Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"JetSmarter, 'Uber for Private Jets', faces member Pushback Over Perk Changes, Price Increases, Non-Disparagement Clause, as it Struggles with its Cost Structure "


Cost structure problem.
Weird terms and conditions.
Surge pricing
Feels like the Mafia
Investors subsidizing riders

Sounds like a (business) plan!

From The Verge, March 28:

Flight Risk
Legal threats and disgruntled clients: inside the ‘Uber for private jets’
Tim Martz made his fortune in broadcast radio, but even as a wealthy man, the price of chartering a private jet always stung a bit. So when Martz joined JetSmarter in February 2015, the service seemed like a steal. In return for a $7,000 annual membership fee, plus a $2,000 initiation charge, he could use the company’s mobile app to reserve flights on a private jet as often as he wanted. “You got the whole plane to yourself, which is great,” recalls Martz. He flew a half-dozen times in his first six months, taking trips from his Denver home to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and various vacation paradises. “I’m paying this amount of money and getting $15,000 flights for free, that’s a good deal.”

Over the last two years, JetSmarter has earned a reputation as a fast-growing startup with a luxury product and investors to match. In December 2016, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and the Saudi royal family led a $105 million round of funding that valued the company at $1.5 billion, putting it in the coveted Unicorn Club. Kim Kardashian declared she was obsessed” with the service, and rapper Rick Ross worked the company into his lyrics. JetSmarter added big names like Tom Ridge, a former director of Homeland Security, to its board. Florida governor Rick Scott was on hand to dedicate its new office in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“Our aim is to make flying private accessible to the masses,” said CEO Sergey Petrossov in an interview with Haute Living. Or at least that portion of the masses for whom business class was not enough but owning a Gulfstream was out of reach. The company’s marketing materials held out the promise that the moderately wealthy could mingle with celebrities and titans of industry. “Among the handful of people flying with you – this month alone flyers have included Jaime Foxx, mega-model Emily Ratajkowski (who flew from NY-LA), Super model Irina Shayk, SI model Chanel Iman, athletes, moguls and more,” read one pitch to potential members. “Network with other members and make friendships that matter.” The media took to calling it the “Uber for private jets.”

But while the company was accumulating the trappings of success, members began experiencing increasing turbulence. Starting in 2016, the benefits and costs associated with the membership began to change rapidly. Perks like free helicopter rides to the airport were removed from the membership offering. Meals, which had been free, started to cost hundreds of dollars, and travel around the holidays cost extra, too. Members lost the ability to reserve the entire plane without paying more. Martz decided not to renew: “As my wife says, well if I have to share the plane, it’s not really private, is it?”...MUCH MORE
And if your Uber has other passengers it's a bus uberPool.