Considering a Jet Card Program? A Quick Buying Guide
In the business aviation industry, nearly every air charter company offers some form of membership; either in the form of a pre-paid jet card or debit program. For frequent flyers, jet membership can make a lot of sense and offer great value. The benefits of private jet membership are only attainable through large cash deposits with your air charter provider. For those considering a jet card or private jet membership, we suggest you do some homework. You should be asking at least these basic questions:
Will I get what I pay for?
Recently there have been many new entrants in the jet charter industry. In an attempt to emulate the more established companies, they offer their version of the jet card. These programs require a substantial upfront payment. Without first doing a little homework, joining their membership program could put you at risk. An important question to consider is:
Will they be around to service your contract once they have taken your money?
Make sure the company you work with has an established reputation and some proof of their financial strength.
Is the membership program I am considering jet specific?
For those who fly to multiple destinations or who may occasionally have a large (or small) passenger count; being locked into a specific aircraft type could be a major disadvantage. These are just a few reasons why a jet specific program is not a wise choice. Private jet membership programs that are category specific offer a greater level of flexibility and are usually better able meet your ever changing needs. The Stratos Jets membership program allows access to hundreds of available aircraft and is not type or category specific, providing the greatest value of all private jet membership programs.
What type of notice do I need to give to book a jet, and are there blackout dates?
Some jet card programs give priority access to aircraft, or “flight precedence”, to other members with a higher level of membership. Limited access to aircraft and blackout restrictions shouldn’t be a part of any jet card program. That’s why Stratos Jet Charters offers guaranteed availability to aircraft, with as little as 10 hours notice. So consider these possible restrictions and your travel needs first.
Does the company I am dealing with carry adequate liability insurance coverage for the jets they fly or book?
Before you purchase a membership plan, you should confirm that the provider adheres to strict safety standards. Other questions that should be asked include: what are the minimum levels of liability insurance required by the provider? What standards are the pilots held to? What assurance will I have that all my charter flights will adhere to the FAA regulations.
Does my jet card program have an expiration date?
With many block hour programs, unused flight hours expire at the end of each year. With jet cards, you purchase hours of flight time in set increments, often in 25 hour blocks. This means you must accurately predict (or guess?) your amount of flight time over the coming year to the nearest 25 hours. Since the cards are prepaid, unused time on a card = money wasted. Purchasing a 25 hour jet card isn’t a wise choice if you’re only planning to fly 10 or 15 hours. In this scenario, you’d be better off utilizing on-demand charter service. Stratos Jets believes that an educated consumer is the best client. Jet cards are a big investment, so make sure you understand what you are receiving when comparing your options in the air charter marketplace.