New research shows nearly 4 in 10 private jet users are interested in shared and by-the-seat private flights.
As the Federal Aviation Administration considers rules to restrict or possibly make impossible jet sharing and by-the-seat flights from private terminals, 39% of current private jet flyers say they are interested in the shared flights.
According to the 2023/24 edition of The Jet Card Report by Private Jet Card Comparisons, the shared private flight options have significant market potential.
That’s partly because only 9.2% of respondents said they had used by-the-seat or jet-sharing options in the past 12 months.
However, that’s up from 5.8% last year and outside the survey’s margin of error.
The shared flight option was also popular with fractional share owners – 9.8% of fractional owners said they had used the by-the-seat and shared flights, an increase from 2.7% in 2023.
A significant portion of respondents are already sharing, with 21.9% saying they catch rides with friends who have private jet solutions.
Advanced Air, Aero, JSX, Surf Air, Blade, and XO are among a handful of providers that sell seats on flights that operate on schedules between private terminals.
The by-the-seat and sharing flights enable users to bypass the long lines of crowded airport terminals.
Wheels Up and XO both allow customers to share flights to offset the expense.
At the end of Q3, the average hourly price for jet cards with fixed or capped rates and guarantee availability was $8,093 for a light jet, including tax and fuel surcharges, according to the Private Jet Card Comparisons database of more than 900 programs from over 80 providers.
Respondents who are interested in shared flights clock significant flight time.
They expect to fly an average of 39 hours on private aircraft in the next 12 months, including 38% who expect to fly over 50 hours in the next year.
Moreover, 71% said they would be willing to move their departure date, including 22.9% by one day, 49.0% by two days, and 20.5% by three days.
Nearly half (47.9%) of those interested in sharing are open to flying on turboprops.
Many who want to share or by-the-seat flights also bring pets – 44.6%.
That compares to 41.5% for the overall sample.
Seven aviation groups recently filed comments with the FAA opposing rules that would limit shared and by-the-seat options.
JSX CEO Alex Wilcox urged customers also to voice opposition in a pair of recent emails.
He wrote, in part, “The truth is that two huge airlines – American and Southwest – and their labor union leaders – have been lobbying the FAA, TSA, and elected officials in Washington D.C. with misinformation and unsubstantiated safety claims in a brazen attempt to regulate JSX out of business.”
More than half (54.0%) of respondents said airline and airport delays and cancelations are causing them to fly privately more often.
Despite the interest, and even without new regulatory obstacles, the future is uncertain.
Aero recently pulled out of Europe and changed CEOs.
Surf Air has vastly reduced its by-the-seat flights over the past several years.
However, Vista Global’s XO earlier this year bought and refurbished two aircraft specifically for its by-the-seat flights.
JSX has also been adding routes and cities, including Nashville, Colorado, Orlando, and, most recently, Morristown in New Jersey.