In his debut contribution to Private Jet Card Comparisons, jet expert and attorney, James Butler, encourages potential buyers to look beyond price when it comes to purchasing jet cards.
As someone who has built a business on analyzing the finer details of jet programs, Butler points out that not all jet card programs operate the same way. While most analyses of jet card programs lump all such "pay-as-you-go" offerings together, Butler counsels potential buyers to be aware of the difference between “fractional” jet card programs and “block charter” jet card programs.
"Fractional jet cards, like those offered by NetJets and Flexjet, utilize aircraft that are managed, operated, maintained and piloted end-to-end as part of a single fleet of aircraft," explains Butler. "By contrast, what I call 'block charter' jet cards (because you purchase a block of hours) are offered by companies that essentially are charter clearinghouses—companies that make arrangements with various independent charter operators around the country to provide aircraft for their customers’ trips."
Among the differences between fractional jet card and block charter card programs are:
Bottom line? Butler acknowledges that there are reputable block charter jet card programs and that, in general, block charter offerings tend to be less expensive than fractional jet card programs. However, he cautions against being so blinded by the discounted price that you forget to do the proper due diligence. “[T]his isn’t like a flash sale on Groupon.” You’re putting your life and the lives of your family members in the hands of an operator, its aircraft and pilots. As always, the two most important rules are: “Safety First” and “Buyer Beware.”
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