JetClass, JetSmarter, Surf Air and soon, possibly Wheels Up, are trying to bridge the gap between commercial airlines and full private jet charter in Europe
Another private jet like shuttle service says it is making inroads in European’s aviation market. JetClass, which is a “non-subscription” service has been offering travelers the opportunities to buy single seats on shared private jets for as little as EUR 290 since the beginning of the summer. JetClass comes from Wagas Ali and Vladislav Zenov who founded online private jet broker CharterScanner.
The new entity joins the likes of JetSmarter and Surf Air that are both trying to appeal to affluent leisure and business travelers by offering the time savings element of private jet travel, using FBOs instead of commercial airport terminals. The tradeoff for a significantly lower cost than chartering an entire plane which runs from about $3,500 to $15,000 per hour is that you fly on a published schedule and there will be other passengers in the aircraft. More players are coming. Wheels Up, the U.S. jet card membership seller, is thought to be on the verge of setting up a European operation that will likely combine elements of full charter and private shuttles.
Where does JetClass Fly?
In September, JetClass said it introduced seven additional European destinations, connecting Paris-Milan, Warsaw-Vienna, Berlin-Strasbourg, Hannover-Amsterdam, London-Chambery and others. In a press release received by Private Jet Card Comparisons, JetClass says it will add flying in the Middle East later this year and cross the pond to America in 2018.
“Not only are JetClass flights superior in comfort and quality to existing business class options, but the convenience of the service makes us an obvious choice for European passage. We are changing the way people perceive business class travel and are setting a new standard in aviation,” Wagas says.
Since its late July launch, JetClass says it has operated over 50 flights, half between Nice and Olbia, which lacks good commercial air service. JetClass says higher than expected demand has led it to increase its flight between Brussels-Zurich and London-Brussels. That said, schedules on its website seem to indicate that now means flights on two days per week.
Price covers all amenities of the flight with no additional charges, such as catering, drinks, passenger taxes, newspapers and baggage, according to its website. Further, the baggage allowance is one piece of baggage not exceeding the airline standard-size of 158 cm (height + width + depth) and 25 kgs of weight and one cabin-sized bag (40cm x 30cm x 10cm) not exceeding 10 kgs of weight. Additional baggage is subject to special arrangements to be made at least five business days in advance of the scheduled departure, a baggage surcharge may apply.
Re-bookings up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure are free of charge if the original fare is available. any Fare difference shall be at Customer’s expense and charged at the time of re-booking. Changes to an already re-booked flight are not possible, cancellations of a re-booked flight are considered a no-show. Cancellations within 72 hours are nonrefundable and cancellations between three and seven days carry a 75% penalty.
It’s not clear what type of aircraft are operating flights, but some very light jets have limited lavatory facilities. However, the tradeoff is for short flights, eliminating commercial airports can cut total travel time by half or more. Surf Air yesterday launched a free flight offer for top-tier members of European frequent flyer programs to induce trial.
Whether or not these new entrants can survive or thrive is up for debate. Despite the convenience factor, flying routes two to three times a week doesn’t provide business travelers the flexibility airlines provide with three to 10 flights per day on key routes. That said, there are plenty of examples such as Nice-Olbia or even Geneva-Milan Linate where there are no nonstop flights.