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Exquisite programme could buck the jet card trend
According to Exquisite Air Charter, some jet card companies that have gone bankrupt sold programmes that sounded too good to be true. The company plans to combat this with a pre-paid and refundable offering.

Los Angeles-based private aviation brokerage Exquisite Air Charter has developed a pre-paid, fully refundable programme to grant customers the utmost flexibility and comfort when opting to fly private. The decision comes as a response to a rising trend in deposit-based jet card memberships amid an increase in demand and first-time private jet flyers.

The company, led by CEO Rena Davenport, is committed to educating customers and helping them navigate the market by keeping their capital safe, providing transparent information to make informed decisions and making the most out of private aviation. The firm recently developed a programme to identify illegal charter operations. The latest programme will allow clients to obtain full refunds of any unused portion of their deposited funds at any time.

In contrast, jet cards require a deposit, which might place customers at financial risk if the company fails to break even. Many of the jet card companies that have gone bankrupt sold programmes that sounded too good to be true, Exquisite says. If a company is selling private charter flight hours below market value, then customers must question how they can do so and remain profitable.

CEO Rena Davenport notes: “When you pre-pay for something without a refund policy, the risk for the provider is diminished but the risk for the consumer is increased because they already have your money. What happens when a company goes out of business or files bankruptcy when they already have your money?”

Furthermore, jet card programmes are often sold based on aircraft class instead of the aircraft type. The result is the issuer is in control of selecting the aircraft and the carrier operating the flight. While the customer was sold the jet card under the premise that their safety standards are exceptionally high, when it comes to their need to break even or remain profitable, clients have to worry about whether or not their safety values will be compromised.

Before 2010, these programmes were often very beneficial to customers who flew a lot of one-ways, remained at their destination for a significant amount of time and/or lived in rural areas because one-ways were not as readily available as they are today. In today's market, one-ways are part of the normal business model in the industry so it doesn't make sense, in most cases, to buy into jet card programmes that mostly charge inflated hourly rates when it would likely be more cost-effective to continue with the convenience of pre-deposited funds.

Davenport concludes: “Our focus is on guiding customers in making informed decisions that are cost-effective, safe and appropriate to their requirements on a per-flight basis. These are the reasons we recommend on-demand private jet charter. You should always be in control of your money and safety, and we should always work hard so passengers best maximise the dollars they spend experiencing private aviation.”

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