Positive Altitude
Premium air service perfect for regional business travelers

By Steve Smede

We've all been there -- that mind-numbing, time-wasting way station between where you started from and where you're headed to.

It's better known as the proverbial layover.

Depending on the flight, such geographic tangents can lull you into endless hours of restless boredom or force you into a sprint just to make the next leg. Now add to that the uncertainties of baggage lines, boarding zones, security mazes, cabin congestion and cramped seating. It's a recipe for misery, especially if you happen to be a serious business traveler.

For good reason, private air services are gaining in popularity for discerning clients from various professions and backgrounds. Chief among them in our neck of the woods is AvCenter, Inc.

Since 1979, this premium air charter company has made a name for itself in providing a specialized service primarily focused in eastern Idaho, western Wyoming and southwestern Montana. (AvCenter facilities can be found in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Nampa, whereas the market area itself spans across the continental U.S., Canada and Alaska.)

"Commercial airlines fly to a dozen or so major hubs in the country, and through some smaller airports like Idaho Falls and Pocatello to connect to those major hubs," explains Melvin Wagoner, AvCenter's Dir. of Operations. "Air charter, on the other hand, brings the whole airport system into play from departure point to destination. What that means for our clients is that you can fly from Idaho Falls to Duluth, Minn., or to Moline, Ill., in one leg. On a commercial airline, you could spend an entire day over that route."

Flying privately gives a lot more convenience and flexibility in your schedule, he adds. "The airplane won't leave without you. If your meetings run long, or the game runs into overtime, you won't have to worry about meeting a commercial schedule."

Avoiding layover nightmares is actually just the beginning of the charter advantage at AvCenter, which runs a fleet of executive-class charter planes featuring a pair of B200 King Airs, a Citation Ultra-executive jet and a Gulfstream Turbo Commander 690 B.

Wagoner stresses that the main goal is providing a high-level service on a really nice aircraft. "And we have a strong sense of urgency in that service," he says. "One of the primary values in using a service like ours is the time savings that flying privately adds to your life. We sell that savings just as much as we do the airplane ride."

AvCenter employs a team of 50 aviation professionals including pilots, marketing and sales professionals, a team of 11 mechanics, numerous line service technicians and a variety of office staff.

"Every one of us is a key component. It takes a whole team to make this service possible," Wagoner says. "What we do is incredibly complex, but we are also taxed with making it look simple and straightforward to our customers."

For the service's higher-profile clientele, another great advantage of flying privately is the discretion it allows. "We've flown supreme court justices and cabinet-level officials, and we're one of the few services certified by the Dept. of Energy to fly their people," Wagoner said.

Whether you're a rock star, tech titan, DOE scientist or repeat business-class customer, scheduling through this service is a snap.

"We answer the phone 24/7, and generally we can launch within an hour's notice," Wagoner says. "Our scheduling people can make arrangements for your rental car, hotel or in-flight catering. It's all part of the private-flying experience. Conceivably, you can pick up your phone at 10 in the morning, be in the air by 11 and you can have lunch in Seattle. It's very, very easy."

According to AvCenter's Marketing and Sales Manager, Wendy Harris, what really separates the premium charter experience from conventional air travel is the customized care that the passenger can expect.

"We take the time to make sure we have a pilot available to help them out, whether it's staying an extra day with them, or whatever they may need in their travels," she said. "We're going to accommodate them and take care of them every step of the way."

For more information, contact AvCenter at 208-234-2141 or visit avcenter.com.

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This video highlights Avcenter, a private air charter service based out of the Intermountain West.

Shot on a Sony FS700, Canon 5D Mark III and GoPro Hero3. Interview lighting was a three-point setup with generic LEDs.

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