Yet another company wants to start selling semiprivate jet flights
If you ever feel the urge to search for private jet charters online, there's a good chance you'll come across Jettly. It's essentially the Kayak of private jet flights.
Jettly is an "open marketplace" private aviation booking platform that connects passengers directly to charter operators — no brokers or other middlemen. You can search for flights online and instantly get quotes from over 1,500 operators worldwide. You can even filter searches by aircraft type, safety ratings, inflight amenities and more. Better yet, this direct-to-consumer model means no hidden fees and there are no minimum deposits for memberships.
Now, the company wants to expand its services. In an exclusive interview with TPG, Jettly CEO Justin Crabbe revealed that the company applied to become a Part 135 operator so that it could start selling seats on shared charters, in addition to traditional private jet charters.
“With demand for private air travel at unprecedented levels worldwide coupled with the seemingly ever-increasing inconveniences associated with commercial air travel, the opportunity has never been greater to transition to a democratized solution providing the masses with convenient access to private aircraft and private air travel at attractive prices," Crabbe told TPG.
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Semiprivate flights are nothing new. In fact, they've become quite popular in recent years with a number of companies offering "private" flights by the seat, including Aero, Blade, JSX, XO, Wheels Up and more. Some are more glamorous than others, but the concept is the same for each: Enjoy the comfort and convenience of private jet travel but at significantly lower prices by sharing the plane (and subsequently the cost) with strangers. The biggest passenger-facing implications of flying under Part 135 regulations are that there can be up to 30 seats and flights are allowed to operate out of private terminals.
In explaining the new offering to TPG, Crabbe told us, "Jettly will apply the same social, sharing economy approach to private air travel, enabling travelers to capitalize on available seats on existing flights — or create a flight of their own and crowdsource the seats they don’t need, to the rest of the Jettly community."
Related: The cheapest ways to get the private jet experience
The most popular routes for semiprivate flights today are between New York and South Florida, so that's where Jettly would launch its shared service — along with some shorter routes within the Northeast. Seats on these flights usually range between $2,000 and $3,000 with Blade and XO, but Jettly hopes to shave a couple of hundred dollars off by continuing to offer "wholesale prices" to by-the-seat customers.
Crabbe explained that customers should expect to pay the true per-seat cost as if they were chartering the entire jet. Meanwhile, competitors generally charge customers a premium for booking shared flights.
Jettly also hopes to cut costs by using smaller, more economical planes for shared flights. For instance, Crabbe is a fan of Cirrus' Vision Jet G2+. It can accommodate up to five adults — one being the pilot — and has a range of up to 1,467 miles.
As of now, the plan is for Jettly to rely on its network of over 20,000 partner aircraft for shared flights rather than actually acquire its own, dedicated fleet.
Related: This company wants to make small-group private jet travel more efficient
As is the case today, you won't need a membership to book shared flights. That said, it will likely make sense to get one since they generally offset the 10% nonmember booking fee.
Memberships start at $370 per month and, unlike most other private jet membership programs, can be canceled at any time. Paid members also get a range of other perks, including the opportunity to participate in Jettly's loyalty program Jet Miles, onboard catering credits, free Uber Black transfers and more. That said, all Jettly customers have access to the same flight availability, regardless of whether you're a paid member or not.
Although the pandemic fueled a surge in demand for private air travel, Crabbe is confident that the demand is here to stay. Crabbe shared that Jettly currently sits between 15,000 to 20,000 requested flights each month. During the December holiday rush, it received as many as 3,000 requests in a single day.
"There's no shortage in demand," Crabbe explained. "There's just a shortage of aircraft."
If all goes according to plan and there are no delays with the Part 135 approval process, Jettly's shared service should launch by December of this year.
"We're all very excited as we enter this next chapter and believe the next few years will continue to show tremendous growth for the company both here in North America and abroad," Crabbe said.