Private planes aren’t just for top dogs. “Fly private for the price of first” is the tagline for Jumpjet, which lets you and your pooch travel like a one percenter and provides a safer alternative to checking your pets in the baggage compartment.
Say goodbye to treating your dogs like luggage. Every year, scores of family pets die while being transported on commercial airlines. Airlines are required to report animal incidents monthly to the Department of Transportation. With the newly-launched Jumpjet, members pay a monthly fee to fly private with other members on otherwise empty private planes that are part of a pool. Dogs are allowed in cabin for an additional $250 aircraft cleaning fee charged by the operators.
“Pets are members of families today,” says Jumpjet founder Will Ashcroft. He used to take his lab/collie Rugby with him when he piloted helicopter flights in the Bahamas, much to the delight of parents of nervous children. “Jumpjet’s focus is to create a stress free environment for the passenger and if the family dog is going to then we want to help. Each jet is privately owned so there are guidelines that Jumpjet has to follow and all aircraft owners want a cleaning fee so that future passengers who might be allergic are not affected.”
That makes sense since some hotels operate in the same way. Animal behavior is checked by the pilots and so far there have been no complaints for passengers. “In some cases, parents with kids loved it.”
Jumpjet doesn’t restrict the number of pets on a plane. “However if they have three Newfoundlands there may not be room on the aircraft if they are on a short trip,” Ashcroft said. “Anyone wanting to take a larger dog will have to coordinate it with member services.”
Pets don’t get their own seats and are expected to stay on the floor in the aisle, at the feet of their guardian. Kennels are not required when dogs fly private, but, Ashcroft said, “If the captain decides the animal could cause a risk to the safety of passengers or the crew they can stop the animal from flying as they do not travel in the cargo area. If the animal is small, high energy and barks a lot then that would be an example of a dog that would need to be secured.”
Fly private costs
Jumpjet launched this fall in more than 40 cities and can transport you and your four-legged friend to well over over 1,000 airports across the continental United States. There’s a one-time, $550 application fee that covers administrative fees and vets potential members against the government’s no-fly list. Once approved, sign up for one of the tiered plans, all of which require an annual commitment.
- Upper Club: Starting at $2,350 per month for 10 trips per year on flights with a maximum of three hours, 15 minutes flight time one way.
- Upper Club Plus: Starting at $3,995 per month for 10 trips per year on flights with a maximum four hours, 15 minutes flight time one way.
- Coast to Coast Elite: $5500 per month for 10 trips within the continental USA.
There’s also a shared membership that allows a group of up to 10 to purchase a membership, frequent flyer perks, VIP Concierge Service, reduced rates for guests and the ability to gift flights to others (think honeymooners, graduates, employees).
Do the math and the actual first-class airfare may be less than on Jumpjet. But throw in the hassles of commercial airports, stress, arriving early, security lines, flight delays and the vet bill for obtaining a health certificate (if necessary) for your dog to fly, and Jumpjet seems like quite a deal — especially if it means you don’t have to subject your dog to the dreaded and sometimes dangerous baggage compartment on commercial airlines.
Jumpjet isn’t the only company bringing affordable private jets to the masses. BlackJet, whose co-founder Garrett Camp started the on-demand private driver service Uber, launched in November with celebrity backers Ashton Kutcher, Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and Roc Nation, a partnership between Live Nation and Jay-Z. For now, an invite code is necessary to join BlackJet and it is not known whether pets are allowed on BlackJet’s aircraft. Surf Air, which plans to offer an all-you-can-fly membership on private planes, has been in the works for a while and will initially only operate in the California market. It is expected to begin service in the new year, pending FAA certification, but will not allow pets on its aircraft.
But this isn’t Ashcroft’s first rodeo. He originally launched Jumpjet several years ago but it didn’t last long. He’s back with big plans for his company that is allowing more of us to fly private for less and provides a safer way for pets to travel.
“Who knows in the future if there is enough demand we might set up strictly pet only aircraft but today we’ll do all we can to accommodate an owner’s needs,” Ashcroft said.
With the demise of Pet Airways, the pet-only airline that launched in 2009 but ceased operations a year ago, a pet-only airline is badly needed. One other option for now is Pet Jets, a service that connects those wanting to fly private with their pets with FAA-approved air carriers seeking to sell discounted empty-leg and one way charter trips. These options are cheaper than fractional ownership and much safer for pooches.
How likely is it that you will use a service like Jumpjet when traveling with your dog? Share your thoughts with The Jet Set Pets Community in the box below.