There are many companies that offer jet card programs, but like any investment, you need to do your due diligence before signing on. The types of companies that offer cards fall into three broad categories. The large fractional operators all have jet card programs, other large fleet operators also offer cards (or sometimes they are called "access" or "executive" programs), and then a lot of charter brokers also offer jet cards.
If emerging trends in the aviation industry are anything to go by, then the private flying sector will witness a growth in the next twenty years that is 10 times any the industry has observed in the last 50 years. Very light jets (VLJs) are raring to go and will have an impact on all aspects of private flying from full ownership, to fractional jets, charter, jet cards and the nascent air-taxi business. The rollout is already underway with the delivery of the first very light jet into a fractional program at Jet-Alliance.
Making a cost effective and educated choice is all important when traveling by private aircraft. The right choice, based on your needs including your typical travel patterns and budget, takes a little research to fully understand the options. We'll cover each of the private flying options in outline form here, with links to more information.
A closed fleet or fractional jet card is a popular method of experiencing the benefits of private aviation. You get to fly on some of the latest, well maintained, consistent aircraft, without having to commit to the large investment or length of time that fractional ownership or whole aircraft ownership requires. Jet cards give members access to prepaid blocks of flying time hours, with 25 hours being by far the most common size.
Several companies offer "open fleet" or jet charter cards. These companies may either have their own aircraft fleets that they manage and/or may charter aircraft on the open market to meet the flying needs of their members. An "open fleet" jet card provider usually does not own any aircraft. They use aircraft from other charter operators, and/or from aircraft in a fleet that they may manage but do not own. Hence the "open fleet", it's potentially open to any available aircraft.
Aircraft charter has been around for a long time. It allows you to make use of a given plane for a given journey without any other long term commitment. There are thousands of aircraft available for charter, covering all sizes of planes from single engine turboprops to large executive jets. There are also a large number of air charter companies, who each provide their own level of service.
There are many reasons to use private jets. The main general reasons that we hear most often are listed below. The specific pros and cons of the different forms of private aircraft travel are discussed in our articles on each travel type.
When you buy a fractional jet share you are paying for part ownership of a specific plane. You will be allocated an amount of time in the aircraft. This usually ranges between 50 - 400 hours of flight time per year. The number of hours depends on the size of the share.
The companies below all provide fractional aircraft ownership. You'll find companies offering ownership in all types of planes from heavy executive jets to single engined turboprops. The table includes the geographic area that the fractional program is available in.