Grossmann says. "Why not land at the closest one?"

How to reach: Castle Aviation, (330) 498-9333

Castle Aviation