As private jet travel attracts price-sensitive newcomers, illegal charters with unqualified pilots and aircraft are creating new dangers
“We’ve just got done with a case..The PIC (Pilot-in-Charge) was not typed in the aircraft and the SIC (Second Officer-in-Charge) was a student pilot with less than 50 hours. That’s one of the most unsafe things I’ve seen. This stuff goes on. It happens.”
– FAA Inspector
Back in 2016, I was visiting the headquarters of Jet Linx Aviation in Omaha, Nebraska. Walking with its CEO Jamie Walker between a series of meetings, he suggested I write about illegal charters. He said it was a subject he didn’t think was getting enough attention.
The fast-growing private jet management company is giving its aircraft owners as well as jet card customers the option to buy and sell extra seats on their flights
The Jet Linx base model with 18 locations provides a unique advantage giving it critical mass in the markets it serves, says its CEO Jamie Walker
Last year there were over 40,000 empty seats on flights operated by Jet Linx for the owners of the private jets it manages and the members of its jet card program. Now the fast-growing Omaha-based private aviation provider is enabling both aircraft owners and card customers the ability to sell seats within its customer network.
OpenSeat Exchange private jet seat sharing
OpenSeat Exchange is available on its updated mobile app
being launched today.
Vista Global’s move to combine XOJET and JetSmarter under a new brand, XO, and new website, FlyXO.com, has brought some significant changes for jet-card customers. Here are the details.
The revised XO jet cards expand light and midsize programs nationwide and offer a new discount structure for longer flights
Thomas Flohr’s Vista Global group has been moving fast. Since the founder of VistaJet set up a Dubai-based holding company last September, he bought XOJET and JetSmarter. Then last month, he merged the two companies into a new brand, XO, and a new website, FlyXO.com.
The result has been an integration of JetSmarter’s Instant Booking private jet charter rates and seat sharing options into XOJET’s existing jet cards, potentially providing customers with a wider variety of options.
Of course, the devil is usually in the details. But first, a quick review of the program basics.
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.
Surf Air’s growth in Europe has been tepid so far, however, it and others continue to pursue a by the seat private aviation model against a backdrop of mixed results
Seat sharing, where travelers buy single seats on private aircraft, either via memberships or on individual flights, is considered a growth area for business aviation getting plenty of play in consumer media. The major benefit is saving time at airports by using private aviation facilities while paying prices at or near what the commercial airlines charge. For short hops, it can cut total travel time significantly. However, the model may be in trouble once again. Two sources tell Private Jet Card Comparisons that upstart Surf Air Europe has recently pared back its marketing and sales team there.
The “all you can fly” private aviation operator is offering a combined U.S. – Europe membership.
Surf Air’s European operation, which launched earlier this summer with flights from London’s Luton Airport to Ibiza, Cannes and now Zurich, is offering free flights to top-tier frequent fliers in the programs of other European airlines.
Private aviation provider Surf Air is offering a new program targeting weekend leisure travelers with a $2,500 annual membership fee.
Surf Air is planning to launch a new product next month called “Escapes” that is aimed at the leisure traveler. It’s a hybrid approach to the company’s monthly membership “all-you-can-fly” model. The program was soft-launched last weekend.