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posted by n1 on Wednesday February 18 2015, @09:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the twenty-motherfskers-in-a-levitating-car,-747-full-of-women-and-cigars dept.

The headaches of commercial air travel — security lines, delays, cancellations — are driving high net worth individuals to look for alternative options. Matt Krupnick reports at the New York Times that JetSmarter is one of a host of new ventures that are seeking to upend the private jet market by capitalizing on advancing technology and rising dissatisfaction with commercial airlines. To make travel easier, and to avoid the headache of commercial flying, JetSmarter allows passengers to fly on so-called empty legs, or private jets flying without passengers on their way to pick someone up.

JetSmarter, whose customers booked more than 1,300 flights last year, expects to book 10 times as many passengers in 2015, says its 26-year-old chief executive, Sergey Petrossov adding that while some might consider the $7,000 annual fee steep, it’s far more affordable than a private jet. A recent nonmember search of the JetSmarter app showed empty legs available, for example, between Miami and the Bahamas for $1,750 and from Chicago to Bedford, Mass., for $5,249. “For an LA to Vegas flight, sometimes we have deals for under $1000 for a four-passenger flight,” says Petrossov. But if you were chartering, say, an Airbus corporate jet for 30 hours of flying, it could be “in the millions of dollars.”

“Our business model is similar to Uber,” says Petrossov. Like Uber does with its drivers, JetSmarter forges partnerships with independent carriers, and displays their schedules and GPS locations on the app. JetSmarter users can request flights as few as six hours in advance, and from anywhere in the world. Like any good startup founder, Petrossov says he’s “trying to change the world in our little way” by “democratizing” private air travel. "Although let’s be honest," writes Jordyn Taylor. "JetSmarter’s taking something that was only available to the insanely ultra-rich, and making it more available to the not-QUITE-as-rich-but-still-insanely-rich."

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  • (Score: 1) by CaptainK on Wednesday February 18 2015, @09:43AM

    by CaptainK (1110) on Wednesday February 18 2015, @09:43AM (#146458)

    So that pretty much nullifies our reader base.

    Anyone actually considering the annual fee?

    Your imagination is your only limitation to creation.
    • (Score: 2) by sudo rm -rf on Wednesday February 18 2015, @02:17PM

      by sudo rm -rf (2357) on Wednesday February 18 2015, @02:17PM (#146517) Journal

      Anyone actually considering the annual fee?

      (a few hours later)

      chirp...... chirp........chirp

      No, I don't. And a good thing too, Petrossov put "democratizing" in quotes as "oligarchizing" would fit better.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18 2015, @07:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18 2015, @07:37PM (#146645)

      I considered it briefly. There is a cost/benefit tradeoff, certainly. I have flown on something like 60 flights in the last 12 months. This includes some madness like "transfer in Atlanta to fly from Orlando to Pensacola". That flight especially bothered me, as it cost ~6 hours of delays, and was around $1000 for a distance that I could have driven. Another flight, from Curacao to Orlando, cost only $200, but didn't actually make its leg to Orlando and dumped me in Miami without transportation (costing another 4 hours and couple hundred dollars). My girl paid $700 for a flight from Orlando to DC yesterday (transfer in Chicago!), as part of an emergency.

      I've looked into chartering private aircraft for these short hops, but it hasn't had enough of a price break ($800 more expensive, no thanks). If a one-time cost of $7000 could get me a several $100 flights/year, I would seriously consider. I would especially consider it because it wouldn't involve the hassle of the airport, TSA, or planning an extensive schedule.

      My household makes something like $170K/year with no debt, and has a net worth of about $400K (failed businesses hurt). We aren't "1%", but we are "10%", and fly frequently.

    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Thursday February 19 2015, @05:48AM

      by davester666 (155) on Thursday February 19 2015, @05:48AM (#146861)

      Anything that will get me out of this basement!

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by MrGuy on Wednesday February 18 2015, @03:29PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Wednesday February 18 2015, @03:29PM (#146547)

    in the idea of rideshare for private planes. Check out companies like AirPooler. []

    Unlike this, no annual fee. In fact, they're not legally allowed to charge a fee (otherwise they're an airline, and face major regulation). Instead, they're more "share the cost" services.

    The FAA has been skeptical of the approach, but there's at least some hope that they might relent on this. If so, WAY more relevant than a "private plane" sharing service.

  • (Score: 2) by n1 on Wednesday February 18 2015, @06:47PM

    by n1 (993) on Wednesday February 18 2015, @06:47PM (#146626) Journal

    As this story hasn't generated anything in the way of discussion... I might as well go off-topic and mention that the dept. title on this story are lyrics from Hail Mary Mallon (Aesop Rock & Rob Sonic) - Whales [].