Without a doubt, if you’re a frequent traveler on private jets, participating in a jet card program is the most convenient way to go. Jet card programs allow frequent flyers to use the “points” or “hours” they have purchased in blocks, allowing you the luxury to fly on-demand without having to go through the formal quote process. A jet card is perfect for the customer who needs to streamline their charter flight process and enjoy a set rate every time they fly.
But it’s important to know that private jet charter is a highly regulated industry which necessarily entails fees and charges beyond the actual hours the plane is in the air. (For example, the government charges a 7.5% Federal Excise Tax (FET) on jet charter flights.) So as a private jet traveler wishing to purchase a jet card, it’s good to know what these fees are. Most importantly, however, it is good to know if the fees can be paid through the jet card, or if they will be billed separately.
Here are some questions to ask before you put down money on that jet card.
Is the rate given in the card price guaranteed or will it fluctuate with the market? Jet charter companies should be able to determine your needs and lock in a mutually agreed upon rate based on the trips you plan to take and the state of the industry at the time you purchase the jet card. While unexpected events happen that can affect the cost of aviation (like a pandemic!), jet card customers are reliable customers. You should be able to get some assurance from your jet charter company that they will give you warning and work with you fairly on any unexpected price adjustments. At RAI Jets we always do our best to anticipate our customer’s needs and give them the best jet card for their travel.
Is there a restricted service area for my rate? Most jet cards cover domestic flights but a higher rate may be available for international flights. Be sure to understand your jet card’s specifications.
Are there membership fees for a jet card? It is common for jet cards to have “membership fees,” however, the jet cards at RAI Jets do not. Membership fees at other charter companies can cost a significant annual fee in addition to the cost of the jet card.
What jet charter fees are not included in my card’s hourly rate? Many fees associated with jet charter are regulated and beyond the control of the jet charter company. These will be delineated in the jet card agreement. For example, the federal segment tax may vary between flights because it is calculated per passenger. If a passenger brings a pet along and the aircraft needs special cleaning of the interior afterwards, that may incur an additional fee. Also, peak travel times (holidays) may incur a different rate but such an arrangement would be spelled out for you in your jet card agreement.
What does my rate include? Jet charter companies must consider all your needs in detail to come up with the most accurate rate for them and the most desirable rate for you. Jet cards offer the best rate for one-way, drop off and pick up flights. RAI Jet customers receive the best of both worlds when it comes to roundtrip flights. They can use their jet card or a standard roundtrip rate. At RAI Jets your rate also includes flight essentials such as standard catering (special orders may be arranged ahead of time for an additional fee), crew, and WiFi.
However, you should also be aware of other fees that are not so predictable. Your jet charter company may need to necessarily charge back fees to you, such as….
- Fuel price surcharges because of unexpectedly changing fuel prices. You may be asked to make up the difference between projected and actual cost, depending on your jet card agreement.
- De-icing fees which may be necessary depending on destination and the weather.
- Changing fees for permits, customs and taxes, most commonly at international destinations.
- Diversion Costs in case you must take a longer route or make a stop because of weather or unforeseen circumstances.
As you can see, having a jet card offers a predictable rate for any flight—pre-planned or unexpected. Just be sure to ask questions and clearly understand the jet card agreement. Remember that the company you will be working with and the relationship you have with them is just as important as the jet card program. Choose one that will work with you as a partner to serve your needs best. And if RAI Jets can be that partner for you, please reach out to us about our jet card program at 800-247-2834 or visit us online.