51% of private jet users to fly more in 2022, eye new providers

By Doug Gollan, February 21, 2022

New research shows private jet flyers plan to fly more than 2021, but they are looking at new providers as the industry struggles with record demand and supply chain issues

– 51% will fly more than 2021, 41% will fly the same, and only 9% will fly less

28% of frequent private flyers are considering fractional or full aircraft ownership.

Private jet travelers plan to fly more in 2022 than 2021, according to a just-released survey of 452 Private Jet Card Comparisons subscribers.

51% of subscribers to the buyer’s guide, which helps consumers figure out the best private aviation solutions, said they would fly more in the next 12 months than in 2021.

41% said they would fly about the same amount as last year, while just 9% said they will fly less.

Most cited the convenience of private flying, poor airline service, connectivity, and Covid concerns as reasons to keep flying privately.

“Given what is happening with the airlines’ lack of flights and requirements to fly, the additional cost of private flying keeps getting more and more reasonable,” said one respondent.

But the reasons varied. Another said, “I just retired and will be flying more to see grandchildren and leisure.”

One new private flyer since Covid noted, “We are a family of five with three children under 12. There is just no comparison to how pleasant it is to fly privately. It’s so easy. We’ve gone to 100% private flights, including Hawaii.”

Some are buying multiple solutions. “I have both fractional ownership and a jet membership,” said another respondent.

What is your outlook for private flights in 2022?

Answer Choices%
I will fly more than last year51%
I will fly about the same as last year41%
I will fly less than last year9%
Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons Subscriber Survey – Feb. 2022

While the industry outlook is strong, it’s not all rosy for individual providers.

Delays and other service issues caused by industry supply chain issues, labor shortages, and too much demand raised the ire of many customers.

44% of respondents said they had suffered delays or cancelations in the past six months as record demand stressed the private aviation infrastructure. Argus TraqPak is forecasting new records every month in 2022.

Over the past 6 months, have you had any operational issues with your private flights?

Answer Choices%
Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons Subscriber Survey – Feb. 2022

Flight delays were the main culprit with 79% encountering late flights.

Several subscribers reported taking two days to get a recovery aircraft after a cancelation, with 10% saying their provider couldn’t find a replacement jet.

41% said providers moved departure time after they booked while 30% said providers simply couldn’t accommodate their requested departure time.

Additional issues included fuel stops due to shortages, incorrect catering, and in one case, having to switch airports to find an available rental car.

“I know it’s not all (my provider’s) fault,” said one subscriber, who never-the-less may switch.

Many said they saw an overall dip in experience. “I want better and more consistent planes,” said one subscriber.

Still, 43% of jet card customers said it’s program or policy changes making them consider new options.

Have any Jet Card, Jet Membership, or Fractional Ownership/Lease Program(s) you belong to made Program or Policy changes that are making you consider joining another program?

Answer Choices%
Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons Subscriber Survey – Feb. 2022

Among the top irritants are price increases, increased peak days, blackouts, restrictions on when members can fly, longer lead time to book flights, longer daily minimums, increases in sliding departure windows, higher peak day surcharges, and stricter cancelation penalties.

Typically, jet card and membership programs claim renewal rates of over 90%. However, only 54% of respondents say they plan to renew with their current provider this year.

Yet, it’s not completely bad news. Only 13% say they are “likely” to leave their current provider, although that number was 19% among flyers who had delays. 34% are looking for a backup private jet company, including 41% who had service issues.

A subscriber who is in two programs told us, “I’ll continue with one and look to replace the other.”

What are your plans in terms of private aviation memberships and jet cards for 2022 (Select all that apply)?

Answer Choices%
Planning to renew with current provider(s)54%
Looking for a backup for current provider(s)34%
Am now considering fractional or full aircraft ownership18%
Will likely leave current provider(s)13%
Will buy a jet card from a new provider13%
Not planning to buy/renew a jet card or membership5%
Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons Subscriber Survey – Feb. 2022

Those who already made changes said the grass wasn’t necessarily greener. “I went back to my previous company. I know I had problems with them, but the experience with the new company made them look, first-class.”

Another respondent added, “I am transitioning from one program back to a previous program. Currently have two.”

The bottom line is that private flyers remain undeterred. As Billy Idol sings, they want “more, more, more.”

Only 5% say they don’t plan to buy or renew a membership or jet card this year.

Fractional and Full Ownership?

In fact, changes in programs are pushing some to the deep end of the pool: 18% are now considering full ownership or fractional ownership of a private jet.

That includes 28% of frequent private flyers – those who took over 20 flights in the past six months – who are now considering fractional or full aircraft ownership.

Respondents spent an average of $134,672 on private flights over the past six months.

That doesn’t mean the surging demand will last forever.

“I will definitely continue to travel privately. However, as Covid becomes more endemic, antivirals reduce the risk of adverse outcomes, and U.S. airlines improve their operations and flight schedules, I anticipate I will fly more commercially, particularly on long haul routes,” noted a respondent.

The survey was conducted via email between January 27 and February 18, 2022.

A donation of $10 to the respondent’s choice of Homes For Our Troops or Feeding America was offered for each completed survey. Results have a +/- 3% margin of error at a 90% confidence level.

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