Jet card companies are changing rules and policies for both new and existing customers on a near-daily basis.
A number of the biggest players in the jet card segment have stopped taking in new customers. NetJets, Sentient Jet, and Jet Linx are off the board. So are Executive Jet Management, Flexjet, and Priester Aviation.
Still, around 40 players are selling jet cards with fixed or capped rates and guaranteed availability, so there are plenty of choices.
It’s this mode that is under pressure.
Memberships that use dynamic pricing – without caps – price your trip as if you are calling a broker or operator on a trip directly.
If the cost of delivering the trip goes up, a dynamic pricing program increases your price.
In fact, the spike in on-demand charter costs has been driving more private flyers to fixed/capped rate programs that guarantee availability.
A Private Jet Card Comparisons analysis of dynamic pricing versus fixed/capped rate jet cards using QUICK COMPARE FLIGHT PRICING last month found fixed-rate jet cards offered lower flight prices in 25 of 30 scenarios.
The average savings was over $5,000 per segment.
As I detailed in The future of Jet Cards: You can’t always get what you want; the market is changing and what was being offered wasn’t sustainable.
Unless there is a catastrophic decline in demand – there is a new reality to buying into a card program.
Here’s what I believe you need to think – and talk about with providers:
“It was unimaginable 15 months ago when transaction activity had ground to a halt as a result of the pandemic, that in September of this year, new aircraft would be trading at premiums, the OEM’s would have backlogs of one to two years in their most desirable models, pre-owned values would be up 20-to-30% plus year-to-date, and there would be effectively zero supply in most modern, pre-owned aircraft markets; however, that is exactly what has happened,” said Paul Kirby, EVP at NetJets’ QS Partners, its aircraft brokerage arm.
Per Marthinsson, EVP of Avinode Group, which is an online database of charter jets used by brokers, says, “What we’ve come to expect in the past is no longer possible.”
Looking towards the future, he believes the ride will be turbulent. “I don’t know what will change in the next 12 to 18 months unless there is a dramatic slump in the economy.”
Remember to study the details. For the Caribbean, I’ve seen some programs doubling surcharges. Daily minimums and lead time to book those fixed and capped rates are increasing.
The program you looked at three or six months ago may be very different now.
Various discounts are being eliminated or reduced. Some programs have implemented blackout dates.
I expect more announcements ongoing. Hourly rates are going up—blackout dates may be coming to programs that never had them and so forth.
In working with subscribers who use the JET CARD DECIDER, there are still options – just not as many.
Depending on your situation, you may find it beneficial to just charter flights on a one-off basis. In other instances, fractional ownership is becoming more attractive.
Demand is through the roof. There are supply issues – and supply chain and labor issues.
I won’t say the airlines aren’t an option if you are just going solo, have no checked luggage, and can grab a nonstop flight. But as somebody who regularly flies the airlines, I will say they aren’t a pleasant one.