JetSmarter - discussion and experiences

    Hide Wikipost
Old Jun 19, 17, 1:45 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: elitetraveler
Wiki Link
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).
Print Wikipost

Reply

Old Apr 24, 17, 6:01 pm
  #1201  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: GlobalEntry, UK RT, BA Gold, VS , Hertz 5 Star, HH, PP, B6 Mosaic
Posts: 749
Best critique yet.

I must agree with all that you said.

I have more time freedom to find alternate routes between VNY-HPN, including OAK, LAS, MDW, and its "kind of" fun finding the routing. I accepted from the beginning that one way of the journey would be JetBlue Mint, usually the LAX-JFK leg because I like the chopper ride from Manhattan to HPN.

I too really don't get the celebrity-wannabe aspect, none of the people I've flown with seem to match that demographic. <shrug> On the shuttles that I fly I haven't seen the $10,000 carry-on bags. The members that I've met on flights have been 90% men and self-employed. The social media impression from Facebook and Instagram would indicate that the average traveller is 25 year old female head to toe in designer duds or a family with small children and a puppy, and not a plane full of the 45 year old guys who just want to fly between point A to point B and be left alone.

Steve

Originally Posted by Agger View Post
My JetSmarter membership expired April 5, after I decided not to renew. I had been a member only one year and had originally budgeted for the renewal, but the value was just not there.

Let me start by saying JS handled my cancellation very professionally. I was asked to provide any feedback, that I deemed helpful to their service, and I spoke to a retention specialist for about 15 minutes the day my membership expired.

I did a lot of research before joining in 2016, but information was scarce. Once I made a connection with a sales representative - via the JetSmarter website - I got some more insight and started to learn about the cost and also the token system.

I had to think long and hard about a $9,000/year membership, but my logic was I would fly 8-10 roundtrips from San Francisco (Oakland, CA) to New York (Westchester, NY). The cost per trip was approximately double what I would have to pay for economy class at a major carrier. The benefits of flying in a business jet clearly were worth the extra dollars.

And then there was the aspect of the jets… I love planes, and I love flying. I have held a license, and have sat at airports looking at Gulfstreams, Citations and other business jets hoping that I would one day get a chance to fly one. I am grateful for having had that opportunity, and although all the coast-to-coast JS flights I’ve been on were all Gulfstream IV-SP, I’ve flown other types of jets over the last 12 months. I don’t know when such an opportunity will come along again. That part saddens me.

A side note here is the discovery of the term “footsie”. It’s a first-world problem if there ever was one, but sitting face-to-face with a stranger with a somewhat limited amount of legroom can be tiresome on a five-hour flight. I feel like a jerk writing this, but that part surprised me, and I see it mentioned in the online forums fairly often. It doesn’t help that I’m 6’4”. Sure, the chair swivel, but you’ll soon have four people claim the aisle way, and you are essentially blocking the way for the crew when doing so.

JetSmarter comes with a token system. My $9,000 membership got me in at the highest level available at the time, and I got two tokens. You use these when you book, and depending on the length of the flight; you have to use one or two tokens. The coast-to-coast flights require two tokens - each way. As such, you can not book your return flight until your tokens are re-deposited into your account; which typically happens during takeoff roll.

It quickly became apparent that this was a severe limitation of the JetSmarter model, and as the number of members grew, it became impossible to fly both ways in a reasonable timeframe. I took my last JS flight from OAK to HPN on March 31, 2017. The earliest return available was four weeks later! In fact, during the 12 months of my membership, I was only able to book a same-weekend return flight on a few occasions - both right after I signed up. Don’t let anybody fool you: Right now JetSmarter is essentially a one-way service forcing you to fly commercially one of the two ways.

I’ve raised this with JS on several occasions. In the beginning, I was told to sit tight - more flights would be added (never happened), and later I was told that I could just upgrade to the $50,000/year membership as that would guarantee early pre-booking and give me four tokens.

It’s one part of the problem that you can’t book early, but it gets messy quickly because you are charged - sometimes very expensive - fees for canceling your flight. In other words: JS force you to book four weeks out and then charge you should you have to cancel or change your reservation. As other people have pointed out, you get a one-time courtesy cancellation. After that, you pay (and I have paid….) upwards of $1,000 for canceled flights.

