Network for charter flights: Alternative for travelers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Some airline passengers, fed up with the fees, the lost bags, and waiting on the tarmac are turning to, a website where they connect with other travelers going the same place, and book flights on private charter planes instead.

"Social Flights is an innovation in technology that enables consumers to buy seats on private jets, flying everywhere, any day, and any day of the year," said Jay Deragon with Social Flights.

Charter flying is more luxurious, more comfortable. There are security checks, but you can arrive 15 minutes before your flight. We asked charter company Martin Air to show us what it's like.

"You can leave when you want to leave. If there's weather moving into the area, we can call you on your cell phone and say you really ought to leave an hour early on your trip so we don't get delayed by this weather," said Alec Kempe with Martin Air.

So if you're going to another city for business, to a popular vacation spot, or to a big football game, you may find fellow travelers in your city on social flights. President Jay Deragon says they have the highest safety standards.

"We only deal with platinum carriers who have the highest rating by FAA and ARGUS in terms of pilot training, safety records, maintenance records on the aircraft," said Deragon.

But there is the cost. Most charter flights cost thousands. Deragon says you can save money on larger charters if the cost is divided among, say, 30 people.

"Right now we can do a round trip from Nashville for instance to Destin, Florida for under $400, for 30 people on an aircraft," he added.

But on smaller charters carrying only a handful of people, expect to pay what you would for first class, about a grand. Perhaps worth it for those who can't afford to wait for an airline flight, or for a lost bag.

"It's like having your own car really, except you've got somebody to drive it for you," Kempe said.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved