Category Archives: Charter Broker Updates

Wheels Up Memberships Available From Costco

CostoCostco Wholesale is now offering annual memberships to private flight membership program Wheels Up on  Offered at $17,500.00 for an annual individual membership, the purchaser is awarded a bonus $3,500 Costco Cash Card E-Voucher.

Membership regular price for individuals is $17,500 annually and corporations $29,500 annually according to Corporate Jet Investor.  Annual dues (starting second year) are then $8,500 for individuals and $14,500 for corporations, plus a fixed hourly price for each hour flown – the cost per hour of getting on the King Air is $4,295 per hour and the Citation Excel/XLS is $7,295 per hour according to a report from the private aviation industry resource.

By comparison charter rates for the King Air 350 average around $2,000 per hour in the US including fees and surcharges, and charter rates for the Citation Excel/XLS average $3,850 per hour, according to Rick Colson, president of New Flight Charters, a nationwide leader with a best price guarantee on every flight.  The Wheels Up program may be advantageous for those who (1) are frequent users – more than 150 hours per year to bring the total costs per hour down, and who (2) typically fly one-way flights or round trips over many days, according to Colson.  “A membership fee does not mean better hourly rates or reliability that the market.  Look at your historical or expected usage and compare costs,” he says.

Of note on a comparison basis, the King Air 350i requires 18% more flight time than light jets for the same trip, therefore flight costs increase 18% to $5,068 on trip cost comparison basis to light jets.

The Wheels Up fleet includes King Air 350i turboprops and Citation Excel/XLS midsize jets.  Costco offers the Wheels Up memberships in their section for Holiday, Gifts & Tickets > Hotels & Tourist Attractions.

– First published in 2015, last updated 10/9/17 to reflect Wheels Up price adjustments –

Prior Charter Alerts for Wheels Up
Wheels Up Gets $115 Million Investment From T.Rowe Price, Others
Citation Emergency, Door Opens in Flight – Live ATC recording
Wheels Up Takes Delivery of “Pink Plane In Time for October

Wheels Up Costco

XOJet and JetSmarter Partner Up with Real-time Booking App

On-demand and membership private jet charter firm XOJet today announced a strategic partnership with online charter broker JetSmarter that will combine the former’s service and fleet operations with the latter’s digital distribution capabilities. As part of the alliance, XOJet has named JetSmarter the exclusive digital distribution channel for the company’s fleet of midsize jets.

The core of the partnership is an XOJet-branded mobile app that allows clients to book real-time charter on its fleet of Cessna Citation Xs and Bombardier Challenger 300s. It will use JetSmarter’s technology and be available early next year. In addition, XOJet clients can book shared charter flights, shuttle flights by the seat and last-minute deals via the JetSmarter app. Meanwhile, through the JetSmarter app, members will receive real-time availability and preferred pricing at XOJet, comparable to the operator’s Preferred Access and Elite Access program clients.

Access to XOJet’s charter fleet will be available on the JetSmarter app starting October 1. The JetSmarter andXOJet apps will both be available for iOS and Android devices.

Source:  AIN Aviation International News

Private Jet Service New Flight Charters Is Awarded A+ Rating From Better Business Bureau

Jet Charter Company Also Awarded BBB Accreditation, Affirming It Meets And Will Abide By Certain Standards of Practice and Ethics.

private jet charter flightsU.S. air charter industry leader New Flight Charters announces the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has awarded it an A+ rating, according to a company press release.

The BBB has been tracking New Flight Charters since 2011, and the rating is based on 13 different factors revolving around customer satisfaction.  According to the BBB, factors that raised the rating for New Flight Charters include length of time in business (12 years) along with no complaints filed.

In addition, as of 2016 the BBB has determined that New Flight Charters is now a BBB Accredited Business, affirming that it meets and will continue to abide by the following BBB standards;  Build Trust, Advertise Honestly, Tell the Truth, Be Transparent, Honor Promises, Be Responsive, Safeguard Privacy and Embody Integrity.

Details on each of these and New Flight Charters Accreditation are available at the BBB review of New Flight Charters.

According to the BBB, their New Flight Charters Business Review includes background, licensing, consumer experience and other information, such as governmental actions, that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.

Source; company press release

Online Charter Broker Stratajet Gets $8M Influx For Booking Platform

Private jet charter booking platform Stratajet announced an influx of $8 million in additional funding. The new investment, which adds to $6 million in capital previously raised, came from London-based venture capital group Octopus Ventures, with support from Stratajet’s existing backers Playfair Capital and JamJar Investments.

stratajet logoUK-based Stratajet launched its platform to consumers earlier this year and according to the company has since generated more than 2 million charter flight quotes.

“This milestone of Stratajet generating two million quotes proves how effective our system can be at giving a wider range of travelers access to the private jet industry,” said Stratajet founder and CEO Jonny Nicol. “Unlike other online brokers, we can provide all customers with accurate prices without wasting the time of the operators.”

Sources:  AINonline, company press release

Other Charter Alerts for StrataJet: 9/17/15 Stratajet Set To Launch Online Charter Booking Engine

Why Are Some Private Jet Startups Failing, With Commercial Airlines Soaring?

— Private jet charters Blackjet, Blue Star Jets and Beacon, among others, have ended operations in recent months, citing funding difficulties as well as problems securing planes, among other issues. —

With commercial airlines soaring, why have some private jet start-ups failed?

By Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2016

The nation’s commercial airlines are reporting soaring profit margins and enough revenue to invest billions of dollars in new planes, airport lounges and even designer-made employee uniforms.

So why hasn’t that success extended to the fleet of private jet start-ups that launched in the last few years?

Private jet charters Blackjet, Blue Star Jets and Beacon, among others, have ended operations in recent months, citing funding difficulties as well as problems securing planes, among other issues.

Many of the new jet charter businesses have tried to jump on the popularity of the “shared economy,” with some comparing themselves to the ride-hailing business Uber. The private jet businesses have also promoted themselves as a way to avoid long airport security lines.


Captain Chris Pimentel, right, waits for passengers to board the SurfAir airplane at the Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Hawthorne last year. SurfAir is an all-you-can-fly membership airline. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

“There was this feeling that we have this unmet demand,” said Brad Stewart, chief executive and president of XOJET, a San Francisco-based charter jet business.

But according to industry experts, too many of the charters either overestimated the demand or underestimated the funding needed to keep the businesses in the air.

Commercial airlines can squeeze more seats into each cabin and use each jet as extensively as possible to keep costs down, but private charter jets don’t have that option, said Seth Kaplan, managing partner at the trade magazine Airline Weekly.

“The economics of small private jets are not the same as the economics of commercial carriers,” he said.

The most publicized failure was the sudden closure of Florida-based BlackJet, which was backed by tech executives and Hollywood celebrities including Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z and Will Smith. It collected annual membership fees of $3,000 and up plus fares starting at about $950 to share a ride on other people’s jets.

BlackJet Chief Executive Dean Rotchin wrote a letter to members of the business May 5, saying he was “abruptly ceasing Blackjet operations,” citing “bad press,” the departure of a “critical team member” and finance problems.

Source:  Los Angeles Times

Texas Aviation Start-Up Rise Adds Crowd Sourcing of Private Flights

By Mary Grady, Robb Report, May 10, 2016AdTech Ad

The private-flight service Rise, based in Dallas and launched last year, does not own any airplanes but has created a system to help travelers “crowd source” a charter flight aboard eight-seat Beechcraft King Air 350 twin turboprops.

A Rise Beechcraft King Air 350

With Rise, users pay a $750 deposit and a monthly fee starting at $1,650 for unlimited flights between five Texas cities. The flights are reserved online and scheduled on demand. Multiple users filling up the empty seats on the private plane effectively crowd source each trip and lower the cost compared to a traditional whole-aircraft charter. The company estimates that each private flight saves a traveler 3 hours round-trip compared to commercial flying or driving. Passengers board minutes before takeoff at general-aviation terminals equipped with free Wi-Fi, snacks, a comfortable lobby, free parking, and a bespoke concierge—saving time and energy compared to the main passenger terminals.

8-passenger interior of Rise’s Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft

To date, Rise operates 60 flights per week between the Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Midland airports, but the company says they will expand to six more cities, in Texas and beyond, this year. The company also recently added a new feature, Rise Anywhere, that enables members to crowd source a flight to select destinations including New Orleans, Aspen, and Telluride.

Rise partners with charter flight companies to ensure members will have access to planes, pilots and flights.  The Rise-branded King Air is operated by Monarch Air, a Part 135 charter operator based at Dallas’ Addison Airport.

Source: Article in Robb Report online

Other Charter Alerts about Rise:
All-You-Can-Fly ‘Rise’ Startup Nearly Doubles Texas Flights – Expands Cities
Texas’ All-you-can fly Rise Adds More to Fly
Private Jet Membership Set To Take Off In 2016

“Top 150 Empty Legs” Nationwide Listed by New Flight Charters

Source:  Company Press Release 5/2/16

All types of empty leg charters –  business turboprops through long range jets – available throughout the U.S.

New Flight Charters announced today that it is making available over 150 jet charter empty legs focused on the top private jet destinations nationwide.

These empty legs are available across the country, and are created when an aircraft needs to move for one reason or another, such as to pick up its owner, or returning home from a factory servicing, or returning to base after a charter flight.

This need to move the aircraft can result in low point-to-point pricing, and can be the absolute best values in private jet charter.

For example, a typical empty leg can be booked at around 50% the cost of a regular jet charter.

Currently, a Los Angeles to Las Vegas empty leg in a Beechjet 400A seating 8, lists at $2,900. While, a normal charter rate for this routing is around $6,000.

Click to view the complete list of available empty legs.

“The most common misperception is that empty legs are available between only those cities or airports listed,” said Rick Colson, President of New Flight Charters.

“Empty legs are usually listed as between two certain airports or cities because this is actually the departing and arrival points the aircraft is going, “he added.

“However, a charter can be flown anywhere along that very general route and direction. For example with a empty leg listed from Scottsdale, AZ to Philadelphia, PA, the aircraft can fly a charter from Los Angeles to New York at a discounted one-way price,” said Colson.

One-way charters may have a special cancellation clause because of their price advantage and their need to arrive at the other end.

The aircraft may have a charter booked after the current one-way, which is dependent on it being in that vicinity.

At any given time, hundreds of empty legs are scheduled in the jet charter industry.  New Flight Charters has culled them to 150 of the most popular destinations.  Any other destinations and routings can be searched by request.

Generally speaking floating fleet aircraft have a standard cancellation policy and true empty leg charters are non-cancelable upon booking.

Visit the nationwide empty legs list at or the specialty location Denver Jet Charter or Colorado Empty Legs for Denver, Aspen and other Colorado private jet charters.

Source:  Company press release

Broker and Membership Company BlackJet “Abruptly” Ceasing Operations May 5, 2016:

BlackJet, an on-demand private jet service created by Uber co-founder and chairman Garrett Camp, yesterday informed members that it is “abruptly” ceasing operations.

The Florida-based company was launched in 2012, with the financial backing of venture capital firms (including First Round Capital and CrunchFund), tech executives (including Mark Benioff and Matt Mullenweg) and celebrities (including Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z, and Will Smith).

The idea was basically to be Uber for the jet-set, eventually settling into a membership model whereby people paid an annual fee in exchange for access to a network of private jets on which they could book seats. But there were numerous hiccups (including layoffs and a prior service suspension), largely due to capital constraints that seem to have persisted. During the reorganization, Camp was among those who moved on (and gave up his investment).

In fact, TechCrunch inaccurately reported last month that the company had shut down, an incident that BlackJet CEO Dean Rotchin appears to have cited among the reasons for today’s decision (the story was later updated with a correction). A bigger one, however, was financing.

“We probably did more with less than anyone but it’s a critical mass business… There’s a reason why ‘critical’ is part of ‘critical mass,’” Rotchin tells Fortune. “The members were super supportive, the VCs wanted to see our progress continue over a longer period prior to jumping in. There are some aggressive interesting models out there today, someone will make this work.”

Below is Rotchin’s full email to members:

Dear Member:

It is with great regret and personal disappointment that I need to report the following.
Recent events have resulted in abruptly ceasing BlackJet operations.

In the last few days, there was some inaccurate bad press that stunted membership sales, a critical team member stepped down unexpectedly, near-term and longer term financing opportunities were delayed, and it became impossible to continue.

I personally appreciate the amazing support from most of our members. Perhaps I did not do a good enough job of reinforcing the fact that the membership was the key to the ability to deliver the service. Some members were so supportive, and I feel it is important to highlight this aspect because it became evident how most members tried to be as helpful, flexible and cooperative as possible. This was and is very much appreciated.

We are widely considered the pioneers in this field, and we know someone will leverage our learning and crack the code for making the private airfields and private jet fleet affordable and accessible as a part of the US transportation system. Your vision and involvement as early adopters helped to progress this ideal closer to fruition.

Please accept my thanks for your support, and also my sincere apologies for the inconvenience and disappointment this causes.


Source:  Fortune online article May 5, 2016

Exclusive Charter Launches Fixed-Rate Flights to Cuba

Exclusive Charter Service is introducing special fixed-rate charters from various U.S. airports into the country’s main gateway, José Martí International Airport, according to a release from the company.

Flights in one of the company’s seven-passenger Piaggio Avanti II twin turboprops from Palm Beach International will be priced at $9,000 each way, or $10,000 from Fort Lauderdale or Miami and $11,000 from Orlando.

In a Hawker 800XP, the Palm Beach rate is $10,500, rising to $13,500 from Fort Lauderdale or Miami and $15,500 from Orlando.  The same aircraft charter from New York’s JFK International Airport is priced at $19,500.

Exclusive’s clearance to operate into Cuba extends to 17 other airports in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Key West, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Fort Myers, Tampa and Washington. It can also offer another 10 different aircraft types, including the Gulfstream G650.

Cuba flights are operated by Custom Jet Charters, LLC.

Meanwhile, the Florida-based company recently launched a membership program called Aero Club. With an annual membership fee, members receive fixed point-to-point flight-hour pricing for various categories of aircraft.

