Frequently Asked Questions about Jet Cards

Everything you need to know about Jet Cards

From policy on pets and unaccompanied minors to costs, extra fees, where you can and cannot fly, and whether or not there are toilets, here are some of the most frequent questions and answers about private jet cards and prepaid private jet charter programs. Either read the entire article, or click on the link under the table of content, and you will go right to the answer for that question.

Table of Contents

What is a jet card?

A jet card typically refers to debit card-style private jet travel programs that enable you to prepay for flights. You can then book at a contracted hourly rate with guaranteed availability.

Booking deadlines to secure your contracted rate range from as little as six hours to several days. This means you don’t have to shop for each trip, saving time and giving you the ability to budget and book trips on short notice.

Some programs include turboprops in addition to jets. The term “jet card” can also refer to charter programs with fixed rates but where you pay-as-you-go. In these cases, you pay a joining or membership fee but then only pay when you fly.

More recent are jet card programs that off dynamic pricing where each flight is priced at market rates when you call to book. This is similar to when you charter on a flight-by-flight basis, referred to as on-demand or ad hoc charter.

An advantage of fixed-rate programs is you can book, cancel, rebook or change flight times if needed, and you keep your contracted rate so long as you are doing so in advance of your contracted booking and cancelation deadlines. With dynamic pricing programs, your trip will be requoted each time you make a change.

Jet cards are typically sold in increments of dollars or hours, for example, 25 hours or $150,000, although deposit amounts range from $15,000 to $1,000,000.

What companies sells jet cards?

There are over 50 companies that sell jet cards. The following providers are compared in the Private Jet Card Comparisons database for subscribers: Able American Jets; Air Charter Service; Air Partner; Airshare (formerly Executive Airshare); Airstream Jets Inc.; Ajax Jets; Alliance Aviation; Amalfi Jets; Clay Lacy Aviation; Concord Private Jet; Delta Private Jets, Inc (now Wheels Up).; Dominion Charter, Ltd.; Dreamline Aviation, Dumont Aviation; Elite Jets Charters; Executive Jet Management; Exec 1 Aviation (formerly DashJet); ExpertJet; Flexjet; Fly Aeolus; FlyExclusive; FXAIR; GlobeAir; GrandView Aviation; Hopscotch Air; International Jet; Jet Algo; Jet Aviation Flight Services, Inc.; Jet Linx Aviation; Jetlogic Ltd.; Jet the World; JetSet Group; Jets.com; Jettly; LunaJets SA; Luxury Aircraft Solutions; Magellan Jets; Netjets (including Marquis Jet); Nicholas Air; Northern Jet Management; ONEFlight International; Outlier Jets; Paramount Business Jets; Priester Aviation; Private Jet Services Group (PJS Group); PrivateFly; Prive Jets; Qatar Executive; Quantum Jets; Sentient Jet; Silverhawk Aviation; Solairus Aviation; Starflight Aviation; Star Jets International LLC; StraightLine Private Air; Stratos Jet Charters; Tradewind Aviation; Unity Jets; Vault Jet; Velocity Jets; VeriJet; VistaJet; Wheels Up, and XO (formerly XOJET and JetSmarter). Many of these companies also sell on-demand charter, charters on a flight-by-flight basis.

How much does a jet card cost?

The cost depends on how much you want to fly. While you can find jets cards starting at $25,000, most jet card buyers spend between $50,000 and $500,000 on flights annually. Some providers such as Jet Aviation and Magellan Jets have 100-hours jet cards where the deposit can get into seven figures. Others negotiate if you want to buy more than 50 hours. There are also pay-as-you-go jet cards. With these types of cards, often referred to as memberships, you pay a joining fee and pay on a flight-by-flight basis.

Hourly one-way rates (meaning you don’t pay for repositioning flights) range from $5,000 for a very light jet to $20,000 for ultra-long-haul private jets. Subscribers can compare pricing between over 250 programs in seconds with our exclusive QUICK COMPARE PRICING, the only jet card pricing calculator.

Who buys jets cards?

