Joel Thomas still remembers the day he fell in love with aviation: His dad, who had just earned his private pilot’s license, picked Joel up from school, took him to the Orlando Executive Airport and told him they were going for a burger—in the Bahamas. Soaring above the barrier islands in his dad’s 1960 V-tail Bonanza M35 for the first time, Joel was hooked.
After attending the University of Central Florida where he worked toward a finance degree, Joel went on to work as an investment advisor at a large investment firm. His passion for aviation led him back to the local airport where he spent so many boyhood summers, and to a chance encounter in which Joel’s dad hinted he would make a great jet charter broker.
In 2006, Joel founded Stratos Jet Charters. Since then, Joel has focused on guiding his company by a vision to always do what’s best for the customer, to help them make informed buying decisions, and to always recommend only the safest options. Through his advocacy for safety in the private jet charter services industry, he has served as president and chairman of the Air Charters Association of North America (ACANA), and Stratos was one of the first jet charter companies to become an ARGUS Certified Broker.
Joel has led Stratos toward a number of significant firsts, including the Marketplace platform that gives travelers unrivaled access to aircraft availability and quotes, and the SOAR program that combines the guaranteed availability of membership with the flexibility and savings of on-demand jet charters. More than 15 years into the business and now with his own pilot’s license, Joel is still as passionate about flying and providing a private flying experience that raises the bar for safety, service and client education.