Source:  AIN Online

Flight Options Preps Move To Charter Operations

Flight Options moved forward on Friday with an offer of voluntary separation packages to its pilots as the company lays the groundwork to transform from a fractional operation into an on-demand charter business over the next 12 to 18 months. Flight Options sister operation Flexjet previously made the offer as the two companies begin to reshape their operations, retiring some of the older modelaircraft and moving others into charter.

SkyjetFlight Options will rebrand as Skyjet, a former Bombardier brand that parent company Directional Aviation recently revived to provide charter brokerage services.

The moves are made as parent company Directional Aviation realigns its more recently acquired Flexjet and Flight Options into complementary services rather than competitors. To help differentiate itself as a planned charter-only entity, Flight Options will rebrand as Skyjet, a former Bombardier brand that Directional initially revived in 2014 to provide charter brokerage services.

Voluntary separation packages are being offered to Flight Options pilots through April 30 as the companies seek to reduce the pilot workforce by 70 positions. Directional principal and Flight Options chairman Kenn Ricci told Aviation International News that this comes as on-demand requires less staffing than fractional. The packages were initially offered to Flexjet pilots, who recently voted for representation by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) but were not yet under a collective bargaining agreement.

Flight Options, which previously had been represented by the IBT, sought union approval to make the offer to its pilots, but the union rejected the request. Flight Options moved forward regardless, and between Flexjet and Flight Options, had 80 pilots indicate plans to accept the agreements—exceeding the company’s goal.

The union has, instead, been pushing for a furlough protection plan that would give all furloughed pilots the equivalent of 12 months of compensation. The IBT had expressed concerns that the voluntary program would primarily affect less senior pilots who would not qualify for the maximum benefit.

The company management, however, disagreed with the IBT stance. “I refuse to accept the notion that a pilot, under the employ of this company, does not have the right to decide his or her own future,” Ricci said in announcing plans to move forward with the voluntary package offers. “It is unconscionable that the Teamsters should unilaterally try to take away a voluntary and materially beneficial option.”

Source:  AINonline, by Kerry Lynch

Wheels Up Expands Flight Offerings, Partners With Broker Apollo Jets

Wheels up

Wheels Up dedicated fleet of King Air 350 and Citation Excel aircraft, operated by Gama Aviation.  Photo: Wheels Up

Private aviation membership company Wheels Up announced new product offerings and the launch of a new 8760 Membership tier, both of which enhance the Wheels Up brand, according to a press release from the company.

“Wheels Up is a forward-thinking company always looking to be ahead of the curve and we are committed to delivering innovation to our membership,” said Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up Founder and CEO. “Our members tell us what they want and how they want it. Our mission is to simplify their travel in a complex world.”

New Wheels Up Membership Features:

  • Shuttles: the opportunity for members to purchase seats on scheduled private shuttles traveling to and from popular events and destinations.
  • Hot Flights: a selection of one-way, “empty-leg” flights that are posted daily to the Wheels Up App and updated in real-time.  According to Dichter, “This feature has taken off and our members tell us that they now check Wheels Up Hot Flights before Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.”
  • Flight Desk for charter flights: a dedicated flight desk with offerings to complement the Wheels Up signature fleet of Beechcraft King Air 350i and Citation Excel/XLS aircraft. Wheels Up Flight Desk arranges charter flights for members who are traveling longer ranges, with more than eight passengers and/or desire a larger plane. Wheels Up requires stringent safety standards, working only with FAA and DOT licensed operators who pass a full onsite audit. “With this addition, Wheels Up is now a total private aviation solution and can fulfill any request, continued Dichter.
  • 8760 Experiences: a new unique lineup of experiences available to Wheels Up Members that include private “meet-and-greet” opportunities with top athletes and entertainers, as well as complimentary tickets and suite access to world-class sporting events, in-demand concerts and family shows in cities across the country. “This is a new roster of events available to our members, in addition to our Wheels Down roster of events, which we offer. We are building a lifestyle brand and we want to be in our members’ lives both in the air and on the ground,” Dichter added.

8760 Membership Tier

Wheels Up launched the new 8760 Membership which allows its members a lower cost of entry through a partnership with charter broker Apollo Jets, and access to multiple benefits: Wheels Up Ride Share, Hot Flights and Flight Desk programs; non-guaranteed access to the Wheels Up fleet at higher occupied hourly rates; a lineup of 8760 Experiences, select Wheels Down events, a member benefits program; a members only 8760 app.

“8760 Membership creates the opportunity for more people to join Wheels Up and is a benefit to existing Wheels Up Members specifically for ride-sharing.” said Dichter.

Memberships are also available from Costco; Wheels Up membership price.