The market of jet card users is quite diverse. Jet card buyers typically fly privately between 10 and 500 hours per year, although 15 to 50 hours is typical. Some jet card users also own their own jets. Having access to a private jet is like having a car – sometimes you need more than one. While it might not make sense to own two jets, a jet card can provide private jet access to family or company associates while somebody else is using the owned jet. This is called supplemental lift in industry lingo. Others buy jet cards instead of fractional ownership because they want the similar benefits of fixed-rate jet cards but don’t want to make the three-to-five-year commitment of fractional ownership. In other cases, companies and individuals buy jet cards because they prefer it over owning an entire plane, knowing they don’t have to worry about flight crews, maintenance, and having a backup if there is a mechanical delay. You’re not married to your jet card. Some users will charter ad hoc for certain trips if there is a benefit, while others use their jet cards exclusively. Our JET CARD DECIDER service is included in your subscription and provides a custom analysis based on your needs.

Where can I fly with a jet card?

Most providers will fly you anywhere. However, a jet card’s key benefit is the fixed-rate service area, sometimes referred to as the primary service area. Different companies have different fixed-rate service areas. For U.S. programs, it’s mainly within the Continental U.S. Some include Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. Other companies include transatlantic flights, and some are worldwide. European programs often have service areas that include Morocco, Israel, Turkey, and eastern Russian cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Within this fixed-rate service area, providers with fixed-rate pricing offer one-way rates. This means you don’t have to pay repositioning fees. If you are traveling to airports with low levels of private flights or the Caribbean and Hawaii, this can provide big savings over on-demand charter or jet card programs that use dynamic pricing. Some fixed-rate programs offer roundtrip discounts which can range as much as 40% for qualifying roundtrips.

What are the advantages of a jet card compared chartering trip-by-trip?

When you buy a jet card or prepaid private jet charter program, you can lock in a fixed hourly rate and guaranteed availability. You also know upfront extra fees and the source of aircraft you will be flying. Some programs include deicing, catering, and WiFi as part of your contracted hourly rate. Most programs don’t charge repositioning fees within the primary service area. You are also more likely to get upgraded to a larger aircraft. NetJets reports 30% of jet card member flights are upgraded for operational reasons. In other words, it was more efficient for them to put you on a bigger aircraft.

You also know the standards for sourcing aircraft and pilots, so you don’t have safety criteria each time as you would have to with an on-demand charter. Since you have prepaid, you don’t have to worry about transferring funds on short notice. There is also service recovery in case the operator cancels. With most on-demand charter, you have to pay the difference if the replacement aircraft costs more.

Jet card prices aren’t necessarily more or less expensive than on-demand charter. In our tests, it varies. However, you will find the big benefit is saving the time of shopping for each trip, reviewing quotes, negotiating, arranging payments, and worrying about service recovery if something goes awry. With QUICK COMPARE FLIGHT PRICING, you can compare jet card prices to your charter quotes.

What type of aircraft are available with a jet card?

Most programs use four cabin categories: light, midsize, super-midsize, and large cabin. However, you can find some that offer turboprops, very light jets, and ultra-long-range jets. Some fixed-rate programs allow you to choose specific aircraft types. Private Jet Card Comparisons’ easy-to-use filter search system enables you to compare programs by cabin category, specific aircraft type, or the number of seats you need.

Who owns the planes I am flying with a private jet card?

Who owns the planes that are used for jet card programs come from three sources:

Fractional Fleets: NetJets, Flexjet, and Airshare, for example, tap into fractional fleets they manage and operate on behalf of fractional shareowners.

Owned/Leased Fleets: Nicholas Air, VistaJet, and FlyExclusive are examples of jet card companies that own or lease their own fleets.

Managed Fleets: Solairus, Jet Aviation, and Jet Linx manage and operate jets on behalf of individual owners who allow them to use those aircraft to fulfill jet card flights when they aren’t flying on them.

Jet card brokers like Sentient Jet, Magellan Jets, and Private Jet Services (PJS) Group don’t operate aircraft. They go out into the market to source jets for your flights. Brokers each have their own standards of sourcing. Some have what they call open fleets – a set of operators who meet their standards, and they use exclusively.

