10 Things to Consider When Buying a Jet Card | Jet Linx
Jet cards are not created equal. With more than 50 companies selling jet cards, you’ll find a crowded marketplace offering hundreds of program types. Each jet card program is aimed at suiting different the needs of different clients.
Many prospective buyers consider price as the number one concern, but there are many other factors at play. For example, a less expensive jet card may be more appealing at first, but it will likely not fit all of your needs. Jet cards are unique, and a more affordable jet card is not a superior jet card. There is no best jet card out there. They are all unique, and come with different advantages.
With many options available, the process of picking the best jet card program can be daunting. Consider these important aspects, brought to you by our knowledgeable team at Jet Linx.
1. Jet Card Company Profile
Jet Card providers range in size from boutique vendors to multi-brand conglomerates offering services worldwide. With smaller organizations, you will deal with owners more directly. You also get a more personalized experience, which can offer a sense of comfort and belonging. On the other hand, larger organizations offer more options for aircraft type, destinations, personnel, and resources. One way or the other, you will want to do business with a transparent company with your best interests in mind. Do your research and ask questions to learn which type of company is best suited for your needs. Do you prefer a more personalized experience, or do you prefer privacy while you fly? Would you like a range of different aircraft to choose from? Will you be flying for business or pleasure? The answers to these questions will help to narrow your search. Jet Card programs are catered to small audiences, each with their own nuances and needs.
2. Fixed Rates vs. Competitive Pricing
Nearly all private jet program providers offer guaranteed hourly rates for trips. However, dynamic pricing (based on current market rates) is beginning to become more common. Some clients are comforted by fixed hourly rates, knowing that they will always pay the same price for a private jet. However, others are willing to gamble with dynamic market pricing in the hopes that the market will play in their favor. With fixed rate pricing, you are protected from high costs due to poor demand or market volatility. However, you may miss out on lower prices when the private aviation market is humming along. Dynamic pricing can be a gamble; you never know when hourly rates will rise or drop.
3. Extra Charges
Unfortunately, a fixed rate is not always a fixed rate. Daily minimum flight times, fuel surcharges, taxes, deicing fees, catering, access to Wifi, and other hidden fees can add up. Every company handles these charges differently, so read the fine print. All in all, you’re never just going to pay for flight time. Jet card programs often have daily flight time minimums. This means if your flight was only 45 minutes, you will be charged for the daily segment minimum of 60 minutes. This varies across the industry, so you must do your homework. Of course, even with a dynamic pricing model, fees for fuel, catering, and all the other extras will be included as well.
4. Service Areas and Choice of FBO Locations
Some private Jet Card companies are more regional, and others can be national or global. If you are only doing business along the eastern seaboard, a regional program might be best. However, an impulsive trip to the west coast for some personal time could create surcharges due to ferry fees and crew overnights. Companies manage these situations differently – while some don’t charge extra to fly outside of their service area, others impose additional costs. Jet Linx is proud to offer access to over 5,000 airports nationwide (and international), including our Base locations.
5. Guaranteed Availability
The guarantee that a private jet is waiting at any time and in any location is a powerful promise to a prospective buyer. Not all Jet Cards offer guaranteed availability, so the promise of such security is often too great to pass up for buyers. There can be caveats, such as the aircraft type or size, which can put limitations on a guarantee. Business travelers will want to take a good look at guaranteed programs to ensure that business can carry on as usual.
6. Aircraft Type and Size
Certain programs offer one type and size of jet for a given price bracket. With other jet card programs, you gain access to all sizes of jets in that category for the same price. Anticipating your travel needs can help determine what type of aircraft you need access to. Will you need one type of size or category, or a variety? Travel plans change often, and buyers find comfort in the fact that private jet providers can cater to specific needs when they arise unexpectedly. Jet Linx offers an array of makes and models in various categories. To be clear, Jet Linx offers guaranteed availability for any given size category, but not always for a specific make and model. Below are examples of makes and models within a given size category.