Other things surprised me: I live close to SFO and got notified of repositioning flights originating as far north as Sacramento and as far south as Monterey - all labeled “San Francisco flights”. It would take you four hours to drive in between those airports!

The number of repositioning flights has gone down significantly over the last months. I also addressed this in the early fall of ’16. JS’s reply was that there was a general slowdown in the number of booked business jet flights and that it was expected to pick up the following month, but it remained the same.

Speaking of repositioning flights: I had my fair share of canceled flights and only managed to get onboard twice. One time I made to the terminal only to find out that the XO Jet decided to leave without us - we saw the plane take off. Not cool to stand there with invited passengers and purchased tickets to Disneyland. JS offered to fly us to SNA first class, but no seats were available according to their rep. The United app I was looking at told a different story.

Overall I’ve meet interesting people on the planes - wine growers, promoters, entrepreneurs, flight attendants and even law enforcement (running a side business). There have also been the loud ones that talked about money that it’ll never run out and a guy that was on the phone trying to raise millions to keep his company afloat. There have certainly been times I’ve appreciated being able to turn my noise canceling headset on, but the people I’ve met have been great. Nobody has been obnoxious - even after two bottles of champagne. And credit where credit is due: The crews I have met were all professional, and I’ve felt safe and well taken off.

I wish JS well - I really do. I can’t say, I understand their business model and the luxury aspect that they continuously push. Having a 24-carat gold-plated membership card is outright silly, and while I can see the appeal to a section of the member base, I think the same of their expansion of services such as house swapping, VIP events, and alignment with celebrities. The offering continue to change to become profitable (or sellable?). The turnover at JS seems high - I had four reps in a 12 month period.

I don’t see the current model sustainable, and recent articles seem to paint a picture of a facade that’s starting to crack.
Attached Images  

Last edited by backdoc; Apr 25, 17 at 9:43 am
backdoc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24, 17, 6:43 pm
  #1202  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 469
Originally Posted by Agger View Post
JetSmarter comes with a token system. My $9,000 membership got me in at the highest level available at the time, and I got two tokens. You use these when you book, and depending on the length of the flight; you have to use one or two tokens. The coast-to-coast flights require two tokens - each way. As such, you can not book your return flight until your tokens are re-deposited into your account; which typically happens during takeoff roll.

It quickly became apparent that this was a severe limitation of the JetSmarter model, and as the number of members grew, it became impossible to fly both ways in a reasonable timeframe. I took my last JS flight from OAK to HPN on March 31, 2017. The earliest return available was four weeks later! In fact, during the 12 months of my membership, I was only able to book a same-weekend return flight on a few occasions - both right after I signed up. Donít let anybody fool you: Right now JetSmarter is essentially a one-way service forcing you to fly commercially one of the two ways.

Iíve raised this with JS on several occasions. In the beginning, I was told to sit tight - more flights would be added (never happened), and later I was told that I could just upgrade to the $50,000/year membership as that would guarantee early pre-booking and give me four tokens.
None of this really applies to new members (or those that renew starting next week). As has been discussed previously, under the "new" Smart plan, even transcons require only one token, plus a fee. So booking return trips are no longer a problem, but they're also no longer free.
millions is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 17, 10:51 am
  #1203  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: GlobalEntry, UK RT, BA Gold, VS , Hertz 5 Star, HH, PP, B6 Mosaic
Posts: 749
For those not renewing... Chopper Service available with DeltaOne

This press release today from Delta:

"The fastest way to travel between Manhattan and New Yorkís John F. Kennedy International Airport just became even easier for Delta customers. Delta will enable a fully integrated, streamlined airport transfer experience through an exclusive partnership with BLADE, a digitally powered aviation company that arranges on-demand helicopter service between its Manhattan heliport lounges and JFK.