Each business model has its advantages, depending on your needs. However, all operators carrying passengers on private jet charter flights for jet cards have to meet minimum government standards in the U.S., referred to as Part 135. Even if you buy a jet card with an operator, there is a chance a third-party operator will fly your trip if your provider doesn’t have your contracted type of aircraft available.

Are there safety standards for private jet card flights?

Yes. In the U.S., only planes on a Part 135 certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can be used for private flights sold as part of jet card programs. Globally, this is referred to as an AOC or Air Operators Certificate. Individual countries issue these.

Jet card sellers also use third-party safety auditors such as ARG/US, IS-BAO, and Wyvern to evaluate the operators of private jets they source. Some brokers have their own in-house standards, safety evaluations, and safety directors to evaluate providers. Companies that have been vetted or approved are often referred to as open fleets.

Providers also have varying minimum standards for the pilots that fly flights for their programs.

Are there taxes on my jet card flights?

For domestic U.S. flights, the most significant tax you will pay is the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax (FET). It applies if your flight begins or ends within 220 miles of the Continental U.S. northern and southern borders. To and from Alaska and Hawaii, you will need to pay the FET. However, the FET for Alaska and Hawaii is based only on the portion of your flight within the Continental U.S. Some providers include FET in their published rates; others don’t. QUICK COMPARE FLIGHT PRICING enables you to compare pricing, including FET and fuel surcharges and other fees. The taxes for jet card flights are the same with jet cards as on-demand charter.

Can I get my money back if I buy a jet card?

Some jet card providers will provide refunds of unused funds; others will let you roll over your funds to a new program, while some are non-refundable. In some cases, there is a service fee for refunds. Refund policies are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

Do my jet card hours or deposit expire?

Some cards and programs expire funds. The typical duration is 12 to 36 months. Others don’t have an expiration. Your funds never expire. Expiration policies are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

How much does it cost to charter a private jet?

Hourly charter rates vary widely based on the size of the aircraft and provider. Turboprop hourly rates can start around $4,000 per hour, while ultra-long-range large-cabin jets can run up to $20,000 per hour. Virtually all jet card providers only charge you for occupied hours within the primary service area. This means you don’t pay for repositioning fees before or after your flight. If you see lower hourly rates on charter broker websites, they probably don’t factor in the ferry flights.

As of March 2021, according to our proprietary Private Jet Card Comparisons‘ database of hourly rates for more than 750 fixed-rate jet card programs, the average rates by aircraft type, including 7.5% Federal Excise Tax:

Turboprop: $4,694 per hour
Light Jets: $5,986 per hour
Super Midsize Jets: $9,813 per hour
Large Jets: $12,594 per hour
Ultra Long-Haul Jets: $16,522 per hour

Hourly rates for over 750 programs are included Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

How much do I get billed for taxi time or time on the ground with jet card flights?

Most jet card programs bill you for taxi time at 12 minutes per segment. If your hourly rate is $6,000, that means paying $1,200 in tax time each time you land and takeoff. Tax time and how it is billed are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet and flight pricing calculator.

How much will I be billed for a 45-minute flight if my program has a 90-minute daily minimum?

Programs vary with daily minimums ranging from 0 on some light jet programs to as much as four hours for large-cabin jets. While 60 to 90 minutes is typical for light jets, many programs have 120-minute minimums. If your program has a 90-minute daily minimum and your only flight that day is 45 minutes, you will be billed 90 minutes if taxi time is included in the minimum. If taxi time is additional to the minimum, in this case, you would be billed 102 minutes for your 45-minute flight. This underscores why it’s critical to compare program details when deciding on providers. Daily and segment minimums are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet and flight pricing calculator.

Are there peak periods or destination surcharges and blackouts when I buy a jet card?

Most programs have peak period surcharges. They can range as high as 40% but more typically are 10-20%.

For travel outside the contiguous 48 U.S. states, including the Caribbean and Mexico, some programs also have surcharges, typically 10-15%.

Programs provide a list of peak days and blackout days in advance. Some have none, and while most have between 10 and 30 peak days, others have over 50. If you plan to do a lot of flying during holidays and high-demand periods, you will want to factor this into your decision. Peak days, peak day surcharges, and blackout dates are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

What’s the lead time for making flight reservations with a jet card?

