Wealth

People who fly private jets don’t want to return to airlines. But it’s costing them a lot more than it used to

Covid-19. Airport chaos. Lack of available flights.

Many travelers say those are the reasons they ditched airlines for private jets during the past two years of the pandemic.

But a new survey shows most of the newly converted aren’t ready to return to commercial aviation just yet.

Some 94% of those new to the industry said they plan to continue flying privately in the future, according to a survey by the private aviation website Private Jet Card Comparisons.

“Users have seen firsthand how private aviation can save time, both at the airport and by using more convenient alternative airports,” said Doug Gollan, the website’s editor-in-chief, in a press release announcing the results.

However, respondents also indicated they may not be flying privately as frequently as they did before.

The percentage of respondents who said they will continue to use private aviation “regularly” dropped from 57% last year to 40% this year.

And the number who said they’ll fly privately “occasionally” when the pandemic ends rose from 43% to 55%.

About 6% said they plan to stop altogether after the pandemic, but that’s up from zero who said the same last year.

The forecast for longer-term clients was more stable, according to the survey published in October. Nearly 60% indicated they plan to fly privately as often as before the pandemic, while another 29% said they intend to fly privately even frequently in the future.

Unhappiness in the skies

Though demand for private aviation remains high, more than half (50.7%) of survey respondents said they’re considering changing private jet companies.

Some 62% cited increasing costs as the reason for their discontent, according to the survey.  

Average deposits made by flyers who purchased jet cards or memberships increased nearly 36% from $213,253 in 2021 to $289,398 in 2022, according to the survey.

The percentage of respondents who spent more than $400,000 more than doubled — from 8.5% to 18.2% — during that timeframe.

Nearly one-third of respondents cited flight delays, changes and cancellations as the reason they plan to shop around — the very problems many say led them to fly privately in the first place. Those incidents more than doubled from 2021 to 2022, according to the survey, resulting in “private jet rage” as the industry struggled to keep up with crushing demand.  

There are also fewer perks to be had, according to the survey. Respondents indicated they were unable to secure as many free hours, rate locks and upgrades this year, compared with 2021.

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