Frequently Asked Questions
Is private jet travel safe?
The entire fractional industry is recognized for its exceptional safety record as well as its commitment to safety and is strictly regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. As a six-time ARG/US Platinum award winning operator, Flight Options’ role in the industry is that of a pioneer – through our products and programs to our industry leading safety initiatives, we take that role seriously. When it comes to safety, our success is not only defined by our history but also by the people and programs that truly differentiate us from our competition. Flight Options is also an eight time FAA Diamond Safety Award winner. For additional detail on our many industry leading safety initiatives, download our Safety White Paper or visit our safety page www.flightoptions.com/safety.html
*ARG/US Safety Ratings are the recognized standard in the charter and fractional industry. The Platinum level is the highest safety rating, and is awarded only to exceptional operators who meet or exceed the highest standards in aircrew experience and training, aircraft operations, safety, and maintenance.
What are the differences between JetPASS, Lease, and Fractional Ownership?
JetPASS – With a Flight Options JetPASS jet card, you will gain immediate access to Flight Options’ world-class fleet of private aircraft. The card gives you guaranteed access to the Flight Options fleet, in 25-hour intervals, without the upfront cost or longer term commitment of a fractional share. Hours are accessible for 24 months. Additionally, you can call your Owner Services representative with as little as 10 hours notice to book your flight. The JetPASS jet card program is an ideal solution for an individual or corporation who recognizes the inherent advantages of flying on the fractional fleet but who doesn't want to tie up the capital to become a fractional owner.
Lease – With access to the Nextant 400XT, Citation X and Legacy 600, the Lease program is an innovative solution designed for incomparable aircraft. You will receive all the benefits of fractional ownership with more flexibility, predictable costs, and a reduced financial outlay.
To access the lease program, simply begin by applying a refundable security deposit. The lease program provides you with an alternative to fractional ownership, paying a monthly lease fee over the 5-year term without the upfront asset cost. In addition to the monthly lease fee, the program also requires a monthly management fee and low occupied hourly rate to cover direct and indirect costs associated with the aircraft management and maintenance for your travel.
Fractional Ownership – Fractional Ownership is the ideal solution for you if you are flying between 50 and 400+ hours per year. With a minimum entry level of a 1/16th share in the aircraft, you gain access to 50 hours of flight time per year. The difference in fractional ownership is that you receive title to your portion of the aircraft and have access to any tax advantages that may be associated with that ownership. The term of your contract will typically be 60 months (5 years) at the end of which Flight Options will repurchase the share at the current fair market value. As a part of our service to you as an Owner, Flight Options will handle this transition out of your share.
Which program is right for me?
Deciding which Flight Options® program is right for you depends on your individual or business needs. If your needs are short term or you fly less than 25 hours per year, a JetPASS® jet card is the perfect solution. If your travel is more predictable and you fly between 50 and 400 hours per year, a fractional ownership share is the best option. Alternatively, if your needs fall somewhere in between, our Lease program combines all the benefits of a fractional share without the upfront asset cost. Your Regional Sales Director will review your unique travel needs and assist in recommending the best private jet travel solution for you.
What if my requirements change?
Flight Options realizes that your needs may change. For this reason, we will work with you to accommodate the changes and adapt a program to your new requirements. From the possibility of selling a portion of your share to adding additional hours, your Flight Options program can adapt to meet changing needs.
As a Flight Options Owner, should your aircraft and cabin requirements vary, we can right-size your aircraft to your specific trip with several different options available, depending upon your specific program. Contact your Owner Services team for complete details specific to you and your program.
How do I book my flights?
As an owner, you will have a direct line into a dedicated Owner Services Team according to geographic location. Each Owner Services Team is composed of a core group of professionals and is headed by a Team Manager. Each team knows the specific needs and preferences of their Owners and Members, and is available to you 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Trip scheduling is also available to you online via our Owner's Concierge Website, accessible through the Flight Options homepage, or via your iPad or iPhone through the Flight Options app (available only on iOS devices). Both portals provide domestic trip scheduling, trip analysis, flight confirmations, invoicing and other Owner information. To begin accessing your account via these portals, you must first activate your account profile. Please contact your Owner Services Representative to setup your account.
