By-the-seat private jet flight provider Set Jet closes suddenly

After its planned SPAC IPO was delayed multiple times by-the-seat Set Jet is out of money and closing down.

By Doug Gollan, February 17, 2024

Set Jet, which had multiple times delayed a planned SPAC IPO, is ceasing operations immediately.

As of June 2023, the Scottsdale-based by-the-seat private jet flight provider had 2,899 active members, according to SEC filings.

Set Jet CEO Tom Smith says the decision came after an investor backed out and the company could not find a new investor.

Smith identified the investor as Coleman Group of London.

In announcing its proposed SPAC merger last July, Coleman Group CEO Matt McClean said, “We are pleased to become strategic investors in Set Jet as we share the collective vision of bringing private aviation to a wider audience of the traveling public in the United States and eventually to the UK and Eurozone.”

Coleman Group had already provided $4 million in financing.

Smith tells Private Jet Card Comparisons Coleman Group didn’t provide a further $14 million commitment.

In an email to members, Smith wrote:

‘It is with profoundly heavy heart that I must inform you of a significant and unexpected development regarding Set Jet’s operations.

Due to unforeseen changes in our aircraft availability, compounded by challenges in finalizing our public offering and securing necessary funding, Set Jet is faced with the unavoidable reality of ceasing all service operations, effective immediately. This decision was reached after exhaustive deliberation and consideration of all available options, and it is not one that we make lightly.

In light of this development, please find below important details regarding the impact to you, our valued members:

Cancellation of Active Memberships: All current active memberships will be automatically canceled, effective immediately, and any upcoming membership billing periods will not be charged.

Cancellation of Booked Flights: Any flights booked beyond today’s date are regrettably canceled. We extend our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Discontinuation of Member Services: Effective immediately, all Member Services Representatives will no longer be able to receive calls or manage member profiles.

This is undoubtedly a challenging and deeply distressing time for all of us as a community. We understand the incredible impact this decision may have on you, and we grieve alongside you for the loss of the service and experiences we have all shared over the years.

On behalf of everyone at Set Jet, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support and loyalty throughout our journey together. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you, and we are forever grateful for all the wonderful memories we have had the privilege of creating with you.

Effective as of today’s date, all Set Jet personnel are retired from their positions, including our Board of Directors and Executive Staff, myself included, and all Set Jet designated buildings and aircraft access will be closed.

We extend deepest apologies for any disruption or inconvenience this may cause.’

Smith says there is no money to refund members who had paid for future flights.

Seats were priced between $750 and $1,550.

Memberships, which started at $99 per month, were charged on a monthly basis.

The last Set Jet flight was in the previous two days, according to Smith.

He says the FAA’s current evaluation of potential changes to Part 380 didn’t impact the company or the funding.

Set Jet routes

Set Jet had planned expansion to the East Coast and Texas after going public.

It operated mainly from Scottsdale to points in the West, including Las Vegas, Aspen, Southern California, and Los Cabos at its demise.

Set Jet route map

The benefit for members was using private terminals and bypassing crowded airports.

The company used several Challenger 850s seating 13-to-15 passengers. However, it acted as a broker and didn’t own the airplanes.

It competed mainly against JSX and airlines.

The Set Jet flights were on large-cabin private jets, including cabin attendants.

Set Jet financials

Revenue through the first six months of 2023 was $7 million, down 1% from 2022.

Over the period, it flew 1,102 charter flight legs.

At that point, Set Jet had $327,500 in recurring monthly membership revenue.

Operating loss slimmed from $6.9 million to $5.5 million year-over-year through June 2023.

Revenue in 2022 was $12.9 million, up 36% from $9.5 million in 2021.

Prior to founding Set Jet, Smith started Taser, which grew to a billion dollars in sales.

Last year, FlyExclusive, Volato, Jet.AI, and Surf Air went public via SPAC IPOs or direct listings.

They joined the 2021 SPAC IPOs by Wheels Up and Blade.

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