Private Jet Card Comparisons – Know Before You Buy

Making The Case For Jet Cards…Or Not?

82% of personal assistants find booking private aviation flights on short notice is a major challenge

 

A new survey of personal assistants by on-demand charter broker Victor revealed 82% of survey respondents found that finding flights on tight turnarounds is a major challenge they face when coordinating private jet travel. To me, at first reading, the findings weren’t surprising:  booking on-demand charters require vetting both jets, operators, and prices each trip, handling payments, which can be complicated in some companies, and often submitting passenger information, catering and so forth. It also means in the event of disruptions, you are at the mercy of your broker to figure out replacements and minimize extra expense. 

 

There are some excellent brokers, but private jet charter not being regulated, there is no test or qualification so there are highly incompetent ones as well. I like to say jet cards are the closest thing to the fractional or full ownership experience without the long-term commitment and expenses. Most card programs have detailed service recovery policies – so you know where you stand. You can get programs to fulfill whatever your needs are – whether its guaranteed availability, rates, specific aircraft types, WiFi, roundtrip discounts and so forth. Some card programs cover de-icing, something that can range in the thousands of dollars per time, so if you do a lot of winter flying, the right jet card program can mitigate significant potential extra costs you will run into with charter.

 

The surprise when I read through the study was that it came from an on-demand broker because as I read the results, they seemed to support the benefits of jet cards more than on-demand charter, so I was happy that Victor CEO Clive Jackson took the time to add his perspective to my interpretations.

 

Findings from the survey can be found below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always tell subscribers who contact me buying a jet card doesn’t mean on-demand charter won’t be better for certain missions. My recommendation is to lay out your expected travel plans as thoroughly as possible. That will enable you to find the jet card programs that best fit your needs, but even then the nature of missions can vary so widely – one week a trip to Paris, Texas, the next week to Paris, France, don’t expect a single jet card to be the right solution for 100% of your flying. At the same time, once you’ve created that framework for your travel, jet cards are a better solution in most cases than just playing the charter market on a trip by trip basis.

 

Why would Victor publish a survey that supports a product they currently aren’t selling?

 

My guess is that it was meant as one of those typical PR initiatives using some interesting research – which it was – to get its name out there.

 

With appreciation for Clive’s time, what’s my final judgment on the survey?

 

I do think the survey underscores why the market of jet card providers has more than doubled in the past decade:  Cards are the closest thing you cant get to full or fractional ownership experience for regular private aviation fliers. On-demand charter will always be better for certain trips and is probably the right way to go for those folks flying a couple times a year. And by the way, as previously reported, Victor will be launching a jet card type product in the U.S in 2018.