Runway Guide: Private Jet Membership and Beyond

June 16, 2022

As the demand and popularity for private jet travel continue to climb, there seems to be no shortage of providers that can accommodate travel via private jet. Private aviation is also an ever-evolving industry, staying informed on modern jet programs is vital because your choice can heavily influence your overall private jet experience.

Program mainstays like fractional private jet ownership and private jet lease remain incredibly popular within private aviation because they offer the experience consistency, guaranteed access, and schedule flexibility that some require. However, if your travel plans remain more modest, or less than 25 hours per year, on-demand jet charter, jet card, or jet membership models provide valuable supplemental travel with few of the complexities of ownership.

With the allure of a no-commitment structure aside, is private jet membership truly the most economical and accessible mode of private jet access? Below we examine the differences between private jet ownership and private jet membership, and which is the best solution for discerning private travel users.

What sort of cost structure can you expect in a typical private jet membership? Here is an outline of the typical commitments that comprise your total private jet membership cost.

  • One-time Initiation Fee (New Members)
  • Annual Membership Dues
  • Annual Membership Renewal Dues
  • Crew Service Fees (Sometimes Required)
  • Flight Booking Fees (Sometimes Required)
  • Security Deposits (Sometimes Required)


What is a Private Jet Membership?

The popularity of a private jet membership stems from a structure that does not require a large, upfront investment or an ongoing, long-term financial commitment like fractional-share or aircraft-leasing programs. With a jet membership, users typically purchase their entry and pay annual dues, usually for a minimum of one year.

Recently, jet cards, charter memberships, and other debit-style program models offer yet another take on limited-use or charter options for private jet access. Many providers have adopted jet memberships or jet card offerings to encourage high, all-in hourly costs while implementing a convenient hourly gauge for modest or limited jet usage (25 or fewer hours).

Although every provider is different in price scheduling, there can be a natural point within most frequent charter users or jet members where the premium cost of convenience can begin to yield a diminishing value.

These membership-style models usually require an ‘initiation’ fee to begin an access relationship, an annual membership fee, a yearly or monthly service fee, and then at the end of the membership term, another due is required to renew service. After all regular fees have been satisfied, a flat-rate, hourly, all-in pricing structure would round out your financial commitment and is entirely dependent on how much you fly.

Private jet membership does offer access to flight time on an ‘as-needed’ basis, however, there are considerable all-in hourly rates and fees that can add up significantly. The convenience of no long-term commitment or investment does come at a premium.

Other Popular Private Jet Programs

The fractional or shared ownership concept was created as an aircraft ownership solution that provides the benefits and exclusivity of outright ownership, but without the large capital commitment and variable, sometimes unpredictable management costs.

The most important concept to keep in mind is that fractional jet ownership involves buying an equity share of an aircraft, which then provides flying hours per year on a specified aircraft type. Owners will typically select an investment period of usually 3-5 years, after which point, they can reinvest or sell their equity back to their provider.

Some providers promote benefits like exclusive fleet access, priority scheduling, and specialty services like aircraft management. These program features can significantly enhance your stake or ‘private jet membership’ far beyond the immediate conveniences of jet card or on-demand charter membership models.

For a program with similar benefits, but at greatly lessened upfront financial commitments, private jet leasing may prove to be a more approachable option. Private jet leases remain an attractive option for corporate flight departments because they qualify as a ‘travel expense’ rather than an owned ‘asset’. If pricing control and schedule flexibility are requisite for your comfort, then a private jet lease may be the right fit.

At Flexjet, we have spent decades providing premier private aviation solutions that can suit every type of need, schedule, or aspiration.

If fractional jet ownership or extensive travel needs are not in your requisite future, Flexjet sister-company FXAIR is perfectly positioned to handle all your on-demand or charter flight needs.

If you’re ready to learn more about what private aviation has to offer, our team of private aviation experts can offer expert insight into our private jet lease, fractional ownership, and jet card programs. World-class standards for service that extend far beyond your final transaction.