With Gama Aviation, operating its flights, the Wheels Up fleet numbers 45 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin turboprops and 15 Cessna Citation Excel/XLS jets. As of April 2016 Wheels Up is reporting 2,300 members.

Source: company press release

U.K. Charter Broker Opens U.S. Office

privatefly jet charterJet charter brokerage PrivateFly has opened a dedicated U.S. office at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.  The European company says the launch is a key step forward in its ambitious U.S. growth plans, following strong sales over the past two years.

The new team in Florida will handle U.S. client flight sales for any global route. PrivateFly says the location of Miami/Fort Lauderdale was also chosen specifically to target a growing private jet audience in the area – a popular luxury travel destination in its own right, and a key connection point for the Caribbean, Mexico and South America.

“PrivateFly’s model is attracting interest from U.S. business aviation customers, who now represent a third of our flight sales,” said PrivateFly CEO Adam Tidwell.  “Florida is the third busiest state for business aviation, after Texas and California.  Its private aviation traffic rose by 3 percent in 2015 following the overall U.S. trend, but we expect the first half of 2016 to see greater growth of around 6 to 8 percent. ”

Source:  company press release

Nationwide Private Jet Charter Service Celebrates Twelve Years Growth, Milestones In Charter Flight Industry

Large Selection, Best Price Guarantee and Industry Reputation Propel Jet Charter Favorite New Flight Charters

U.S. private jet charter leader New Flight Charters this month celebrates its 12th anniversary and record growth, arranging and providing charter flights in the US and worldwide, according to a press release from the company.

Since the company was founded in 2004, the private jet charter industry has experienced tumultuous ups and downs, just in recent times appearing to be confidently climbing out following the 2008 recession.

Private Jet Charter Company Best Ratings Reviews

Private jet charter flight company New Flight Charters, celebrating 12 years growth in 2016

During this time, charter flight company New Flight Charters was growing and profitable 11 of the 12 years, including being awarded to the Inc.500 fastest growing companies list every year from 2009 to 2012, a testament to its service level and returning customers.

Different from most air charter brokerages whose key personnel come from sales jobs outside of aviation, New Flight Charters’ founders had a history in private aviation and were active private and commercial pilots.

“Coming from a background of flight operations and being the one responsible for the customer experience and service, we look at arranging charters quite differently than most,” states Rick Colson, New Flight Charters’ Founder and President, “It’s about the experience, trust and reputation.”

Now with a Charter Management Senior Team of six and a cumulative 46 years in air charter, 51 years FAA-certified experience, 104 years executive management experience and over 17,500 hours personal flight experience, New Flight Charters boasts one of the most experienced and respected teams in the industry.  The company arranges over 1,400 flights each year.

“The largest number of compliments we receive are about our people,” Colson adds.

New Flight Charters has good reason to celebrate;  not only twelve years of consistent growth and success, but recognition as a favorite in the industry and as an air charter role model.

Company Milestones:

  • 2005 Qualified as Registered U.S. Government Contractor, qualified and accepted to the CCR-Central Contractor Registry and SAM-System Award Management.
  • 2006 Awarded Credit Rating by D&B, Dun & Bradstreet, the world’s leading provider of business information for credit, marketing and sales decisions worldwide.  New Flight Charters’ rating and company details are available publicly through D&B online at
  • 2008 Began aircraft ownership and management, placed on a charter operator’s certificate and separately operating it under FAR Part-91 for business.
  • 2009 Launches Best Price Guarantee, assuring New Flight Charters fliers receive the best price in the total market for each and every flight.
  • 2009-2012 Achieves the Inc. 500|5000 fastest growing list four consecutive years, earning the distinction of fastest growing private jet service nationwide.
  • 2010 Publishes Five Questions For Your Air Charter Service, to help private fliers manage risks and ensure a quality and reputable organization is handling their private charter flight.
  • 2011 First in the industry to provide a Company Credentials Report, or anything like it, providing company history, financial, personnel and business credentials to charter industry partners, vendors and clients for review and evaluation.
  • 2011 Passes audit examination by the IRS Excise Tax Division, no changes ordered.
  • 2011-2012 The Most Recommended Jet Charter Service in the world’s largest charter marketplace.  Air charter professionals, operators and brokers publicly recommend charter companies in the market and post comments on their service, history and experiences.
  • 2012-2014 Testing and proving company for groundbreaking industry resource FlightList PRO, featuring the only complete air charter listing directory in the U.S. and 131 countries worldwide.
  • 2013 New Flight Charters’ Five Questions For Your Air Charter Service is adopted and published by The Air Charter Safety Foundation based in Washington D.C. as a consumer guide to chartering an aircraft and made available as a free download at
  • 2013 launches the free Club New Flight, with special member charter discounts, complimentary ground transportation and custom catering, and advance information on empty legs special pricing and new charter aircraft.
  • 2014 Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary as leading private jet charter company, offers special discounts, promotions and free flight concierge experiences.
  • 2015 Achieves 14% growth year over year, more than quadruples total industry trend numbers of 2.9%.
  • 2016 Awarded Better Business Bureau Accreditation, A+ rating. Rating based on 13 factors and no negative information since BBB’s New Flight Charters file opened in 2011.

About New Flight Charters
New Flight Charters arranges over 1,400 separate domestic and international flights each year, with top-rated operator aircraft at leading jet charter rates.  Extensive client and industry reviews are available on the New Flight Charters website.  The private jet charter company serves a wide variety of clientele including Fortune 500 companies, government heads of state, presidential campaigns, entertainment icons, private families and entrepreneurs.  For charter quotes, information or the latest updates, call (800) 732-1653 or visit nationwide or new specialty location Denver Jet Charter for Denver, Aspen and other Colorado private jet charters.

Source: New Flight Charters press release

Startup Company Member Jets Crowdsources Private Flights To Cut Costs, Save Time

By: Bobby Burch  – – 

Overland Park startup Member Jets crowdsources private flights to cut costs, save time

Member Jets CEO Ty Carter

An Overland Park, KS tech firm is bringing charter flights to the masses with its crowdsourcing platform that reduces the costs to fly in swanky private jets.

Founded in 2015, Member Jets created a private aviation community that connects travelers to discounted private flights by aggregating available seats and travel opportunities. Now used at Kansas City’s Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport and the Johnson County Executive Airport, Member Jets is accepting members for its club, which targets businesses and entrepreneurs that highly value their time.

“We’re trying to create a trading environment for aviation,” Member Jets CEO Ty Carter said. “We bring the price point down so you’re not buying an entire airplane — you buy a seat like you would on a commercial airline. But instead of a commercial flight, you’re on a private jet without all the hassles.”

To use the service, a would-be traveler buys a Member Jets membership and creates a profile, indicating preferences and frequent domestic destinations. For safety, the user also must go through a background check and be in good standing with the TSA.

A member can then search, request, select, book and, if desired, share the aircraft with other members, driving down costs.The platform also can notify users of travel opportunities to a desired locale.

A pilot for more than 25 years, Carter said that Member Jets not only reduces private flight costs but also drastically cuts down on travel time when compared to a commercial flight. In addition to skipping security and check-in lines and the option to park on a nearby tarmac, private flights are direct to the desired location.

For example, Carter said that Member Jets can cut off about five hours of travel time on a round trip flight to Denver, six hours to New York City and eight hours to Los Angeles.

And in a world where time is money, Carter said the efficiencies are significant to a business’s bottom line.

“For an entrepreneur whose time is extremely valuable — every minute is important,” Carter said. “Standing in line at airports and the commercial hassles are not efficient. … I’ve seen the advantages of what private air allows you to do — it’s like a time capsule. Your productivity is much higher.”

While still more expensive when compared to commercial flights, Carter said Member Jets’ flights are cheaper than chartering an entire plane. For example, a private one-way flight to Austin, Texas costs about $800 for a 1-hour-and-40-minute flight.

The company is currently only operating out of the Kansas City area but is looking to expand to Denver and Atlanta. Some of its common destinations include St. Louis, Omaha, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Austin, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Wichita, New York City, Denver and other.

Image by Member jets

Image by Member jets

Source:  STARTLAND-Kansas City’s Home For Innovation News

Blue Star Jets Fades to Black, Charter Broker Going Out Of Business

Blue Star Jets is fading to black.

The private-jet-chartering company — named after the airline in the 1987 film “Wall Street” — is quietly going out of business after 16 years.

Todd Rome, Blue Star’s president, is now working with his bigger former rival, Apollo Jets. Ricky Sitomer, Blue Star’s CEO who co-founded the company with Rome, is “doing his own thing,” Rome said.

Blue Star, which sponsored Bridgehampton Polo for five summers and advertised in upscale magazines, will disappear.

“The more volume you do, the better pricing you get,” Rome told me. “We feel our efforts combined will take over this industry.”

Apollo was founded by Al Palagonia, the handsome pal of Spike Lee who once did time for pump-and-dump stock fraud schemes.

Source:  Page Six article April 14, 2016, By Richard Johnson

ARGUS Announces Charter Operator Ratings Integration with

ARGUSARGUS International, Inc. (ARGUS) is pleased to announce a new software integration with the online charter marketplace, ARGUS is now the exclusive operator ratings provider for the online Charter Marketplace.

This integration allows users to filter their searches to obtain ARGUS rated charter operators, and verify these operators’ legitimacy through a click-to-verify system.