Lead time to make a reservation varies between six and 96 hours during non-peak periods. During peak days, booking time can range up to a week in advance. If you expect a lot of short-notice travel, make sure to pay attention to the minimum lead-time for reservations. Peak and non-peak booking deadlines are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

Can I upgrade or downgrade the size of the aircraft with my jet card?

Many programs allow you to upgrade or downgrade your plane’s size, so if you need a longer-range plane or need more space, you can upgrade. If you are traveling alone on a short flight, you can downgrade. There are sometimes additional interchange fees for upgrading or downgrading, so if you expect to be doing a lot of either, it pays to pay attention to these fees and policies. Policies for upgrading, downgrading, and interchange fees are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

What are the policies if I need to cancel a trip with my jet card?

Policies on cancellation vary widely with notice varying for just hours to several days. Some programs don’t permit cancelations for peak day reservations. Policies for peak and non-peak cancelations are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

Can I choose the FBO I want with my jet card?

Most programs will let you choose the FBO you want to use; however, some will charge additional fees if you select a non-preferred Fixed Based Operator. A $500 charge for using a non-preferred FBO is typical. Our database includes FBO choice policies by the provider.

What type of catering is included with my jet card?

Most providers offer basic catering of sodas, water, and snacks, but not all. Some will provide sandwiches, while a few provide full catering or catering credits. Beyond what is provided as part of the program, all will cater to your specific demands on a pay basis. Catering is included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

Do all private jets have WiFi?

Not all private jets have WiFi, although some providers guarantee it as part of their jet card programs. If WiFi is omitted, you may be billed actual costs, which can run into the thousands of dollars. Policies for WiFi are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

Can I send unaccompanied minors using my jet card?

Most jet card companies will transport unaccompanied minors. Still, the age requirement varies, and in some cases, you will need to pay additional fees to have a flight attendant accompany the minor. The provider’s minimum age for unaccompanied minors is included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

Can I take pets on a private jet?

Cats, dogs, and caged pets are generally allowed, but some providers will charge cleaning fees. However, some jet cards don’t allow pets. Pet policies are included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

Do private jet card providers have 24/7 customer service?

The good news the over 50 companies we have analyzed that sell private jet cards and prepaid private jet charter programs offer 24/7 customer support.

What happens if my private jet flight is canceled for non-weather related reasons?

Most fixed-rate programs provide a placement aircraft at no additional cost to the customer with limitations. This is an advantage of fixed-rate jet cards. When you charter on a trip-by-trip basis, if the provider cancels the flight for a mechanical reason or a pilot gets sick, they will offer you a requote. At the last minute, the requote is often at least 50% higher than your original price. You can either accept the requote or request a refund. However, you would then need to make alternate plans to get to your destination.

Do all private jets have toilets?

Some smaller private jets and turboprops don’t have fully enclosed lavatories. If you are looking at programs with light and very light jets, you will want to specify if you require a fully enclosed toilet. A comparison of policies is included in the Private Jet Card Comparisons’ comparisons spreadsheet.

What type of luxury and lifestyle partnerships do jet card companies have?

Sentient Jet, XOJET (now XO), NetJets, VistaJet, and Wheels Up have extensive luxury partnerships. For example, WheelsUp offers customers benefits at Ermenegildo Zegna while Sentient Jet customers get the VIP treatment at Brioni. Wheels Up customers get benefits from jeweler Kwiat and residence club Inspirato. Sentient Jet gives members a catalog with free and discounted stays at luxury hotels. NetJets lists Mandarin Oriental, The Leading Hotels of the World, Canyon Ranch, and Wynn Las Vegas as partners with exclusive offers for its customers.

If I buy a jet card, do I get VIP access to events like the Super Bowl, All-Star Game, Kentucky Derby, The Masters, and other sporting events?

The answer is it depends. NetJets, Wheels Up, Sentient Jet, Flexjet, and XO are active at these types of events with parties and hospitality. Sentient Jet is the official private jet card of the Breeder’s Cup World Championship that gives card members VIP seating and access to the Paddock and Winner’s Circle.

What type of insurance do private jet companies provide?

Liability and risk coverage by private jet card sellers vary widely and sometimes depend on the plane’s size. The amount depends on the provider and size of the aircraft and ranges from $25 million to $500 million.

Comparing Jet Cards

If you want a program-by-program comparison of more than 250 products from more than 50 companies covering 65 points of differentiation and over 40,000 data points, we have organized it all into a single easy-to-use and compare spreadsheet.

Private Jet Card Glossary: A to Z

private jet

Private Jet Card Comparisons has developed our exclusive Private Jet Card Glossary, specifically around 65 comparative points that differentiate the programs.

Aircraft Sourcing Standards –  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets minimum standards for operations, maintenance, and pilots for aircraft on charter flights under Part 135. Beyond that, some jet card providers use additional standards set by third-party auditors and organizations such as ARG/US, Wyvern, and IS-BAO to guide the sourcing for their jet card programs.

Annual Dues – In addition to hourly rates and other fees, some programs have annual or monthly membership fees. QUICK COMPARE FLIGHT PRICING amortizes those fees into your hourly rate so you can compare actual flight costs head-to-head between providers.

Applicable Aircraft – Private jet card programs offer either specific jet types or categories such as Very Light or Small Jets, Light Jets, Midsize Jets, Super Midsize Cabin Jets, Large or Cabin or Heavy Jets, and Ultra Longhaul Jets. Additionally, some programs allow you to buy into a specific aircraft type. When you buy a category program, you will receive a variety of aircraft in that category. If you have specific preferences, for example, cabin height, you probably want to buy into an aircraft-specific program, particularly for midsize and super-midsize jets.

ARG/US level – ARG/US or ARGUS provides safety audits of private jet operators spanning over 500 operators globally.  There are three levels:  ARGUS Gold Rated Charter Operator, ARGUS Gold Rated Plus Charter Operator, and ARGUS Platinum Rated Charter Operator.

ARG/US Gold Rated Charter Operator – Requires operating certificate for at least one year, at least one turbine aircraft on the certificate, in-depth historical safety analysis, and pilot background check and aircraft operational control validations.

ARG/US Gold Rated Plus Charter Operator – Requires all of the Gold Rated requirements plus an on-site audit with no safety of flight findings.

ARG/US Platinum Rated Charter Operator – Requires all of the Gold Plus rated standards plus on-site audit with zero findings, plus functioning SMS and Emergency Response Plan.

Black Out Days – Some programs do not guarantee service on specific dates. These are typically referred to as Black Out Dates. The provider won’t provide guaranteed availability on these dates.

Broker – Many jet card providers are brokers. Charter brokers don’t own or operate the aircraft you will fly in. Instead, they source aircraft from charter operators. These programs typically sell by cabin category, although some offer specific aircraft types. However, many operators also broker when their own fleets don’t meet the needs of jet card customers.

CPI Escalator – Hourly rates of some jet card programs are subject to increases based on the Consumer Price Index. This means rates are subject to increase based on CPI at a specific point in time. In some cases, your rate will be increased to the higher of the CPI or an alternate number, meaning your rate will increase regardless of the CPI at that point.

Destination Surcharge – Some jet cards have surcharges for travel outside the Continental U.S. These typically apply when flying more than 220 miles off the U.S. border. Surcharge to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada generally range between 10% to 25%. Some providers also for surcharges for high-density airports. This is more prevalent in Europe. 

Expiration of Hours/Deposits –Many programs expire your hours or deposits after specific periods, typically 12 to 24 months. However, some jet cards never expire your funds. If you aren’t sure how much you will be flying, make sure to research the expiration policy of the jet cards you are considering.

FBOFixed Based Operators are private jet terminals and they also provide fueling and services for the plane.

FBO Choice – Some programs allow you to choose a specific FBO. In these cases, there can be extra charges, typically around $500.

Federal Excise Tax (FET) – Some programs include FET when marketing hourly rates. For other programs, the rate being promoted is without FET.  If you are flying within the Continental U.S. or within 220 miles of the northern and southern borders and to, from, or between Hawaii and Alaska, the government assesses the 7.5% tax on top of your hourly rate, including fuel surcharges. As part of the CARES Act, the tax was suspended through Dec. 31, 2020.

