After years of claims about Uber for private jets instant booking technology, it’s finally arriving. Should you book a private jet online?
After years of claims about Uber for private jets instant
booking technology, it’s finally arriving. But should you use it?
Many of the broker websites and apps promising online bookings were nothing more than electronic request forms.
But that’s changing, and increasingly, you may find yourself able to rent a private jet or turboprop digitally from a broker or platform, and without much human oversight, or at least human oversight looking after your interests.
JetCard Plus, a private jet charter broker, closed earlier this year after it was hit by a $220,000 judgment in favor of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin
Paul M. Svensen is registered as manager of UberJets LLC in Massachusetts and listed as CEO on its NBAA membership page. His LinkedIn profile still lists him as sales director of JetCard Plus
Paul A. Svensen Jr. was CEO of JetCard Plus, which is no longer an active company, and before that, COO of Jet Network LLC, a jet card seller that went into bankruptcy around 2007
In 2016, Paul A. Svensen Jr. registered another aviation business at the same Hingham, Massachusetts, address where Paul M. Svensen registered UberJets LLC, in August 2017
FlyUberjets.com promises members savings on full aircraft charters and empty leg flights
UberJets LLC denies any affiliation to Paul A. Svensen Jr. or JetCard Plus
UberJets LLC, a charter broker selling private jet memberships from a Park Avenue address in New York City promises “unlimited access to book and travel worldwide to luxury lifestyle destinations.”
It denies having any affiliation to a private aviation company that closed earlier this year amid litigation and a top executive, Paul A. Svensen Jr., who was CEO of that company and COO of another that also failed.
Lawsuits, closures, bankruptcies and lack of transparency show the challenges consumers face
In the two years since I launched Private Jet Card Comparisons, I’ve been surprised by the number of bankruptcies, closures, lawsuits, and lack of transparency in private aviation. In Europe, Wijet liquidated its UK subsidiary while Surf Air closed its entire operation there. Zetta Jet filed for Chapter 11 and then Chapter 7, leaving bills estimated at between $50 million and $100 million. ImagineAir just closed shop without notice. Both JetSmarter and Ascension Air find themselves facing unhappy customers, including lawsuits. Of course, there have been other failures before, including Avantair and Blackjet to name just two fairly recent ones.
How not to lose on your private jet membership
To help you avoid the same pitfalls, here are some tips I put together. While they may not be foolproof, I think they are helpful to keep in mind:
Blackbird promises to “defy gravity” with inexpensive private flights on private jets, turboprops and piston aircraft. Takeoff with the knowledge that this isn’t a traditional air charter
“We bring you the freedom of flight…No matter who you are, no matter what you do, we all face challenges, obstacles, rules, limitations and frustrations—this daily struggle is gravity that pulls us down and tries to keep us from reaching our potential. Together we will defy gravity.” – BlackBird website
I leased a private aircraft and hired a pilot in less than 10 minutes. Was it legal?
On March 12, 2019, I received a press release from BlackBird CEO and founder Rudd Davis. It was titled, “We just raised $10 million to bring you more freedom.”
It read, “We started BlackBird to make personal aviation as accessible and affordable as driving. Today, I’m excited to announce, we’ve taken another huge step toward making this a reality with the close of a $10 million Series A.”
Other trends include the pilot shortage, struggle of on-demand brokers to offer instant, guaranteed pricing, and desires of jet card buyers for high-touch, high-level service
While a shortage of pilots in business aviation has been pushing up crew salaries by as much as 20%, buyers of jet cards and on-demand charter can look forward to continued favorable pricing, according to executives attending Corporate Jet Investor’s annual Dealmakers Conference being held this week at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.