In the Cabin with...
Carissa Kleinsmith: Private Jets US Account Manager
For 60 years, our team of aviation professionals has gone above and beyond to create personalized charter experiences. Whether you are traveling for business or leisure, our expert Private Jets team is available 24/7 to assist with all your charter requirements.
We are thrilled to interview Carissa Kleinsmith, who is an Account Manager for Private Jets US. With over seven years of experience in the aviation industry, Carissa takes us through her role at Air Partner and shares some valuable insights she has gained from her journey. During our conversation, we discussed Carissa's time at Air Partner, what inspired her to embark on a career in aviation, and some essential tips for those who are planning to charter a private flight for the first time.
Can you tell us about your role at Air Partner?At Air Partner, my role as an Account Manager is to provide our clients with memorable experiences, whether it be corporate trips, vacations, or special occasions, while providing the highest quality and safest aircraft and operators globally.
What key industries do you serve?Air Partner caters to a broad spectrum of industries, including a clientele that spans corporations, high net-worth individuals, celebrities, sports teams, government officials, emergency response entities, and humanitarian aid organizations. Our comprehensive suite of services encompasses everything from Private Jets to large Group Charter, to Cargo.
How long have you worked in private aviation?I have been working in the private aviation industry for 7 years and joined the Air Partner Private Jets team as an Account Manager in March 2022.
Why did you choose a career in aviation?From a young age, I have always loved and been fascinated by airplanes. Whether it be flying an airplane myself, managing them, or connecting clients to their destinations around the globe, there has never been a dull moment. Choosing a career in aviation has provided me with various career paths, giving me a unique blend of excitement, challenges, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. It is fulfilling to know that my work has a meaningful and positive impact on our clients.
What is your favorite aircraft and why?Selecting a preferred aircraft presents a challenge, as my admiration extends to multiple models for diverse reasons. If I had to choose, my personal favorites would be the Gulfstream G-IVSP and Gulfstream G-V. These selections are grounded in their remarkable performance metrics, long-range capabilities, high cruising speeds, state-of-the-art avionics systems, comprehensive global support infrastructure, capacious luggage capacities, and luxurious interiors.
Furthermore, Gulfstream's unwavering commitment to safety, underscored by a robust safety record and the consistent incorporation of cutting-edge safety features and technologies in their aircraft, further enhances my esteem for these models.
What do you enjoy most about working in aircraft charter?Delivering tailored solutions to meet our clients' travel objectives and guiding them through a variety of distinctive experiences is a source of immense fulfillment. Each client is unique, bringing their own set of travel needs and preferences to every charter. Building and maintaining these relationships while facilitating private air travel for individuals and groups is truly gratifying.
What is the real strength of Air Partner?
Ensuring that we operate as a high-quality team and deliver, both safe aircraft and vetted operators to our clients. Our team not only offers support to each other but also has the capacity to accept support from each other. We not only understand and collaborate on determining the most suitable aircraft for our client’s needs, but also collectively assess external factors that can impact a trip. This quality, expertise, and teamwork at Air Partner is a big part of what sets Air Partner apart from its competitors, and is by far one of the best teams I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
During your time spent working in aviation, what changes have you seen within Air Partner?
During my time at Air Partner, I have seen our company grow and continue to flourish as not only a company but as a family. Our team has experienced a dynamic work environment that has added more team members to our mix and the clientele we serve.
What is your philosophy for delivering exceptional service for your customers? Attention to detail. Paying attention to the small details has a compounding effect, which can mean the difference between a successful and enjoyable charter and disappointment.
Precision and accuracy are of the highest importance in a fast-paced industry such as air charter. From communicating to our clients thoroughly detailed aircraft options to ensuring all trip documentation is in order, I strive to pass on the importance of not only being able to communicate quickly and concisely with our clients and operators but also ensuring we are taking note of our client’s requests and needs.
Tell us about your first charter.
My inaugural charter with Air Partner encompassed facilitating a round trip from San Francisco to Spain and back. This trip occurred back in early 2022 when there was a global resurgence of international travel and still many persisting COVID-19 travel restrictions in place. Orchestrating what may seem like a routine journey demanded meticulous planning to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for our client.
Many aspects and complexities of the charter included selecting the most suitable and safest aircraft and operator, ensuring all international paperwork was in order, coordinating slots and flight permits with the operator, managing logistics such as catering and ground transfers, and other intricacies we helped navigate our client through. Through teamwork and collaboration, my first charter at Air Partner was a successful, enjoyable, and seamless experience for our clients that exceeded their expectations.
This charter exemplifies the high standards we uphold at Air Partner. We endeavor to deliver the same level of concerted efforts and exemplary service in every charter, irrespective of the challenges presented, to every client we serve.
What is your most memorable/and or challenging charter moment to date?
One of the most memorable moments to date included a pop-up for a trip the next day where a client was looking to fly an elderly family member who had many health complications. We were able to present the client with quality options that suited their needs, one of which they moved forward with. Upon booking, the operator informed us that they would be upgrading the midsize jet to a heavy jet with a cabin attendant for the same price. This charter was completed the next day seamlessly and exceeded the client’s expectations.
Speaking with the client a few months later for another charter, they mentioned the family member had unfortunately recently passed away. The client expressed that this charter was one of their family member’s most delightful and memorable experiences before they passed, mentioning how caring and wonderful the crew was, as well as the upgraded aircraft.
It was immensely gratifying to know our team, and the well-vetted operator we selected helped facilitate one of most wonderful last memories not only for their elderly family member but also for our client and their family.
What specific advice do you have for companies looking to charter aircraft?Be sure to define your travel needs and budget and select a reputable charter broker. When looking at chartering an aircraft, safety, aircraft type and quality, and operator reliability should be at the top of the list. Clearly communicate with your air charter broker any specific requirements and preferences you may have, and take time to understand the terms and conditions of the contract, such as cancellation policies, payment terms, and any potential additional fees. A good charter broker will help you navigate the complexities of chartering and ensure a seamless experience.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to charter an aircraft for the first time?Numerous factors can affect a charter, and it is crucial to take into consideration if you have all the pertinent and detailed information about the aircraft presented to determine if it aligns with your travel goals. If you’re uncertain about the distinctions among the aircraft offered, seek additional detail on the options provided. When it comes to considering chartering an aircraft, don’t hesitate to ask questions and give thought to the quality of the options that you are being offered. Some questions you might want to ask to ensure you are making informed decisions for a successful charter experience include:
- What are the dimensions and seating configuration of the cabin?
- What is the weight and luggage allowance of the aircraft?
- If operating on short runways, are there any restrictions, such as limited to dry-only runway conditions? If so, what is the alternative airport?
- Does the operator offer an in-fleet recovery option should any technical issues arise on the day of departure?
- What is the operator’s safety rating, and what are the qualifications of the crew?
Always remember that when it comes to considering a private charter, all your questions are important and valid.