Fixed One-Way Rates – Fixed One-Way Rates mean that you won’t have to pay for ferry fees to reposition your aircraft either before or after your flights within your Primary Service Area. By choosing a program with fixed one-way rates, you can more accurately budget how much your private flying will cost in advance. 

Flight Attendant Inclusion –  Some programs provide flight attendants on specific aircraft types – typically super-midsize and large-cabin – while other programs offer flight attendants as an option for an additional fee.

Flight Cancellation DeadlineCancellation policies for jet cards refer to the lead-time in which you can cancel your flight without penalty. Lead times can vary based on peak and non-peak periods as well as for domestic versus international flights. Cancellation windows can be as short as four hours. However, some programs make peak days bookings non-refundable.

Fractional Fleet – Some jet card providers use aircraft from their fractional ownership and lease programs to sell jet cards. These programs are more likely to enable you to choose a specific aircraft type instead of broker programs, which are more typically sell by category. 

Fuel Surcharge – During periods of fuel price increases, some programs reserve the right to impose fuel surcharges. Others have fuel surcharges as part of their normal pricing. Fuel surcharges are typically updated monthly or quarterly.

Guaranteed AvailabilityGuaranteed availability refers to the contracted lead time before your departure; your provider will arrange an aircraft for your flight. Providers that also give you a fixed rate typically require six to 96 hours lead time. Lead time is longer during Peak Day periods. Guaranteed availability and fixed one-way rates are considered two key benefits of a Jet Card vs. On-Demand Charter.

Guaranteed UpgradeGuaranteed upgrades enable you to reserve a larger aircraft than the type you bought. This is useful if you are traveling with a larger group or need a longer ranger jet. Some programs such as NetJets only guarantee downgrades and make upgrades in aircraft size as available. When you upgrade, you will need to pay the rate for the larger aircraft. In some cases, there is an interchange fee, a surcharge for doing so.

Guaranteed DowngradeGuaranteed downgrades enable you to trade down from your contracted jet type or size to a smaller jet. This can save money if you are traveling alone on a shorter flight and want a smaller plane to save money on your hourly rate.

Hourly Rate – Hourly rate is the rate per hour your program charges per your contract. Flights are typically billed in six-minute increments or to the nearest 1/10th of an hour.

Included Catering – Most programs include basic catering. That might include non-alcoholic beverages and packaged snacks. Some programs include more substantial catering such as sandwiches, fruit plates, hot meals, gourmet preparation, alcoholic beverages, or credits. All programs allow you to order for an additional charge catering to meet your needs.

Interchange FeesInterchange fees are surcharges if you upgrade or downgrade the size of your aircraft or go between two service areas in a program, for example, North America and Europe.

Initiation Fee – Some programs have a one-time initiation fee. Our exclusive QUICK COMPARE FLIGHT PRICING amortizes initiation fees into your flight cost providing apples to apple comparisons.

IS-BAO – The International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) was introduced by the International Business Aviation Council, LTD (IBAC), in 2003. The industry developed IS-BAO for the benefit of the industry. It is a code of best practices designed to help flight departments worldwide achieve a high level of safety and professionalism. There are three levels or stages.

IS-BAO Stage 1 – Stage 1 of IS-BAO indicates that an appropriate Safety Management System (SMS) has been established.

IS-BAO Stage 2 – Stage 2 of IS-BAO takes years later and ensures that safety risks are being effectively managed.

IS-BAO Stage 3 – The IS-BAO Stage 3 Certification is the highest level of achievement and validates BJA’s commitment to developing and maintaining an effective Safety Management System (SMS).

Lavatory Type – Not all aircraft have fully enclosed lavatories or lavatories you can stand up in. For longer flights or personal preference, you should ask for pictures of the lavatories on the aircraft types that will be part of your program. Not all light and very light jets have full lavatories. 

Liability and Risk Coverage (Insurance) – Programs provide varying amounts of liability and risk coverage.

Managed Fleet Operator – Some jet card providers use aircraft they manage for individual owners to sell jet cards. Owners want charter revenue to offset their operating costs. They allow their management company to charter their aircraft when they don’t need it. Like a broker-based jet card program, Managed Fleet jet cards typically sell by size category. That’s because you have a variety of aircraft types in each category, meaning you are likely to get a different jet type per trip.

