From the Editor
The third edition of Private Jet Card Comparisons, this one for 2019, is now live and available for paid subscribers. The completely updated version features more important details that you can’t get from the websites of most providers, and for the first time ever features a price comparison tool. It brings eight providers that have launched guaranteed availability, fixed-rate jet cards since the beginning of 2018, including four new to this year’s guide (We included the others when they launched, part of our mission to keep the guide updated throughout the year). This year’s version represents the culmination of a project that began in the beginning of August and wasn’t completed until about sometime in the second half of last night’s National Championship Game between Alabama and Clemson.
By gathering information from over 50 providers on more than 300 jet card programs and compiling it into spreadsheets, Private Jet Card Comparisons saves subscribers dozens of hours of research time and ensures they can consider all the providers or programs that would be a good fit for their flying needs. It’s also necessary to thank the companies that get the process rolling providing the information. I’ve been told by several they use it for training sales reps, including giving them blank ones and making them fill it out!
By sharing so much detailed data, quite a bit that you won’t find in marketing brochures, and often details you won’t get until the contract stage, they are demonstrating a true consumer-focused perspective of transparency. That said, I’m told by providers they really like Private Jet Card Comparisons subscribers because you know what you are looking for, you’ve already analyzed program strengths and weaknesses, and are serious buyers (represented as well by the fact that you spent $250 to subscribe). In fact, 49% of you said you bought a jet card after subscribing while 41% said you are still in the buying process.
Private Jet Card Comparisons is the only jet card comparison guide that works 100% for the consumer. While there are several lead generation sites that offer both free and paid guides, they cover only a handful of companies, have information that’s outdated, and exist mainly to capture your contact information that they then sell to jet card providers as sales leads.
On the other hand, we rely 100% on subscription revenues which means we take your feedback very seriously. So, while I’m happy to report over 95% of you said Private Jet Card Comparisons was helpful, including 66% who found us extremely or very helpful, we really wanted to address some of your suggestions and critiques.
Last year we introduced Jet Card Decider. While the excel spreadsheet format is a good platform to provide comparisons that you can manipulate based on what’s important to you, for those of you who don’t like spreadsheets or don’t want to browse them, by filling out Jet Card Decider and providing us with some basic information about your travel patterns and preferences, we return to you our suggestions of the providers and programs that best fit your needs outlining the pros and cons of each program. This service is included in the cost of your subscription.
This year we also focused on improving data around a couple of factors that several of you mentioned. We now report on how flight time is billed, the main ways being either actual or estimated. It’s something that has driven some of you to switch programs. We now provide you by the provider and program this information so you can focus on programs that use your preferred method – it seems to be evenly divided, something I plan to write more about in the near future.
Another area that can impact total cost significantly is how taxi time is calculated. Some programs include it in their daily or segment minimums while others make it an additional charge. While for some flights it won’t have an impact, there are several frequent scenarios where it does, so now you will be able to see by the program when taxi time is included in the daily and segment minimums.
A broader change we made was in putting together the Chapters – which compare the over 300 programs head-to-head. For 2019, we included the basic hourly pricing data by program in multiple chapters so when you browse surcharges and discounts or policies on reservations lead time and peak day travel, you will have hourly rates for each program a few columns away on the same spreadsheet. It means pricing data is now found in several places so you won’t have to keep referring back and forth between Chapters. We think this will make the browsing process easier and faster.
Lastly, and hopefully, most importantly (I know this should be in the lead, but it’s a bonus for those of you have read down to the end), we have launched a flight pricing comparison tool called Quick Compare Flight Pricing.
Since jet card providers have different ways of presenting their hourly rates and policies which impact overall flight cost, it makes figuring out what you will actually pay a real chore. Add to that some companies include the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax in their advertised rates while others don’t. Some charge 12 minutes of taxi time per segment, some don’t. As mentioned before, some include it in your daily minimums, others don’t, so for one company with 60-minute minimums a 48-minute flight is charged at 60 minutes while for another it’s 72 minutes. And then the daily and segment minimums mean with one company a 48-minute flight might be charged at 212 minutes (120-minute daily minimum + 12 minutes of taxi time) offsetting a lower published hourly rate. There are also programs that have fuel surcharges you need to add on as well as membership fees. Then there are peak day pricing surcharges and the fact that some programs include deicing expenses – which can range up to $10,000 per incidence – while others don’t.
To help you compare pricing in seconds, Quick Compare Flight Pricing has nine different flight scenarios from sub-48 minute flights to flights of 3+ hours as well as peak days and an estimator to compare the cost of those programs that include deicing against those that don’t. We’ve also amortized membership fees over annual flight hours so you can truly understand flight costs on a head-to-head basis. What you’ll find are some programs that are expensive for short flights provide some of the best values for longer segments and vice versa. In other words, you can now more easily find the programs that work best for your missions!
As part of Quick Compare Flight Pricing, we have also brought into the spreadsheet each program’s criteria for sourcing aircraft and minimum experience requirements for the pilots who will fly you so you can get an overview that extends beyond price.
In 2019 our commitment remains to keep looking for ways to improve. That said, we also appreciate (OK, love) comments like one subscriber who wrote, “I have no suggestions for improvement. You are great! Your responsiveness to specific questions is amazing.” In the meantime, thanks to the over 10,000 unique visitors who come to the site every month, and most of all thanks for subscribing, renewing or considering a subscription. Jet cards continue to grow because they are an easy-to-use solution that fits nicely between full and fractional ownership and on-demand charter and in fact, are complementary to other solutions – 65% of subscribers have multiple solutions. Our goal is to help you make shopping for the right jet card easier. As always, feel free to email me your comments and suggestions. Happy 2019!
All the best,