Even though the initial slam of the pandemic slowed private jet charters, industry research is showing that the industry has returned to its prior numbers—and is even surpassing them!
Most private jet charter companies are reporting business on or above their average traffic, and we are seeing this also at RAI Jets. We’re also welcoming an unprecedented amount of first-time and newer customers trying out private jet charter for their personal travel.
Why? We think the pandemic has a lot to do with it. Initially, the pandemic caused a flurry of activity as adult children called us to rescue their elderly snowbird parents from the southern states and other people returned from their second homes to prepare for a lockdown. Then, like most air carriers, business stalled due to the increasing travel restrictions across the country. However, it was relatively short-lived. Business bounced back a month or so later when travel restrictions began to lift and the advantages of private charter came to the attention of a wider audience. Because of the pandemic, today’s regular and emerging jet charter traveler are choosing jet charter for entirely different reasons than we’ve seen in the past. How has the thinking of the current jet charter customer changed? In three main ways…
Attitudes on safety have changed.
In the past, aircraft safety meant the machine itself and the competency of the pilot. While this is still true, the definition has extended to the idea of safety in the aircraft environment as well. At RAI Jets, we have always kept our aircraft impeccably clean for customers but when the pandemic was at its height, we added another layer of safety with our COVID preparedness program. We opted to keep our passengers as safe as possible with an application of MicroShield 360. And as always, our jet charter customers continue to appreciate not having to worry about social distancing, thanks to a smaller, roomy cabin and of course, control of the passenger list! For anyone boarding our flights who is still concerned about safety from COVID-19, we are happy to give them peace of mind.
Attitudes on value have changed.
Supposedly, 90 percent of the population wealthy enough to afford jet charter is not using it. For many who take a pass, they see it as an unnecessary luxury. They are perfectly comfortable in commercial first class, they don’t fly much at all, or they just don’t see enough of a reason to spend the money. The pandemic changed that. The once-resistant prospective customer is now viewing private jet charter as a good value. Our first-timer customers have become repeat customers once they experienced the many benefits of jet charter. Likewise, businesses who used jet charter to fly their top-tier executives began to extend private flights for the first time to other employees are well. When they realized the time savings for their company, in addition to health benefits for the employees, they became repeat customers too!
Attitudes on life have changed.
The pandemic and the months in quarantine have given us all the opportunity to step back and reevaluate life. So many of us missed life’s momentous events, like births, deaths and weddings, or were separated from loved ones for agonizing amounts of time. Now that the pandemic is waning, some of us have decided it’s time to “get back” to life, or, as the more anxious among us see it—hurry up and do what you want to do before another pandemic closes us down again! So we help people take that trip they’ve been putting off. Or visit a friend or relative they haven’t seen in so long. Or spend more time at the second home. And for some, trying private jet charter is something on their bucket list. It’s just something they’ve always wanted to do so they decided to go for it.
We’re convinced the pandemic has helped instill a sense of immediacy in the thinking of the typical jet charter traveler. They’re more likely to give us a try with their concerns for health and safety, efficiency and value at top of mind. They also want to live life well. And anyone who’s ever been there will tell you that there’s no better way to fly than in a private jet. Pandemic or no pandemic, it’s the one constant that will never change!