Minimum Seating Guarantee – As you select a vendor and program, you should think about the number of people, including children, you will be traveling with. You will want to make sure your missions can be accommodated by the type of planes used in your buying program. That said, it’s not unusual for jet card users to be members with two programs based on divergent needs. Within a category, providers might offer guarantees ranging from six to eight seats. Don’t assume how many seats are provider. Compare seat guarantees from the providers you are considering.

Minimum Flight Time Charged – Programs have widely varying minimum daily and segment flight time charges. A 40-minute flight might be charged as one hour by one provider, two hours by another, and 40 minutes by a third. If you are taking a lot of short flights, you will want to pay attention to this. Minimums are typically one to two hours and can depend on the size of the plane. If you multiple same-day short hops, a program with only a daily minimum may be advantageous. 

Multiple Same Time Aircraft Access – This allows you to use two or more planes at your contracted terms from a single program simultaneously.

Owned/Leased Fleet Operator– Some jet card providers own the aircraft they use to sell time for their jet cards. These programs are more likely to enable you to choose a specific aircraft type instead of broker programs, which typically sell by category. 

Part 135 – The U.S. government regulations and rules that all domestic private jet operators providing on-demand charter and jet card flights operate.

Pilot Experience – Jet card companies have varying minimum requirements for pilot experience, sometimes above government requirements. They cover both Captain and First Officer and include total hours of flight time and time in the type of aircraft they will be flying you.

Peak DaysPeak days are high-demand days, typically around holidays and major sporting events such as the Super Bowl or The Masters. While 15 to 30 peak days are the norm, some providers have more than 50 peak days. In addition to longer lead times for bookings and cancelations, which in some cases aren’t permitted, providers have the right to move your departure time by +/- 3 hours for operational reasons. This can put a damper on a getaway weekend. There are also surcharges (see below).

Peak Day Surcharges – Most programs have surcharges for peak travel days. The number of peak days varies by the program, as do the surcharge amounts. If you are buying a jet card in anticipation of flying during busy holiday periods and aren’t flexible to move your dates, you should study any peak travel surcharges or blackout dates. Peak day surcharges range up to 40%.

Pet Policy – Most programs allow you to take certain types of pets. Some programs have mandatory or discretionary cleaning fees. If you are using a broker or managed fleet program, it pays to triple check their policy since they don’t have the final say on pet policies – that’s up to the actual owners or operators of those aircraft. 

Program Hours Denominations – Jet card programs are generally denominated in hours, for example, 10, 15, 25, 50, or 100 hours. The more hours you buy, typically, the lower your hourly rate and additional benefits. Some providers use dollar denominations (see below).

Program Dollar Denominations – Some deposit jet card programs are denominated in dollars, for example, $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, $250,000 or $500,000.

Refund Policy – Some programs will refund unused funds, while others are non-refundable. Some allow you to roll over unused funds or hours to a new contract. If you are unsure you will use all your hours or funds, you will want to pay attention to the Refund Policy and rollover options.

Refill Policy – Refill policy refers to enabling you to add money or hours to an existing program you purchased at the original terms.

Reservation Lead Time – Non-peak day lead times to book your jet card flights range from four hours to five days. Lead times are longer during peak periods or for international flights. Lead time for programs that have fixed-rate pricing tends to be longer than those that offer dynamic pricing. Fixed-rate providers will often still arrange flights inside the booking deadline. However, they will charge you market rates at the time you book. Booking lead times are also referred to as call-outs.

Roundtrip Discount  – Roundtrip flying is more efficient for the operator, so jet cards typically offer discounted roundtrip rates. Published discounts range up to 40%.

Roundtrip Discount Qualification – What qualifies for a roundtrip flight discount in private aviation varies. The efficiency for the operator is when they can use the same aircraft and flight crew for the entire trip. The contracted definition requires at least two billable flight hours per day, starting and returning to the same airport. All your day’s flights need to be completed within FAA-mandated crew duty time limits (14 hours including preflight duties). For multi-day trips, there has to be mandatory overnight rest of at least eight hours. A trip from A to B to C to D and back to A with a total of eight flight hours completed in four days (8 divided by 4 = 2) would qualify. In addition to the discount, you may be billed for crew overnights and hangar or airport charges.

Service Area (Primary Service Area) – Some programs enable you to travel globally at your contract rate. In contrast, others will only fly you in a limited area. Some U.S. programs include parts of the Caribbean, Mexico, or possibly Hawaii. Some service areas aren’t country-specific but refer to a mileage limit outside of the Continental U.S. border. Ensure the places you will be flying are within the primary (or fixed rate) service area of your program. Otherwise, you will likely pay expensive ferry fees.

Service Recovery – Outside of weather, different programs have different commitments for mechanical delays, pilots running out of flight hours, etc. This is another benefit compared to on-demand charter

Taxi Time Billing – You will typically be charged for taxi time, generally 12 minutes per segment. This means if your hourly rate is $8,00, your account will be debited $1,600 per segment for taxi time. Not all programs charge for taxi time.

Unaccompanied Minor Travel Policy – Age limits for sending an unaccompanied minor privately vary by provider. Not all providers permit this. You will need to pay additional fees for a flight attendant to accompany your child in some cases.

Wyvern WingmanWyvern Wingman is a third-party rating system of private aircraft operators measuring adherence to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards for safety management systems, emergency response plans, and internal evaluations. Its Wingman level rating Includes a two-day, on-site audit recurring every 24 months. There is also a Registered level.

6. Jet Card Travel Planning Details

private jet window

Compare jet card reservation and cancellation deadlines, peak days, blackout days, upgrade and downgrade policies, and interchange fees

What’s the minimum lead-time for booking your jet card flights – both for peak and non-peak days? How many peak days does the program have? Compare peak day calendars. Are there blackout dates? Can you reserve more than one aircraft simultaneously at your contracted hourly rate? What are the peak and non-peak cancelation deadlines? Can you upgrade or downgrade aircraft size to match your trip needs? Are there any interchange fees to upgrade or downgrade? Find out why you should subscribe.

  • Non-Peak Reservations Lead Time
  • Peak Day Reservations Lead Time
  • Number of Peak Days
  • 2021 Peak Days Calendars
  • Blackout Dates
  • Multiple Same Day Aircraft Access at Contracted Rate
  • Non-Peak Cancellation Deadline
  • Peak Day Cancellation Deadline
  • Cancellation Policy Details
  • Guaranteed Upgrade/Downgrade Policy
  • Upgrade/Downgrade Interchange Fees
  • Upgrade/Downgrade Policy Details

Companies Profiled:  

Compare Able American Jets; AeroVanti; Air Charter Service; Air Partner; Airshare (formerly Executie Airshare); Airstream Jets Inc.; Ajax Jets; Alliance Aviation; Amalfi Jets; Clay Lacy Aviation; Concord Private Jet; Delta Private Jets, Inc (now Wheels Up).; Dominion Charter, Ltd.; Dreamline Aviation, Dumont Aviation; Elite Jets Charters; Executive Jet Management; Exec 1 Aviation (formerly DashJet); ExpertJet; Flexjet; Fly Aeolus; FlyExclusive; FXAIR; GlobeAir; GrandView Aviation; Hopscotch Air; International Jet; Jet Algo; Jet Aviation Flight Services, Inc.; Jet Edge; Jet Linx Aviation; Jetlogic Ltd.; Jet the World; JetSet Group; Jets.com; Jettly; LunaJets SA; Luxury Aircraft Solutions; Magellan Jets; Netjets (including Marquis Jet); Nicholas Air; Northern Jet Management; ONEFlight International; Outlier Jets; Paramount Business Jets; Priester Aviation; Private Jet Services Group (PJS Group); PrivateFly; Prive Jets; Qatar Executive; Quantum Jets; Sentient Jet; Silverhawk Aviation; Solairus Aviation; Starflight Aviation; Star Jets International LLC; StraightLine Private Air; Stratos Jet Charters; Tradewind Aviation; Unity Jets; Vault Jet; Velocity Jets; VeriJet; VistaJet; Wheels Up, and XO (formerly XOJET and JetSmarter).

%d bloggers like this: