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."