Best of the Best 2007: Flight-Card Programs: Fractional
Bombardier Flexjet (see here) offers two flight-card programs. Skyjet (888.275.9538, www.skyjet.com) provides flight hours in Flexjet’s fleet of Learjet and Challenger aircraft, as well as in a range of other jets. It issues cards in 25-, 50-, and 100-hour increments in three categories: Skyjet (beginning at $94,000), Learjet (beginning at $101,000 or $145,000, depending on the jet’s size), and Challenger (beginning at $236,000). The program also features the only five-hour card in the industry, at a price as low as $24,000 for a light jet. Last summer, Bombardier began offering Flexjet 25 (866.473.0025, www.flexjet25.com), a card that, despite its name, allows clients to purchase not only 25 but also 30 or 35 hours in a Bombardier model. Customers who opt not to fly during peak periods of the year—by choosing 325- or 275-days-per-year options in lieu of the standard 355 days—receive discounts. The 275-day option reduces prices to as little as $135,000 for 25 hours in a Learjet 45. At the top end, a 35-hour, 355-day card for a Challenger 604 costs $357,000. The Flexjet 25 program includes an option called Versatility Plus that allows owners to swap surplus flight hours.
CitationShares, the fractional-jet operation with a fleet that consists exclusively of Cessna Citations (see here), offers the Vector JetCard (877.832.8678, www.citationshares.com) program. Like the company’s fractional operation, the card program is notable for its simplicity and reasonable cost. The Vector JetCard begins at 20 hours, and a Value Plus option allows owners to add as many hours as they wish in increments as small as one hour. The card lasts 18 months, not 12 as typically is the case. The program features a simple two-page agreement and one fee that covers all costs (including fuel surcharges and positioning fees) except for federal excise tax. Four aircraft types are available—the five-passenger Citation CJ1, the seven-seat Bravo, the eight-seat XLS, and the nine-seat Sovereign—and you may select a Citation CJ3 if it is available. At the 20-hour level, pricing for the Vector JetCard ranges from $99,000 for a CJ1 to $172,000 for a Sovereign. You can earn extra hours at no cost by committing to fly during nonpeak periods. The program also features a combination card that allows you to fly in two jet types.
The JetPASS Ultimate Travel (877.703. 2348, www.flightoptions.com) flight-card program, from the large fractional operator Flight Options, has made its offerings more flexible and convenient. With a $100,000 deposit, you gain access to any of Flight Options’ aircraft: light jets (the Raytheon Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP), midsize (the Hawker 800XP and Cessna Citation X), and large (the Embraer Legacy). Your flight time is debited at an all-inclusive, fixed hourly rate. There are no additional fuel surcharges, and round-trip flights and those taken during nonpeak periods receive a discount. Rates range from $3,425 per flight hour for round-trip travel on a light jet to about $11,200 for one-way travel on a Legacy. You can renew your membership with a $50,000 deposit, and any unused portion of the deposit is refundable. Current owners of Flight Options fractional jet shares may join the JetPASS program with a deposit of $35,000.