- Light Jets: Beechjet 400/400A, Learjet 31/31A/40, Citation Jet/CJ1/CJ2/CJ3, Hawker 400XP, Phenom 300
- Midsize Jets: Hawker 800/800XP/900, Dassault Falcon 20F-5BR, Learjet 45/55/60/75, Gulfstream G150, Citation III/IV/VII
- Super Midsize Jets: Citation X, Challenger 300/350, Falcon 2000EX Easy, Falcon 50, Citation Sovereign, Gulfstream 200/280, Hawker 4000
- Heavy Jets: Gulfstream G450/550/650, Bombardier Challenger 600/601/604/650, Falcon 2000/900/7X, Legacy 600, Global Express
7. Reservations and Cancellations
Policies for reservations and cancellations vary. Some Jet Card programs allow you to reserve flights six hours in advance, and others require 72 hours of notice ahead of time. The same goes for cancellations. Business customers may need a flexible cancellation policy, as some programs require anywhere from four to twelve hours of notice to avoid a fee. While Jet Linx prefers 24 hour notice, we have made arrangements for clients in as little as three hours!
8. Safety, Pilot Quality and Training
Safety is of the utmost importance, especially in aviation, but safety standards vary from company to company. Certain companies pride themselves on safety standards and certifications, recurrent pilot training, and the amount of flight hours their pilots have attained. Not all companies will go too far beyond government-imposed minimums. Jet Linx is proud to boast the following safety certifications listed below.
- ARGUS Platinum: ARGUS International is the worldwide leader in performing on-site safety audits for corporate flight departments, charter operators, and commercial airlines. Of the 1,998 Part 135 operators in the United States, less than 6% have earned a Platinum rating.
- Wyvern Wingman: Jet Linx continues to be awarded the Wyvern Wingman Standard. In addition to passing a demanding onsite audit of our operations, the Wyvern Wingman Standard requires an ongoing audit of important safety data. This includes validating our pilot experience, continual training of pilots and maintenance technicians, and updates to our Safety Management Systems (SMS).
- IS-BAO Certification: The International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) has become a globally accepted “gold seal” for business aviation operations. The certification attests to the highest standards in safety and efficiency. Jet Linx first earned IS-BAO certification in 2009, Stage 3 certification in 2015 and the most recent renewal in 2018.
9. Aircraft Sourcing
Not all private jet companies own all (or any) of their aircraft, which comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. Some organizations source aircraft from operators, which means you’ll likely never fly in the same plane. Other companies manage and maintain their own fleets, which means you will travel on the same planes with the same crew. Jet Linx manages aircraft, but does not own them. However, Jet Linx is responsible for maintenance and crewing, meaning that our operation handles the logistics and mechanics of the operation. When a company sources aircraft, they have less control over mechanics and maintenance, meaning that safety is not entirely assured. For a customer, this likely translates to lower prices at the expense of personal safety. Jet Linx takes full control of managed aircraft, ensuring the safest possible experience to every customer.
10. Lifestyle Partnerships
Jet Cards and luxury lifestyle brands blend well, and some companies offer partnerships that enable discounts or free merchandise. Partnerships with clothing brands, hotels and resorts, wine and spirits distributors, jewelers, and more can be appealing depending upon why you are flying. This may not be enough to sway you, but partnership programs can offer thousands of dollars in savings. You just have to participate and reap the benefits! Click here to learn more about the Jet Linx Elevated Lifestyle program.
As you explore different Jet Card programs, prioritize what you consider as your most important needs. Do you need guaranteed access on certain days? Do you seek the highest standards of safety? Will your pets and family fly with you? Will you be traveling on holidays? Is communication and customer service a priority? Ask questions and do research to find the best fit for you, your family, your friends, and your business.
Be sure to check out specific details and benefits of the Jet Linx Jet Card program. If that’s not for you, our team can satisfy any of your private aviation needs, from aircraft management to acquisition and sales.