JetSmarter - discussion and experiences

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JetSmarter is a membership program that allows members to fly on empty legs of private jets (JetDeals) and seats on scheduled private jet shuttles (JetShuttle).
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Old Aug 7, 18, 11:11 am
  #2191  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
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See the JetSmarter Litigation thread on Flyertalk, just created today by another user. The End is Near.
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Old Aug 7, 18, 11:26 am
  #2192  
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Originally Posted by Mike Azzarello View Post
See the JetSmarter Litigation thread on Flyertalk, just created today by another user. The End is Near.
via jet card comparisons: https://privatejetcardcomparisons.co...sales-tactics/

The by-the-seat private jet membership program is being sued for not delivering on its promises of free flights



JetSmarter appears to be headed for stormy skies once again. On Friday a couple from New Jersey filed a lawsuit against the Ft. Lauderdale-based seller of seats on scheduled private jet flights. The complaint by Kathleen and Ronald Jackson alleges they were misled by a salesperson and after spending $23,000 with the promise of free private jet flights, they learned that for the flights they wanted there were, in fact, additional charges – some more than $5,000 per seat, per flight.



The Jacksons apparently purchased two memberships in December 2017 with the understanding that they would be able to fly on the JetSmarter scheduled private jet charter flights at no additional costs. After signing up they say they were notified that there were per-leg charges ranging from $990 to $5,885. They are seeking at least $250,000, plus punitive damages, counsel fees, and additional relief.



The action comes as JetSmarter members on the website Flyertalk say they are contemplating a Class Action lawsuit claiming that the most recent changes the provider made during May and June have dramatically impacted the value of the memberships they purchased.



In the filing, the Jacksons claim that the additional fees JetSmarter wanted to charge were such that they couldn’t use the service and instead had to pay for commercial airline tickets for multiple flights to Europe, Morocco, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami. The eight-page action filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey does not mention if the defendants tried to obtain a refund for their membership. The lawyer representing the Jacksons responded to our request for comment by saying he was on vacation this week and did not answer our written questions as we publish this article.



In the filing was correspondence from a JetSmarter salesperson to the Jacksons that read in part, “On December 1 (2017), Jetsmarter membership fees are going up. If you join prior, pay $11,000/YR + A ONE TIME $4,000 INITIATION FEE. You can get seats on private planes – with no additional fees – to cities including NY, LA, Chicago, Miami, Vegas, SF, Europe, the Middle East and more. Join now.” The lawsuit also states JetSmarter charged the Jacksons $11,500 per membership, $500 more than they had been told.



When JetSmarter first launched flights five years ago members paid an annual membership fee and they were able to book free seats on all of the scheduled private flights using a token system. Longer flights took an additional token. Members could also scan the App to find empty legs, repositioning flights where an aircraft is flown from where it dropped off its last past paying passengers to pick up the next ones or in some cases back to its base. For empty legs, the giddy members would have the entire aircraft. A private jet flight that might normally cost $10,000 or $20,000 was free!

JetSmarter Changes Upset Members



Since then, terms have gradually become more restrictive. For flights over three hours, there were additional fees added except for some top-tier members who were paying as much as $50,000 per year. Then empty leg flights were reduced from having the entire aircraft to a set number of seats. Earlier this year, JetSmarter began charging members for empty legs on a per seat basis.



Bigger changes followed in the past quarter. Entry level prices that had been hiked the year before were dropped to $4,950 per year, plus a $3,000 initiation fee in what the company said was an effort to attract more members. Then came a bigger change: No more free flights! Even flights under three hours would be charged on a per flight basis, although the company said rates would be comparable to first class fares on scheduled airlines. For the most part, they were higher.



That wasn’t it – weeks later JetSmarter announced it would allow non-members to book flights albeit at higher rates, however, since that point the company has offered a “Christmas in July” promotion allowing non-members to book seats at member rates.



JetSmarter had said it was protecting members who signed up under the promise that their flights under three hours would be free, however, on Flyertalk posters are saying it has become harder to find free seats. Poster EricSM wrote on June 25, “Nearly every seat on every flight is now a pay ticket unless you’re booking far into the future when a new block of flights open up for the subsequent month. This model will either click if people are willing to pay the $700+ on regular routes or highly more likely not if they won’t. Then it becomes a question of when they burn through the rest of their cash and it will be over. Unless someone understands this in a way much differently than I do I don’t see any other scenario.”







On June 23, Flyertalker combakkid wrote in part, “Next up…Class action lawsuit? I think execs are well aware a change like this will eliminate at least 90% of their customers.” On June 25, arthckr posted, “I’m hearing the words ‘class action’ more lately.”







JetSmarter doubter Peter Maestralers, CEO of Airstream Jets, a charter broker which also sells jet cards, has previously posted articles on his website questioning if the sharing economy start-up is a Ponzi Scheme. Yesterday, he teased a new, yet to be published post which he has titled, “JetSmarter (Part 4): A Fyre Festival in the Sky.”



Still, JetSmarter members seem hopeful that if JetSmarter can’t make it work, somebody else will. Arthckr on Flyertalk noted, “I really do like this flight share model and I really do hope it succeeds in the future with a company who’s learned from these mistakes, but if these changes end up sticking, I’ll be asking for my money back or filing suit.”



JetSmarter did not respond to our request for comment about the lawsuit. You can read a copy of the 385590154-D-nj-Complaint-Jackson-v-JetSmarter

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Old Aug 8, 18, 6:44 am
  #2193  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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If JetSmarter fails I wonder how the operators involved will handle the gap in usage...
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Old Aug 8, 18, 8:08 am
  #2194  
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Prolly something simirlar to DPJ’s “Sky access” program which is not ideal.

If someone harnesses their tech and just aggregated the empties I would def pay for that. Something like their empty leg program in 2016 when they had 5+ operators
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Old Aug 8, 18, 8:16 am
  #2195  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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You can find empty leg flights on OpenPoint for free
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Old Aug 8, 18, 8:21 am
  #2196  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
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There is a law firm in CA that has also filied suit. I was contacted by them, and since I am not a CA resident I was not able to join the complaint. My son is a CA resident and is deciding what he might do.
I am not sure that they would like me to divulge the information but it was filed in LA on August 7th. Superior Court State of CA and I believe it is public information.
There are smart ways to do things and to be kind not so smart ways to do things I never thought JS would do the smart thing even though that is in their name.
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Old Aug 8, 18, 10:03 am
  #2197  
 
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Originally Posted by Frequentlyflown View Post
You can find empty leg flights on OpenPoint for free
Many of those aren't really empty legs; they're operators searching for business. The rest are usually by operators that haven't figured out yet that they can't monetize empty legs at 80% of the cost of a charter.

What dval44 is talking about is a program either like JetSuite (used to?) have, where you could pay $500 for a next-day empty leg, or like like JS or DPJ has, where you pay a fixed membership fee (e.g. $5K to $6K) and you get 'all you can eat' empty legs. I too would pay for that -- if somebody made a service that got a few operators together and charged either $500 a flight or $5K-$6K for a year, I'd join in a heartbeat.
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Old Aug 8, 18, 12:46 pm
  #2198  
 
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Originally Posted by dordal View Post
Many of those aren't really empty legs; they're operators searching for business. The rest are usually by operators that haven't figured out yet that they can't monetize empty legs at 80% of the cost of a charter.

What dval44 is talking about is a program either like JetSuite (used to?) have, where you could pay $500 for a next-day empty leg, or like like JS or DPJ has, where you pay a fixed membership fee (e.g. $5K to $6K) and you get 'all you can eat' empty legs. I too would pay for that -- if somebody made a service that got a few operators together and charged either $500 a flight or $5K-$6K for a year, I'd join in a heartbeat.
Dordal nails it.

Wide variety right now in the empty space. Some, like JetEdge are almost full charter cost, whereas $0 per flight with DPJ Sky Access. JetLinx charges members $1k-2k per hour for empties, which is somewhere in the middle.

Sounds petty but the the Jetsmarter app is pretty awesome for empties - logging on and checking DPJ website is horrible.

I was ready to pull the trigger on wheels up 8760 membership mostly for the free Inspirato membership and a couple empties per year, but found that they pulled the program.

