Private Jet Card Comparisons: Private jet users to fly more this year

Conor Feasey

Private jet travellers intend to fly more in 2022 than 2021, according to a just-released survey of subscribers to Private Jet Card Comparisons, an online buyer’s guide which helps consumers find private aviation solutions.

Nearly half (43%) are looking for new providers, after frustrating experiences, as the industry struggles to reconcile record demand with supply problems. More than half (51%) of respondents to said they would fly more this year than in 2021; 41% said they would fly about the same amount as last year, while 9% expected to fly less.

“It’s very good news for the industry as a whole,” Doug Gollan, founder and editor-in-chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons told Corporate Jet Investor. “Despite problems, users say they plan to stick with private aviation. For individual providers, there is an opportunity to reach back out to high value customers who had issues in the past year and see what can be done to keep their loyalty.”

Convenience, connectivity, poor commercial airline service and lowered risk of Covid exposure where among the main reasons for participants to continue flying privately.  One respondent said: “Given what is happening with the airlines’ lack of flights and requirements to fly, the additional cost of private flying keeps getting more and more reasonable.”  Another said: “We are a family of five with three children under 12. There is just no comparison to how pleasant it is to fly privately. It’s so easy. We’ve gone to 100% private flights”

While the industry outlook is positive, individual providers continue to experience turbulent times. Delays caused by industry supply chain problems, labour shortages, and excessive demand have frustrated many customers. Just under half (44%) of survey respondents said they had suffered delays or cancelations in the past six months as record demand strained private aviation infrastructure.

The main cause of negative experiences was flight delays. Over three-quarters (79%) of flyers encountered delayed flights, while 41% complained providers moved departure time after booking. Nearly one-third (30%) said providers were unable to accommodate their departure time requests. Among the top aggravators are spikes in price, restrictions on flight availability, lengthier booking processes and stricter penalties on cancellations.

“Most of them haven’t walked yet, but they are seriously considering moving their business,” said Gollan. “It’s generally more expensive to get new customers that retain existing ones. Demand is at record levels now, but eventually it will change. Making sure good customers don’t leave should be a top priority.”

Although flyers are committed to private aviation, they are not necessarily committed to their current providers, he added.  “As providers have sought to adapt to the new normal, they have been changing their programme rules and policies.” These frustrations led 43% of jet card customers to look for new providers. “The result is more private jet flyers are keeping their eyes open to what else is in the market,” said Gollan.

Jet card and membership programmes typically claim renewal rates of over 90%. However, only 54% of respondents say they intend on renewing with their current provider this year. Also, 13% are likely to leave their current provider, 43% of flyers are searching for new providers. Plus 18% are considering moving towards full or fractional private aircraft ownership. Finally, 5% say they do not plan on buying or renewing a membership or jet card this year,

The results of his survey reveal the opportunity for more segmented offers, said Gollan. “There are slices of the market who are okay with lots of peak days because they are flexible, or call-outs of one to two weeks because they are planners. Not everyone needs access to every category of aircraft. The challenge is when you have to change terms in midstream.”

Gollan summed up the research with the lyrics of British American punk rock icon Billy Idol. “Despite challenges, it’s like the Billy Idol song, when it comes to flying privately, ‘They want more, more, more,”.

 

Private Jet Card Comparisons survey – at a glance:

51% expect to fly more this year, 41% expect to fly about the same amount and 9% fly less

– $134,672 average spent on private flights over the past six months

– 44% suffered delays or cancelations in the past six months

– 54% plan to renew with their current provider.

 

Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons. (The survey was conducted via email between January 27th and February 18th, 2022 and generated 452 responses).

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