ďOur customers value speed and reliability, and so do we. Weíre proud to be the only airline facilitating an on-demand helicopter transfer that is curated specifically for Delta customers and in line with the enhanced premium amenities and services they have come to expect from our brand,Ē said Tim Mapes, Deltaís Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. ďPartnering with BLADE in the New York City market ó home to and destination for many of our most discerning travelers ó highlights Deltaís commitment to enhancing every aspect and detail of the travel experience, including getting to and from the airport.Ē

Deltaís JFK customers can book an expedited, seamless experience that begins and ends at one of BLADEís three Manhattan heliport lounges where they may relax in a full-service lounge prior to their five-minute flight. Upon touchdown, a member of Deltaís Elite Services team will welcome the customer, collect baggage and personally escort them from the helicopter via awaiting ground transportation to the departure terminal, expediting security clearance as they head to their departing aircraft. When itís time for the Delta flight, the customer is escorted to their seat on board. Bookings are available via the BLADE app.

Delta customers arriving into JFK, including those on transcontinental service from Los Angeles and San Francisco and trans-Atlantic flights from London, can also enjoy a seamless helicopter transfer experience. Deltaís Elite Services will meet customers on the jet bridge as they disembark a Delta flight or immediately after they clear customs, reclaim baggage and whisk them directly to the door of a waiting helicopter for the five-minute flight to Manhattan."
backdoc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 17, 10:56 pm
  #1204  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: New York / Shanghai / Taipei
Posts: 117
Originally Posted by millions View Post
None of this really applies to new members (or those that renew starting next week). As has been discussed previously, under the "new" Smart plan, even transcons require only one token, plus a fee. So booking return trips are no longer a problem, but they're also no longer free.
My account is up for renewal next week. I won't be able to keep the "old" smart plan?
nyczreklis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 17, 11:15 pm
  #1205  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Programs: NZ, UA, QF, EK
Posts: 345
Originally Posted by nyczreklis View Post
My account is up for renewal next week. I won't be able to keep the "old" smart plan?
Unfortunately not
cakiwi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 17, 11:55 pm
  #1206  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,862
Originally Posted by cakiwi View Post
Unfortunately not
Even on older routes ?
If so, what advantages (other than lower yearly renewal fee) does OLD-Smart still have over NEW-Smart ?
Alcibiades is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 17, 8:26 am
  #1207  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 469
Originally Posted by Alcibiades View Post
Even on older routes ?
If so, what advantages (other than lower yearly renewal fee) does OLD-Smart still have over NEW-Smart ?
The point is, there will be no more OLD-Smart renewals starting May 1. All Smart memberships renewed starting then will be under the "NEW-Smart" terms.
millions is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 17, 11:02 am
  #1208  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Posts: 1,862
What about someone whose OLD-Smart renewal occurred just now, before May 1 ?
It is unclear what differences their membership will have until their next renewal in April 2018.
Alcibiades is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 17, 2:46 pm
  #1209  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 90
Originally Posted by millions View Post
The point is, there will be no more OLD-Smart renewals starting May 1. All Smart memberships renewed starting then will be under the "NEW-Smart" terms.
Wow I guess I got in with just a week to spare to keep the OLD-Smart membership. Per usual, absolutely no transparency here.
mwood20 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 17, 4:04 pm
  #1210  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: New York / Shanghai / Taipei
Posts: 117
I'm in at $6,000 a year. Not sure if it's even worth it after this change. My renewal is May 7th...

Not really fond of the lack of communication and diminishing benefits.
nyczreklis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 17, 4:18 pm
  #1211  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 469
Originally Posted by Alcibiades View Post
What about someone whose OLD-Smart renewal occurred just now, before May 1 ?
It is unclear what differences their membership will have until their next renewal in April 2018.
I don't think it's unclear (with the obvious caveat that they could change things).

Right now, for SMART members who renewed between Jan. 1 and May 1, they were given the option of keeping their old shuttle benefits (2 tokens required for flights over 3 hours, but no fees except for transcontinental flights and any shuttle routes begun in 2017) or the new rules (longer flights only require 1 token, but require an additional payment). If they kept on the OLD plan, those benefits should remain until the next renewal.