Somewhere around 2016 was the golden age of JS empty legs where they had Jet Linx, DPJ, XOjet, and even heavies for a week (JetEdge).

Assume we could recreate this model of soemone wants to go in with me on building a solid empties-only program.

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Old Aug 8, 18, 1:25 pm
  #2199  
 
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Originally Posted by dval44 View Post
Somewhere around 2016 was the golden age of JS empty legs where they had Jet Linx, DPJ, XOjet, and even heavies for a week (JetEdge).


A charter pilot (who doesn't work for an organization that provides empty legs for JS) told me the need for a flight attendant on occupied legs makes selling heavy jet empties a logistical challenge for their crew scheduling department. I believe that's part of the reason Gulfstreams are not included in the DPJ Sky Access program.
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Old Aug 8, 18, 5:21 pm
  #2200  
 
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Originally Posted by TVCMH View Post
A charter pilot (who doesn't work for an organization that provides empty legs for JS) told me the need for a flight attendant on occupied legs makes selling heavy jet empties a logistical challenge for their crew scheduling department. I believe that's part of the reason Gulfstreams are not included in the DPJ Sky Access program.
that sounds like complete nonsense. I don't believe there is any legal requirement to provide a FA on private jets and regardless the FA would be traveling on the empty leg anyway.
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Old Aug 8, 18, 5:28 pm
  #2201  
 
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Originally Posted by PbodyPhoto View Post
that sounds like complete nonsense. I don't believe there is any legal requirement to provide a FA on private jets and regardless the FA would be traveling on the empty leg anyway.
There's no regulatory requirement, but a flight attendant I talked to said that some of the agreements between the aircraft owner and the management company/charter operator stipulate that there be a flight attendant on board any time there are charter passengers.
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Old Aug 8, 18, 6:14 pm
  #2202  
 
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Originally Posted by Sykes View Post
There's no regulatory requirement, but a flight attendant I talked to said that some of the agreements between the aircraft owner and the management company/charter operator stipulate that there be a flight attendant on board any time there are charter passengers.
my point is if there is a charter customer flying with a FA from Teterboro to Des Moines and another the next day from Boise to Ancorage there is no way the FA flies commercial from Des Moines to Boise. I would also assume the FA is paid the same amount regardless of whether or not there is passengers so it's not like they have to pay the FA any extra.
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Old Aug 8, 18, 6:21 pm
  #2203  
 
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Originally Posted by PbodyPhoto View Post


my point is if there is a charter customer flying with a FA from Teterboro to Des Moines and another the next day from Boise to Ancorage there is no way the FA flies commercial from Des Moines to Boise. I would also assume the FA is paid the same amount regardless of whether or not there is passengers so it's not like they have to pay the FA any extra.
The FAs can be on a totally different schedule than the pilots. Pilot might have two weeks on, two weeks off, the FA may be on a 3-day trip. So its very possible that they wouldn't have an FA for the empty, if one FA is ending his/her trip and another starting. Particularly true if the jet isn't moving for a day or two -- they're not going to pay the FA to sit around in case a flight comes up, and they're not going to fly the jet any earlier than they have to in case the charter customer cancels.
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Old Aug 8, 18, 7:16 pm
  #2204  
 
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Originally Posted by dordal View Post
The FAs can be on a totally different schedule than the pilots. Pilot might have two weeks on, two weeks off, the FA may be on a 3-day trip. So its very possible that they wouldn't have an FA for the empty, if one FA is ending his/her trip and another starting. Particularly true if the jet isn't moving for a day or two -- they're not going to pay the FA to sit around in case a flight comes up, and they're not going to fly the jet any earlier than they have to in case the charter customer cancels.
right about possibility of flight attendants having different schedules or rules than pilots. Also, the pay rate may be different for flight attendants if they are deadheading (no pax onboard) vs. performing duties while serving passengers.
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Old Aug 8, 18, 8:38 pm
  #2205  
 
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It looks like the Jacksons have withdrawn their lawsuit, although it seems they may be going to arbitration but not clear why - but it doesn't seem to be dead and references other possibilities but not much on specifics, according to this just posted on Private Jet Card Comparisons. Any lawyers in the house?
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