Sentient's net new client base up 23%

By Doug Gollan, December 13, 2019

The inventor of the jet card expects to hit the $300 million sales mark

On the same day, Delta Air Lines was announcing it would spin off its Delta Private Jets subsidiary and merge it with Wheels Up becoming the combined company’s largest shareholder, the inventor of the jet card was also making some news.

Sentient Jet CEO Andrew Collins told the hosts of Yahoo! Finance’s The Final Round his company is on target to hit the $300 million sales mark.

The growth, he said, is powered by a 23% increase in year-over-year new customer growth he said.

Sentient Jet Andrew Collins

Sentient Jet CEO Andrew Collins: “Robust” growth

Looking ahead, he told the audience, “I feel confident in our go-forward projections…it’s pretty robust.”

While Delta CEO Ed Bastian said he views the Wheels Up deal as a way to broaden access to the rarified air, Collins, asked by the hosts about private travel for the masses said, “The democratization of private aviation is a wonderful phrase and a buzzword, but I don’t think it exists yet.”

Focused on reliability

Collins said Sentient’s fly skews 60% to 40% business-related. Most customers flying between 25 and 50 hours per year.

Many times private jet travel is pitched as being similar in price to first-class using assumptions that every seat is full. However, Collins noted, for a light jet that might seat six or seven, it’s most comfortable to fly with only four or five people. It’s a good tip you’ll find out sooner or later.

Collins also pointed to the expense of operating jets and moving them around.

While Sentient is a broker, it often rents jets for multiple days. The strategy enables it to string together member flights more efficiently. The result is a lead time for bookings of just 10 hours. It also has one of the shortest cancelation windows, the Achilles heel of many card programs.

Empty legs from Sentient?

Asked about selling empty legs as a product, Collins left open the possibility.

He said Sentient buys 45,000 flight hours per year. Since it often controls the planes for multiple flights, unlike most brokers it owns the repositioning flights.

Focus on reliability

Collins said Sentient’s target audience values reliability. In Business Jet Traveler’s 2018 reader survey Sentient was rated tops in overall satisfaction.

Last month Sentient announced several major changes, including guaranteeing WiFi on all jets, midsize and above.

It also added peak day guaranteed availability on large-cabin jets and moved to single offerings on all but light jets where for now it is keep the Select and Preferred tiers. All other cards are now SJ+, which denotes Wifi included.

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