What is the real impact of the private jet membership seller’s play to increase shuttle flights?
While JetSmarter didn’t respond to our original request to speak to them before we published our article earlier today about their plans to expand shuttles, we sent it to them after it was posted
on Private Jet Card Comparisons and invited them to respond if there was anything incorrect. Below is from Ronn Torossian, Chief Business Officer at JetSmarter Inc.
From reading your post, you don’t clearly understand Custom Shuttles and the difference between Shared Charter.
A CustomShuttle is like a charter, where member picks time and location, BUT ONLY pays for seats they need. NOT entire plane.
For example, you can schedule a custom shuttle between NYC and Florida for as little as $1990 on some days. When you book, your flight is guaranteed and you fly regardless if the other seats fill or not. JetSmarter takes the risk and you don’t pay a single dollar more.
This is the most innovative charter product the industry has ever seen, and I feel you are not giving it credit. Possibly because you didn’t understand the product.
What the email said is you can schedule a CustomShuttle from NY to LA for 2 people starting at $7950 on a Gulfstream IV. The flight is guaranteed at that very moment and member doesn’t need to pay a dollar more. To put this in perspective a NY to LA charter on a heavy jet one way would cost $30-$40k, and with a jet card would be well over $50k.
So I hope you will understand the substance of this product and how it is the most disruptive charter product the private jet industry has ever seen. Hope you will give it the coverage it deserves.
Separately, currently all our flights over 3 hours include a surcharge. We are just lowering the price for the Creator of the shuttle to increase frequency, reducing the load to 10 max to make it a more elite experience, so obviously the surcharge for the rest of the seats that get published will be a bit higher than the initial JetSmarter scheduled shuttles.
Just so you understand our business model, we rely on CustomShuttle creation to drive frequency and set the schedule for shuttle flights. Just look at New York to Florida in our app under shuttles and you will see that majority of all our flights are custom shuttles and it’s an example of a mature market.
This is how we want all our routes.
As you have noticed every industry veteran wants to downplay what we do as it is the most disruptive on-demand product that has ever existed for private jets. We hope you will be objective on this and help us spread the word.
Chief Business Officer
Well, we definitely were wrong in our understanding of the risk for Flight Starters. It certainly isn’t the entire aircraft. We agree that by lessening the risk it should yield more member initiated shuttles.
We did look at shuttle routes from New York to Florida as suggested. For next week there are 15 total shuttles from Teterboro, Westchester County Airport or Farmingdale to South Florida, which seems to include anything from Miami to Palm Beach. Coming back the other way there are 12 shuttles, both JetSmarter and member initiated coming north.
During the first week of September, there are nine shuttles going south and the same number going north. For the second week of September, there seven shuttles going from New York to South Florida and six coming back. Looking at the last two weeks of September, we could only find four shuttles per week in each direction, all from JetSmarter. There was no member initiated shuttles we could find.
JetSmarter doesn’t typically post its shuttles more than a month out, however, there is currently no member initiated shuttles showing for October (below).
We also checked November and December and there were no shuttles listed. We understand JetSmarter only posts its shuttles about a month ahead.
In terms of our pricing comparisons, for “Flight Finders,” buyers of seats on the shuttles, it looks like our math was correct. Can JetSmarter make a place for itself in the New York to Los Angeles market? Past efforts such as MGM Grand Air couldn’t compete against commercial airlines.
We think the JetSmarter shuttle proposition makes more sense on routes where you can’t get expedited VIP security bypass from the commercial airlines, unlike New York to Los Angeles and back. At the same time, driving from Palm Beach to Miami to catch a shuttle to Farmingdale if you are going into Manhattan takes away a lot of the convenience from private aviation, namely saving time at the airport. Of course, you still get your Instagram moment if that’s what drives you, and that’s fine with us too.