It’s simple… it’s brilliant… it’s disruptive…
And it’s ruffling feathers across the world.
I’m talking about modern-day taxi service, Uber.
Its smartphone app and slick business model have revolutionized the traditional taxi ride.
Regular cabbies hate it, of course. We’ve seen many high-profile protests against the app, and some places are banning it altogether.
But regardless of them crying about it, innovation often begets more innovation – and Uber’s car service has spawned a similar service…
The “Uber of the sky.”
Yep… this company lets you “hail” a private jet at the push of a button.
It’s the first private jet charter service that’s accessible from a mobile device.
The app is already making a lot of money – and it’s harnessing today’s “on-demand” culture to make a lot more…
How to “Order” Your Next Flight
Hailing a cab or summoning an Uber car is great for a trip into town… but what if you want to go further afield?
Trains? Pricey and slow.
Conventional air travel? Well, then you have to deal with crowds… squash into a crappy seat… or suffer some sweaty guy next to you for the flight.
That’s where JetSmarter comes in…
As the name suggests, it’s a smarter way to fly. And with much less hassle, too.
Launched in March 2013, JetSmarter is essentially a cross between a tech company, travel agent, and airline – and aims to bring private jet travel to the masses.
It’s working, too. The company already boasts 200,000 active users.
For booking private charter flights, the process is simple…
You open the JetSmarter app and, just like booking a regular flight, enter your departure and arrival cities, plus the date and time of travel.
With 3,200 private jets in its fleet, available at any time, JetSmarter and its independent partners display the schedules and locations of the jets through the app. Users can request flights from anywhere in the world, and as close as six hours before departure.
Plus, just as Uber allows you to choose what car you want – be it a regular sedan, limo, or larger vehicle – JetSmarter offers flyers the same flexibility, depending on their needs. Users can see photos of the planes, plus the interior layout and amenities on board.
JetSmarter doesn’t actually own these planes; they belong to its charter firm partners – who are also responsible for maintenance, inspections, and pilots. JetSmarter is essentially the middle man that facilitates the travel part.
Now, as you might expect, hiring private jets isn’t for most regular folks.
Out of curiosity, for example, I opened JetSmarter’s app and requested a flight from New York La Guardia to Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.
A one-way flight was nearly $4,000. This means two things: 1) Money really talks, and 2) JetSmarter is a very niche market.
So for all of JetSmarter’s comparisons to Uber, there’s a big difference between a company that generates roughly $30 million per year from three to four bookings per day, and the multi-billion-dollar valuation behind Uber – a company that makes $30 million per week from roughly one million rides.
If JetSmarter truly wants to be the “Uber of the sky,” it needs to move down market.
And that’s exactly what Founder and CEO, Sergey Petrossov, is doing. Here’s how…
Bid for Your Flight
JetSmarter draws inspiration from another disruptive tech company – eBay (EBAY). It functions like an online auction site.
For example, let’s say a husband and wife charter a JetSmarter private jet from Logan Airport in Boston to Nantucket Island for a quick getaway. But for their trip home, the couple won’t need the jet.
Nevertheless, JetSmarter’s plane will still need to leave Nantucket, whether the couple is on board or not. So the company will send push notifications to JetSmarter members in the Nantucket area who need a flight, and let them bid for it at a steep discount. That’s much better than the plane leaving Nantucket empty, and gives JetSmarter revenue it otherwise wouldn’t have made.
There’s another way that JetSmarter is going after ordinary folks…
Got No Friends? Share a Jet
All the planes in JetSmarter’s private fleet come with multiple seats – around seven or eight. So that $4,000 flight from New York to Dulles is a lot more affordable if it’s split between a group of friends, or business colleagues traveling together.
But what about people flying solo?
Petrossov has them covered through the next leg of its business – “jet sharing.”
Let’s say John and Jane charter a private jet from New York to Los Angeles for $6,000. However, the jet they’re flying on has eight seats, leaving six available.
With jet sharing, John and Jane can sell those seats to someone else – in this case, $750 each.
I just pulled up tickets for a United Airlines economy flight from JFK to LAX, and got the following rates…
Lowest Fare (Non-refundable): $636.
Flexible Fare (Refundable): $757.
First Class: $1,064.
Keep in mind, that doesn’t include baggage fees, in-flight Wi-Fi, or any other “convenience” charges.
As you can see, the United flight saves you $114. But that’s for an economy flight that comes at the cost of luxury. Instead of flying in a private jet, you’ll be stuffed into a middle seat with screaming children, or an obese man spilling into your seat, and a chair reclining into your lap. But hey… it’s only a six-hour flight!
Petrossov’s goal with jet sharing is to make private jet travel more affordable – and thus, open it up to the masses. In doing so, it offers competition to the commercial airline industry – and makes JetSmarter as disruptive to commercial airlines as Uber is to cabs.
Your eyes in the Pipeline,