The topic of jet share has become a popular one, but it’s also highly misunderstood. Based on what you read in some corners of the internet, you might think that jet sharing is essentially like Uber for planes, wherein any person with a pilot’s license and a plane can offer rides to anyone willing to pay for them.
In reality, the growing landscape of jet rental apps spans a more sober range of services, from private jet charters, to something called “fraction jet ownership,” to sightseeing flights in scenic parts of the world. While these solutions have no doubt lowers the cost of enjoying private jet travel, they aren’t a parallel to what’s happened with terrestrial transport.
Is Jet Share Like Uber for Planes?
Let’s start with a sobering fact: The cheapest private jet is still way more expensive than the priciest first-class cabin, even with jet share applications. So while private jet flights are certainly more accessible than they’ve ever been, you still need to be a person of means in order to afford to fly one. Hundreds of millions of people around the world are not going to be able to avail jet sharing apps, at least not anytime this century.
Of course, if you are very wealthy and would have been in the market to rent a jet prior to the advent of these innovations, you will truly benefit from the enhancements that have come about in recent years. Below, let’s take a deeper look into some of the ways jet share applications can make the life of private jet users easier.
Variations on the Jet Share Business Model
Private Jet Rental
One thing that differentiates the major of private jet apps from being considered the flying Uber? The fact that they are essential outlets for private jet rental. While Uber determines a market value for you to pay to have a car and driver for a very short amount of time, private jet applications primarily focus on allowing you to rent the jet itself (and most of them don’t include the pilot—I hope you know how to fly!).
Fractional Private Jet Ownership
While it’s not a recipe for cheap private jet flights, certain private jet applications allow a better value proposition than renting one. Specifically, a concept known as “fractional” ownership means that a private jet basically belongs to you for a certain number of hours every month or year. You can think of this as timesharing for a private jet, which is a more apt comparison than Uber, Lyft or car sharing in general.
Private Jet Card Programs
On the other end of the jet share spectrum are private jet card programs. Rather than even flirting with the idea of ownership, purchase of this product entitles you to use a jet by the hour according to the membership you have signed up for. Some private jet card programs specialize on cities or regions within the United States or another country, while others have a more international scope that caters to global travelers.
Outright Private Jet Sales
Now that we’ve determined that Uber for private jets doesn’t exist and examined both of the extremes that would-be private jet passengers can use to enjoy this most exclusive form of travel, let’s talk about a somewhat un-sexy option. Namely, private jet purchase is probably the last option that interests you if you’re searching for an Uber-like solution, but some online private jet brokers offer incredible deals on planes, especially used ones or specific models.
Alternatives to Jet Share
Because jet sharing is not exactly like an Uber jet, it might not be for you—this can be as a result of price, convenience or any combination therein. Here are some alternatives:
- Fly in luxurious first-class cabins
- Purchase and learn to fly your own private jet
- Make friends with someone who owns a private jet
- Buy an RV and travel by land instead
Of course, you have little to lose by downloading your favorite jet app and playing around. You never know when your circumstances might change!
The Bottom Line
The bad news? Jet share is not like Uber for jets, at least not in the sense of cost and convenience. This is also good news too, of course, since the pilots and planes you book via a jet share app are significantly safer than your average Uber vehicle. Ultimately, if you are someone for whom private jet travel was a possibility in the era before applications such as JetApp, you’re probably going to find the innovations therein beneficial. However, the cost savings are likely not enough to open up private jets to a much larger segment of the population.