All renewals since helicopter transfer charges were instituted have required payments for those, and all new shuttle routes are subject to additional charges for everyone.
millions is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 17, 4:48 pm
  #1212  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland CA
Programs: UA *G, AS MVP
Posts: 865
Originally Posted by nyczreklis View Post
I'm in at $6,000 a year. Not sure if it's even worth it after this change. My renewal is May 7th...

Not really fond of the lack of communication and diminishing benefits.
I would renew at $6K, esp. if you have any flight credit you can burn. I still find the $5K simple membership valuable... shuttles under three hours plus empties. For an extra grand you get the ability to get on midcons + transcons, even at a fee, plus the NY/FL route for free, plus more seats on empties, homes, etc.

But if you're in at, say, $12K, the math starts to look much worse. Say you take the mid-tier t-con price ($450 o/w), and you do six t-cons a year. That's $5400, which now makes your membership $17.5K. Not only that, but with tcons booking out 3-4 weeks in advance, your tokens are used six months of the year, meaning you can't take any other flights.

Jetblue, etc. start to look pretty attractive: 6 t-cons would be maybe $9K ( $1500 RT depending on when you book, but I'm assuming a month out since that's when you have to book shuttles ). So you're paying an extra $8.5K to be able to use short-distance shuttles for the other six months of the year, plus empties anytime, plus save two hours not having to go through security when flying commercial. Of course, you're being penalized by schedule, and by the huge cancellation fees.

I wish JS would say "Look, our current model isn't sustainable, but we understand the business better now, and we can see either of these two models working: X or Y. Members, please discuss and vote, and we'll move forward with the one you pick." It would let them solve the problem they clearly have, actually stay in business (!), and get members rooting for them rather than against them. This whole thing with unannounced changes and then backchannel communication doesn't engender any trust.
dordal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 27, 17, 5:59 pm
  #1213  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA 2mm LT PLT
Posts: 19,172
And yet another "special offer". LOL.


Dear SFO777,

I know youíve been checking out JetSmarter but havenít yet pulled the trigger. Iíve got a weekend promotion that I think youíll like.

Buy two SMART memberships for $26,000 this weekend only. Thatís a $4,000 discount on the cost of both memberships.

Membership gives you access to on-demand private and shared charters, complimentary seats on global shared shuttles, a full menu of lifestyle services, and more.

Just give me a call at (954) 315-0051 and Iíll get you set up.

I Iook forward to speaking with you.

Best,
Jim
SFO777 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 27, 17, 6:20 pm
  #1214  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
And yet another "special offer". LOL.


Dear SFO777,

I know youíve been checking out JetSmarter but havenít yet pulled the trigger. Iíve got a weekend promotion that I think youíll like.

Buy two SMART memberships for $26,000 this weekend only. Thatís a $4,000 discount on the cost of both memberships.

Membership gives you access to on-demand private and shared charters, complimentary seats on global shared shuttles, a full menu of lifestyle services, and more.

Just give me a call at (954) 315-0051 and Iíll get you set up.

I Iook forward to speaking with you.

Best,
Jim
I got the same email with the subject "A weekend discount just for you." I guess it isn't JUST for me!
imperialg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 27, 17, 11:11 pm
  #1215  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Programs: NZ, UA, QF, EK
Posts: 345
Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
And yet another "special offer". LOL.


Dear SFO777,

I know youíve been checking out JetSmarter but havenít yet pulled the trigger. Iíve got a weekend promotion that I think youíll like.

Buy two SMART memberships for $26,000 this weekend only. Thatís a $4,000 discount on the cost of both memberships.

Membership gives you access to on-demand private and shared charters, complimentary seats on global shared shuttles, a full menu of lifestyle services, and more.

Just give me a call at (954) 315-0051 and Iíll get you set up.

I Iook forward to speaking with you.

Best,
Jim
Lol that's funny..... "haven't yet pulled the trigger"...... More like "I and Mrs SFO777 loaded the ammo, we cocked the chamber, we pulled the trigger time and time again decided it was for the most part a bit of a North Korean like misfire experience so, despite the obvious hazards, have resorted to being dragged up and down the United cabins taking on board (excuse the pun) the bloodied noses we incur as a result, knowing its better than 'pulling the trigger' with you guys again."
cakiwi is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread