Jet cards have become an increasingly popular way of accessing private aviation. They provide confirmed levels of pricing, aircraft types and access. One thing to be aware of is the peak travel days that have slightly different reservation and travel requirements.
Jet cards are most commonly sold in 25 hour units, although we have seen them available in as little as 5 hour units - as special or seasonal promotions. The cards are sold by both fractional fleet operators and by the larger charter operators and jet management companies.
For most of the year, jet card holders can book a flight in as little as 10-12 hours ahead of time. But on peak travel days this notice period can increase quite significantly and varies by provider. It's caused by the same issue that brings on increased prices for commercial flights over peak holidays - simple increased demand. If you want to get on that private jet to be home for the holidays, or want to take your family away for a few days, you just need to plan further ahead.
Some peak days include the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well as the Sunday following, the day before Christmas Eve as well as the two days following, and the Friday before and Monday after three-day holiday weekends such as Presidents' Day.
Some jet cards, usually from the charter operators are essentially a deposit against flights on a variety of aircraft. In these cases, the price per hour will be higher for travel on the peak days.
Some providers distinguish between the actual peak days and the surrounding days, with different terms for each. For instance CitationAir notes that it may adjust flight times by +/- 3 hours on any of these days, and will give you at least 12 hours notice if this is the case, but hourly prices are only higher on the peak days.
The table below summarizes the terms from some of the larger providers.
|Provider||# Peak Days /Year||Advance Notice||Additional Fees/Notes|
|NetJets||20|| 120 hours
||Fly on the same aircraft type as Card or a mission-capable aircraft within the category as the aircraft for which you own a card.|
|CitationAir||10 peak days per year in addition to "Flex Days" which are the days before and after a peak day.|| 24 hours advance notice for scheduling, changing or cancelling.
|| Hours are billed at peak card rates. Also, departure times may be accelerated or delayed by up to 3 hours.
|Delta Private Jets||Three tiers of peak days. Tier 1 includes 10 peak days, Tier 2 includes 15 peak days and Tier 3 includes 30 peak days.||120 hours||Charged an additional fee per hour, depending on the aircraft.|
|Sentient Jet||14|| 96 hours
|| Flights are billed at member's current cardholder hourly rates plus 5 percent.
|Flight Options||10|| 12 to 24 hours advance notice, depending on the card program the member holds.
|| There are no upcharges-all fees are included in the jet card plan.
The example peak days we've given above are for US based carriers. The operators in other countries have similar peak day requirements that are appropriate for local peak days and holidays. If you're looking at getting a jet card ask about the peak travel day terms for the providers you're assessing.
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