“ARGUS wants to make sure that today’s web-based consumers have the ability to perform high level due-diligence while checking availability and price”, said ARGUS President and CEO, Joe Moeggenberg. “The internet’s ability to connect charter brokers, end consumers and suppliers in an efficient manner has become very important to the overall charter marketplace. ARGUS performs its own research on every website that seeks an integration with our ratings, and we were extremely impressed with how quickly and efficiently allows users to perform their searches and book their trips.

“I couldn’t be more excited to introduce the only online platform that enables clients to book private flights, instantly,” said Charles Denault, Founder and CEO of “Integrating the ARGUS ratings into our platform was a high priority for us, as many of our customers only fly with ARGUS rated charter operators. We are thrilled to announce the completion of this integration and are very much looking forward to helping the charter marketplace evolve with quicker and easier transactions.”

Source:  ARGUS Press Release

28% Fourth Quarter Growth, 14% Annual Growth Announced by New Flight Charters

Nationwide Air Charter Services Company Jets Over Industry Growth Rate, Reports Increased Charter Demand and a Movement From Light Jets to Midsize Jet Charters.

(Marketwire) February 3, 2016, – New Flight Charters, a nationwide leader in private jet charter services since 2004, announced today a 14 percent increase in 2015 charter business over 2014.  Fourth Quarter 2015 saw explosive growth in charter business, up 28 percent over the same period in 2014.

Jackson Hole Jet Charter

New Flight Charters at Jackson Hole Airport

Growth during the year was seen from an increased demand in repeat business, new business and a general move in demand from smaller aircraft to larger aircraft charters.  Fourth Quarter saw a notable movement from light jets to midsize jet charters in particular, and December featured large increases in both the number of charters – up 28 percent, and average charter spend – up 18 percent, compared to December 2014.

New Flight Charters arranged over 1,400 flights in 2015.

2015 increases more than quadrupled industry trend numbers for the year; market analyst Argus reported a flight activity increase of 2.9 percent for 2015 across private aviation segments including charter and Part-91, and projects a similar size increase moving forward into 2016.

New Flight Charters attributes beating industry trends to several factors including its continuous flight-by-flight service level, and the company’s unique entrée to the full U.S. Part-135 aircraft market.  Not restricted to a sourcing pool or marketing network as is common in the industry, the company can provide more availability and better pricing options, including 218 additional one-way priced aircraft nationwide, along with its Best Price Guarantee for every flight.

“The combination of our aircraft availability, our long term expert team and our service level is growing our repeat business,” said New Flight Charters president Rick Colson.  “We continue to gain business from experienced charter fliers and jet card holders who try us, like the service, and come back.  Without a large deposit or financial commitment to us up front, we have to earn every single charter.  It keeps you on your toes, and not surprisingly our clients like that.”  The company was top rated in a previous industry survey.

The one-of-a-kind air charter company features an acclaimed six-member charter service team with a cumulative 48 years in air charter, 49 years FAA-certified experience, 99 years executive management experience, 17,400 hours pilot-in-command, and includes private and commercial pilots and retired law enforcement.

About New Flight Charters

Since 2004 New Flight Charters has arranged private domestic and international flights with top-rated operator aircraft at leading jet charter quotes, along with its Best Price Guarantee, industry empty legs list, and a perfect safety history.  Extensive client and industry reviews are available on the New Flight Charters website.  As a registered U.S. government contractor, and named to the Inc. 500 fastest growing list four consecutive years, the jet charter company serves a wide variety of clientele including Fortune 500 companies, government heads of state, presidential campaigns, entertainment icons, private families and entrepreneurs.

For charter quotes, information or the latest updates, call (800) 732-1653 or visit nationwide or new specialty location Denver Jet Charter for Denver, Aspen and all Colorado private jet charters.

Source:  Marketwire News Release

Etihad Airways And Private Jet Charter Company Victor Announce Partnership

VictorEtihad Airways has announced a new partnership with private jet charter broker Victor, to complement and promote its exclusive The Residence and First Apartment cabins, both available on the airline’s Airbus A380 fleet. The partnership also allows customers the ultimate convenience of chartering a seamless private aircraft connection to or from their international A380 flights.

Read full article with information and comments from Victor as well as Etihad Airways, online Albawaba Business.

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways

VolJet: Creating An Online Booking System For Private Jet Charters

The idea of creating a technology enabled marketplace is one of the biggest trends among startups today. However, how does that work for something like the highly fragmented, negotiation heavy business of charter jets? Los Angeles-based VolJet ( is looking to solve that puzzle, with its online system for booking charter jets, just as you would a commercial flight. We caught up with CEO Susan Sloan to learn more.

Story by Benjamin F. Kuo, from, 12/7/15

What is VolJet?

Susan Sloan: It’s very similar to a commercial, online booking system, like It’s very user friendly, and will be a familiar experience to users. You go on to the site, put your city paris in, and you get back several results. You can also get commercial results for commercial bookings. We’re the only system for private jets, which also offers up commercial airline operations as well. Once you go in, you have several options, from taking a commercial airline, to chartering your own jet, joining another charter, and even opening up your own charter to share with others, if you don’t mind sharing with one or two other people.

Who are your customers?

Susan Sloan: The market segment that we are going after, is the market that pays full fare first class, but has never chartered a jet before. If you have ever tried to charter a jet, it’s a real hassle, and it’s very negotiation intensive. You never get a “buy now” price. All of our pricing is buy now, and the price you see is the price you pay, versus many of the extras you have to pay for when you charter your own jet normally. There’s no negotiation, no haggling, no back and forth. The current system is very labor intensive, in that you’ll call someone for a quote, and they call you back maybe 24 hours later, and you have to go back and forth several times. With our service, it’s very simple, you don’t have to self identify until you book a flight. You can go onto our site, cruise around the site, and only when you decide to book a trip do you have to put in your credit card information and name. It’s also non-membership, so you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to get access to information on the site or to book a flight.

What’s your background?

Susan Sloan: I’m a mechanical engineer, and have been in aerospace for 35 years as an executive. I’m also a private pilot. My other founder also is a private pilot. I had been flying private jets, and I realized they were going one leg of the flight back empty. That’s not good for the environment, it’s not goo for the jet, and it’s not good for the customer, or the industry. There are three of us, and my co-founder, Rabe, and I decide there has to be a business here. Plus, we thought it shouldn’t be so hard to charter a jet. That’s how we created this thing.

What areas can people book flights to?

Susan Sloan: It’s all of the U.S. We have our own database we’ve created of 921 airports, and we have created algorithms to make sure the right aircraft is being used for the right city pair and distance. Also, each of the airports have different runway lengths, and offer different services at those airports. Right now, we’re in the U.S. Only, but we’re looking at Europe for our next launch, probably by the end of next year.

The market for charter flights is very fragmented, and there are a lot of charter operators – how have they reacted to your service?

Susan Sloan: It’s been a great benefit to charter operators. Our idea is to be a win-win-win for all around. It’s got to be a win for the customer in terms of ease of booking and saving time, and we want to be a win for operators, by bringing them more revenue and filling more planes. It’s also a win for the industry. The aviation industry is a great industry, and we want to make sure it has a good growth trajectory. On our site, operators have their own portal. There’s both a customer portal, and an operator portal, where they can sign up. They don’t have to pay a membership. Those operators can see all of the groups requesting flights, and where they want to go, what their revenue will be with taxes and everything split out, and they can select a group and assign a plane. That approach is 180 degrees from everyone else. It’s on our tagline, we are bringing people to planes, rather than planes to people. We’re trying to get those empty legs filled. We have a patent pending on our system and methodology, which is definitely unique.

What’s the hardest part of making this business work?

Susan Sloan: It takes time. It takes time to actually get the system perfect and right, with all of that programming. We have several programmers on board who are working on that. It takes a lot of tenacity, you can’t give up. Obviously, we love this business, we love aviation, we love traveling, and we love flying. If we didn’t have that, we would have given up. It’s been a long road, but it’s pretty exciting as we’ve launched and are now getting good feedback.

Finally, what are the next steps for you?

Susan Sloan: Our next step, is to really ramp up the number of flights, and get the word out about VolJet.

Full article and interview in here.

Regal Wings Announces New Private Jet Charter Division

Regal WingsRegal Wings Press Release 12/3/15
SOURCE Regal Wings

Since its inception over ten years ago, Regal Wings has earned a well-deserved reputation as an award winning luxury travel firm which specializes in first and business class ticketing, one satisfied client at a time. With our over the top customer service and the ability to access unpublished fares at the lowest possible prices, we have caught attention from A-list companies and high profile celebrities alike, as well as accolades from Inc. Magazine, Frommers, and Crain’s New York Business.

In our never ending quest to provide the highest possible level of service, we have launched an elite Private Jet Charter division which takes our legendary personal attention and unbeatable fares to new heights. As private aviation specialists we have secured relationships with major private jet operators in the United States, and our strong buying power gives us access to the quality fares that are not available anywhere else.

Regal Wings is proud to announce that we have joined forces for this launch with Steven Kramer who is the founder and CEO of Oceans Capital. Steven brings his boundless expertise of the private jet industry to our new business jets division, and under his watch we will bring an unparalleled experience. Our talented team will serve each client to ensure that every aspect of their journey whether it is domestic or international will meet the unsurpassed Regal standards, and that every jet carries the highest of safety ratings.

“We invite you to fly with our new private aviation team to have us take you to the loftiest of heights,” said Regal Wings CEO Eli Ostreicher. “We are completely confident that with our world class customer service and industry leading rates, that once you embark with us you will never journey with anybody else.”

SOURCE Regal Wings