Delta Air Lines switches Wheels Up board member

By Doug Gollan, February 28, 2022

Wheels Up investor Delta Air Lines has switched its representative on the private jet company’s board of directors

Delta Air Lines, a major investor in Wheels Up Experience after selling Delta Private Jets to the company in a 2019 deal, has switched its representative on the private jet company’s Board of directors.

Current Wheels Up board member and Delta executive Eric Phillips is stepping down “to focus on other commitments.”

According to a press release this morning, Delta Air Lines Senior Vice President Dwight James has replaced Phillips effective February 24.

James is expected to stand for election to a full term on the Board at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders later this year. He will also fill Phillips’s role on the Safety & Security Committee.

“We are delighted to add someone with Dwight’s extensive global aviation background to our Board of Directors,” said Wheels Up Chairman and CEO Kenny Dichter.

James currently serves as Delta’s executive in charge of customer engagement and loyalty. He is also CEO of Delta Vacations.

During his nearly 13-year career at Delta, James has served in several senior roles, including leading pricing and revenue management.

Before Delta, he held roles in corporate strategy, business development, and M&A functions at The Home Depot and Deloitte Consulting.

“With a growing business and iconic brand, Wheels Up is well-positioned for success,” said James. “I’m excited to join a deep and experienced Board and work with a strong management team on this unique opportunity to shape the next chapter for the company and the future of private travel.”

James also serves on the Board of Directors of Floor & Décor (NYSE: FND), a leading multi-channel specialty retailer of hard surface flooring and related accessories. He has a B.A. in Business Administration from Morehouse College and an MBA from Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business.

Jet card loyalty

James joins Wheels Up at a time the industry is seeing record growth.

However, supply chain, service issues, and program changes are causing jet card members to look at other programs.

Typically, jet card and membership programs claim renewal rates of over 90%.

Yet, in a recent survey of 452 Private Jet Card Comparisons subscribers, 43% said changes are causing them to consider switching.

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. That number was 19% among flyers who had delays. 34% are looking for a backup, private jet company, including 41% who had service issues.

Only 5% say they don’t plan to buy or renew a membership or jet card this year. Still, 18% say they are considering full or fractional private aircraft ownership.

His experience with Delta Vacations may also come in handy. Wheels Up has been expanding its lifestyle portfolio. It signed partnerships with Abercrombie & Kent and Landry’s while launching ski and golf initiatives.

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