One question I ask subscribers I talk with is whether or not they are likely to make changes or cancel within 24 hours of their scheduled flight time. In these times, it’s more likely than ever you might need to switch things up.
While providers generally try to work with customers, your contract sets the cancelation terms. If you cancel inside the deadline, you can well lose your entire charter amount, so possibly tens of thousands of dollars. Losing $25,000 for a single cancelation is like adding $1,000 per hour to the effective rate of a 25-hour jet card. Do it twice, and it’s adding $2,000 per hour. You may quickly wonder if you bought the right jet card!
In defense of providers, chartering a private aircraft isn’t like booking an airline seat. Often the aircraft needs to be flown to the airport you are departing. It’s also unlikely that the operator will book another client to replace your cancelation at short notice.
It’s not a happy place for customers or the provider. However, there is a solution. First, make sure you review cancelation policies before you buy a jet card or membership.
Luckily, some jet card programs allow you to book on short notice. As a paid subscriber, you can compare non-peak and peak cancelation policies via the easy-to-use filters in columns CF and CG on the comparison spreadsheet.
Flexjet doesn’t focus on jet cards. In fact, they only offer two jet cards – a Phenom 300 and Challenger 300 jet card. Both have cancelation deadlines of just four hours, both on-peak and non-peak days. Lead time for booking is 24 hours on non-peak dates. And while Flexjet hourly rates are not in the lower quadrant, saving cancelation charges can be even more important if you need flexibility. WiFi and de-icing are guaranteed, and daily minimums are just 60 minutes, inclusive of taxi time.
Sentient Jet, like Flexjet, is part of Directional Aviation’s OneSky Flight unit. Its non-peak cancelation window is 10 hours, and there are only 21 peak days. The jet card broker sells by category, so light, midsize, super-midsize, and large-cabin jets. WiFi is guaranteed on midsize and larger aircraft, and deicing is included on all types. Light and midsize jet daily minimums are just 60 minutes, inclusive of taxi time. Super midsize jets carry a 90-minute daily minimum, while large-cabin jets have 120-minute minimums.
NOTE: NetJets has suspended sales of its Classic Jet Card. Of the three jet card types NetJets offers in North America (Elite, Classic, and Corporate Angel), the Classic version carries a deadline of just 10 hours before scheduled departure for no-fee cancelations. Classic has 30 peak days where the cancelation is 24 hours. However, NetJets typically doesn’t charge for cancelations unless it has already repositioned the aircraft. The lower-priced Elite and Corporate Angel cards have a 24-hour non-peak cancelation window. Wifi and deicing are included in all NetJets’ jet cards. There are no minimums for the Phenom 300, Citation XLS, or Latitude. All other jet cards carry a 60-minute minimum, including taxi time.
Boston-based broker Magellan Jets offers a series of semi-aircraft-specific jet cards starting at 25 hours. If you buy at least 50 hours, they guarantee Wifi on midsize and up categories. There is a 120-minute minimum across all jet cards, but you can designate a third of your hours as a 60-minutes daily minimum on light jets. Most importantly, if you are a private jet road warrior who needs flexibility when you buy 300 hours, Magellan offers both peak and non-peak no-penalty cancelation up to 8 hours before departure.
Several providers offer penalty-free cancelation up to 24 hours before departure. They include Aeronux, Airshare, Dreamline Aviation, Elite Jet Charters, FXAIR, Hopscotch Air, Jet Aviation, Jet Edge, Jets.com, Nicholas Air, Northern Jet Management, Outlier Jets, StraightLine Private Air, Tradewind Aviation, VistaJet, Wheels Up, and XO.
Think very hard about whether or not you might need to cancel your jet card flights on short notice. A child gets sick and can’t fly. Your client calls in the morning and tells you they’re out sick. Don’t come. Cancelation policies don’t get enough attention. If you lose $50,000 from cancelations on a 25-hour jet card, you’ve added $2,000 per hour to your contracted rate.
In addition to columns CF (non-peak) and CG (peak day) on the comparison spreadsheet, column CH includes additional details about cancelation policies. It’s worth reviewing before you buy.
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