Wheels Up, Jet Linx, and XO: Comparing the private jet sharing options

Shared private jet charters offer big savings. Are they ready to take off? An in-depth comparison of the three major shared flight providers.

Jet Linx says last year it flew 40,000 empty seats; XO says it has sold over 160,000 single seats on shared flights

Sharing half of your flights between New York and South Florida during the winter could save as much as $75,000

Restrictions in jet sharing may mean it’s not right for you

Can you fly for the same price as first-class with the airlines?

Everyone wants to fly privately, says Kenny Dichter, the CEO and co-founder of Wheels Up. And the idea is the cheaper it is to fly privately, the more people who will do it. Dichter says that was his idea using the eight-seat King Air 350i to “democratize” short flight.

In the world of chartering your entire aircraft, he cut the price for a one-hour flight for eight people to around $5,000 compared to a cost of $8,000 to $10,000 for the same trip on a jet. His argument was that there was a minimal time penalty since landings and takeoffs are not at full speed, and often as you get near to your destination airport, airplanes are slowed down to similar speeds.

Arbitrator approves $6 million JetSmarter Class Arbitration Settlement; Court date to confirm settlement scheduled

A dozen lawsuits brought by unhappy members have recently been referred to arbitration in separate actions

Ellen Leesfield, the arbitrator overseeing the class action settlement between JetSmarter and its members, approved the agreement on July 11, 2019. The next step will take place on Aug. 22 when a judge in Miami-Dade County will need to decide whether or not to confirm the arbitrator’s decision.

In her ruling, Leesfield, a former judge, overruled several objections writing, “Plaintiffs and the class faced a multitude of serious, substantive defenses, any one of which could have precluded or drastically reduced prospects of recovery.” She also noted JetSmarter has “consistently denied liability and indicated an intention to vigorously pursue its potential defenses.”

JetSmarter

As of June 27, settlement administrators received 1,567 claim forms and 101 requests for exclusion. Previous reports had indicated close to 12,000 current or former members of the jet sharing service could be eligible.

Cash payments are expected to range between $250 and $21,000 with nearly $3 million to be split between the class and a similar amount going to the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs.

Facing mounting lawsuits, JetSmarter fires back, says litigation represents “less than 0.1% of growing customer base”

private jet charter in Shanghai

Against the backdrop of three more lawsuits, the sharing economy private jet company is responding, saying programs changes were within its rights, and the “vast majority” of “core” members are understanding

 

Over the past two weeks, at least three more lawsuits have been filed against JetSmarter, including two customers who say shortly after spending $97,500 upfront for discounted multi-year memberships they found themselves without the benefits they paid for. The lawsuits filed in New Jersey, Illinois and New York each allege shortly after joining or renewing key benefits they were promised were no longer available. With the mounting lawsuits, in general, they detail a series of back and forth communications with JetSmarter employees as benefits were being changed, and after failing to receive a refund or satisfactory solution, in each case, the members decided to take JetSmarter to court.

Kim Kardashian and Petra Nemcova are part of a new $2 million lawsuit against JetSmarter

Private jet safety

The lawsuit, the second since last Friday, was filed earlier this week in California after JetSmarter refused to renew the plaintiff’s membership. It seeks to have the private jet-sharing provider live up to the promises it allegedly made and reneged on to members

 

A day before his auto-renew membership should have been extended earlier this year and nearly a month after his opt-out date, Derek Milosavljevic received a notification from JetSmarter it wouldn’t allow him to renew him for a third year. His lawyer says the only explanation he was given about why he couldn’t continue was, “It was a management decision,” although he believes it could have been retaliation for a “negative but truthful” review he posted on Yelp in June 2017. His lawyer, Darin T. Beffa, noted that in not allowing his client to renew, JetSmarter violated its own and ever-changing terms, which he says required a notice period of 30 days by the member, and that is the point of the 57-page lawsuit with 70 more pages of attachments, including Instagram posts from Kim Kardashian and Petra Nemcova. 

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