Am I guaranteed an aircraft? What happens if an airplane is unavailable?
While your title notes a specific tail # (for fractional Owners), you gain access to Flight Options’ full fleet of aircraft when you sign your contract. Flight Options will guarantee your trip will be taken in the fleet type which you own, or a comparable category aircraft.
Although demand does occasionally exceed the Flight Options fleet supply of aircraft (most often on Peak Travel Days) it is rare that you would be on an aircraft outside of the Flight Options fleet. Should a chartered aircraft be assigned to your trip, these operators, aircraft and crew have passed Flight Options strict guidelines for safety, reliability and service.
How do you move and schedule the aircraft to meet the needs of all of your customers?
We utilize proprietary scheduling software that matches the right crew with the right aircraft at the right place at the right time.
When an Owner schedules a flight, the trip is automatically added into our scheduling database. We then use in-house software that analyzes all the scheduled trips for that day and determines which aircraft and crew need to be where, and when. Our scheduling program will assign trips based on available planes and owners location – so the closest jet based upon the appropriate cabin size will be assigned the trip. This allows Flight Options to make the most efficient use of our private jets, our pilots, and the most valuable commodity of all, your time.
What are the differences in the jets in the Flight Options fleet?
Private jets vary greatly and have unique benefits. Aircraft are generally broken down into categories based on their range and payload (the distance an aircraft can travel prior to refueling and the amount of weight it can carry). The categories consist of light, super-light, midsize, super-mid, and large cabin. There are many different aircraft that fit into each of these categories. Because Flight Options is not owned by a manufacturer, we are able to select the best aircraft in terms of value and performance in each category. We offer five aircraft that we consider to be the best aircraft in their respective category. View our Fleet By Program page for a visual breakdown of each jet and the programs they service.
How experienced are your pilots? How do you train them? Who maintains your fleet?
We are a tenured pilot staff. The average tenure of our pilots is over 10 years flying for Flight Options. Every Flight Options cockpit is crewed by two Pilot-in-Command (PIC) qualified pilots. Collectively, Flight Options pilots have flown over 1.5 million hours of flight time. Flight Options pilots have flown in and out of the most challenging airports, including more than 16,000 legs into/out of difficult mountainous terrain such as Aspen, Colorado.
Our pilots receive rigorous annual training, and average over 10,000 hours of flight experience. Each pilot must complete 160 hours of recurrent training annually – both in full-motion simulators and in the aircraft. Each pilot has an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate and is type-rated in the specific aircraft type they fly. Our training program is so thorough, in fact, that the FAA used the Flight Options training program as the model for rewriting their official handbook on Part 135 Pilot training programs!
Many providers choose to use factory technicians for maintenance on their aircraft. This is similar to taking a car to the dealership, wherein you have to make an appointment and wait. Flight Options trains our own technicians to factory certified specifications and beyond. We are solely responsible for the maintenance of our fleet and do not have to “wait in line” to maintain our planes. This drastically improves operating efficiency, allows us to know our aircraft intimately, anticipate potential maintenance issues and address them before they become issues.
During every scheduled or unscheduled visit to a dedicated Flight Options maintenance facility, each aircraft goes through a “routine inspection”. During this inspection, the aircraft is thoroughly checked for the condition, operation and serviceability of items that could be repaired during its stay. These items include, but are not limited to; tires, instrument lighting, navigational lighting, brakes, entertainment systems and cabin amenities. Additionally, through the use of our in-house machine shop in Binghamton, NY, Flight Options has the capabilities to produce FAA approved components for its aircraft.
With consolidation and shifts in the private jet marketplace, how stable is Flight Options?
Flight Options is owned by Directional Aviation Capital, an investment company led by Flight Options founder Kenn Ricci. Directional is an aviation investment fund with $1Billion in revenue. Flight Options is the largest entity in the Directional portfolio. Flight Options holds a unique distinction, being one of the few private aviation companies to be profitable on an operating basis in each of the last four years.
In 2012, Flight Options saw a 70% growth in “conquest sales” over 2011 - a result of clients leaving competitive brands to transition into Flight Options as an owner.