Photo Courtesy of Cessna AircraftFor those of us who simply don't have the time to deal with airport security and the possibility of flight delays or cancellations, flying private is the obvious choice. However, when the economy began struggling many people who once flew private had to sacrifice their comfort and take their shoes off at the metal detector to save the extra bucks. Chet Dudzik, President and Founder of JetWay Private Air, decided to start his own full service charter company that brought private flights to the masses at nearly half the cost of competitors, riding the new trend wave of luxury travelers concerned with value.
Having led the sales departments for Marquis Jet and Sentient Jet, Dudzik has seen a lot of inefficiencies in the way private aviation is run and chose to create his own brand to shine light on the inflated costs and unnecessary surcharges. Dudzik took the time to answer all our questions regarding where private aviation is going, what makes JetWay successful and what kinds of perks you can expect from his company.
Mila Pantovich: Before you founded JetWay you led the sales departments for Marquis Jet and Sentient Jet; what caused you to shift into starting your own company?
Chet Dudzik: Any private jet flyer can tell you that there’s a lot of opacity and ‘noise’ in flight pricing today. Different programs work to muddy the comparison process — it can feel a lot like comparing apples to oranges, and it really doesn’t have to be that way. I created JetWay Private Air to expose the inefficiencies, inflated hourly rates, and fuel surcharges of other current private jet business models, with a mission to offer customers the safety and service they require at the industry’s lowest cost.
We don’t force flyers into a menu of fixed hourly rates like fractional or card programs do. Instead our buy-as-you-fly model allows members to take advantage of true market rates for their specific itineraries, without hefty up front deposits and long-term contracts. Members get more flexibility at a lower cost, without compromising on fleet or safety.
MP: What did you bring over from sales that helped make JetWay successful?
CD: After so many years in the industry, I’ve come to know the ins and outs of every jet program out there. I know how they mask fees and penalize unassuming flyers, and how to ‘decode’ all of that information. Most importantly, however, my (and my team’s) expertise in sourcing and negotiating the best terms for each and every itinerary booked through our offices is what has fueled our company’s exponential growth over the past few years.
I’ve also gained a deep understanding of what the luxury flyer values most in a provider – safety, high service standards, professional crew, and customization. JetWay was built on those tenets. We take our members’ needs very seriously. (Photo Courtesy of Bombardier, Inc.)
MP: What does your company offer that other luxury private jet companies don't?
CD: Unlike other companies that only offer a menu of fixed hourly rates that rarely reflect market rates that could possibly benefit the flyer, JetWay actually customizes and cost-negotiates with providers for each individual trip. It’s an entirely different model that passes the cost benefit to the flyer. That means a few things:
- Cost Efficiency — Our pay-as-you-go (buy as you fly) model is more cost efficient than the private jet companies who offer cards and fractional plans. We don’t require any upfront costs or large deposits, we free our members from the binding restrictions imposed by other jet companies, and eliminate the penalties associated with card or fractional programs.
- High Service and Safety Standards — JetWay adheres to the strictest service and safety standards in the industry, and we pride ourselves on an unblemished record. All of our aircraft and facilities have been approved by outside aviation consulting firms including Wyvern and ARGUS and our jets are operated under Part 135 of the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations), which contains some of the most stringent requirements of all FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations.
- Customization — Our on-demand charter solution is customized and cost-negotiated for each specific trip, granting the flexibility to accommodate unpredictable scheduling, changes, special requests, and providing solutions among a large choice of aircraft. (Photo Courtesy of JetWay Private Air)
MP: What kind of amenities do people expect to find on a private jet and what do you see as the next big perk of flying private?
CD: Our members are typically Fortune 500 companies, athletes, celebrities, VCs and BRS (Banker Road Show) clients, and all of them want hassle-free, friendly, customized service. None of our flights require tedious TSA screenings and we pride ourselves on comfort and convenience for our flyers. All JetWay flights welcome pets, allow baggage of all types (many times stored in the cabin within your reach), and include catering customized to every preference and taste. Our concierge services handle every aspect of your travel arrangements, and provide complimentary onboard catering on all flights (premium catering arranged by request.)
However what I really love, and what I feel is the emerging trend in private air ‘"perks", is experiential flights. We recently offered a "52 Love Salute" flight for Valentine’s Day, complete with 52 love songs and a 52-carat heart shaped diamond necklace in-flight, as well as a night of indulgence at the Four Seasons Hotel New York. Decadent experiences like that might not be an everyday thing for our members, but we’re putting together some really interesting experience flights that cater to people’s more modest pleasures — stay tuned.
MP: What are some of the trends you've been seeing in the luxury jet industry and where do you see the industry going?
CD: Overall I’d say the biggest trend is the emergence of a new kind of luxury traveler — one who looks for value, not necessarily just price. People who slowed down on their luxury travel over the past few years because they felt it was extravagant (or what some call “embarrassed luxury”) are returning, but with a different mindset. Now they read their contracts, compare programs, want transparency on exactly what they’re paying for. That’s the main reason why JetWay has grown so quickly. People who used to be on fractional or card programs are flocking to our pay-as-you-go model because they see what a great value it is, without having to sacrifice an ounce of service, quality, or safety. (Photo Courtesy of Raytheon Aircraft)
MP: Why should someone choose a pay-as-you-go program over a fractional program? What kind of flexibility does it offer?
CD: Pay-as-you-go (or perhaps better called pay-for-what-you-get) is really for fliers who want the exact same level of luxury, service, and safety, but also demand transparency and the lowest hourly rates around. Our members know all of their costs up front, which is a very basic benefit not provided by other jet programs.
When you know how much your travel is going to cost, and you know exactly what kind of service and amenities you’re getting for that price, the only thing left to consider is how much you’re willing to pay for a flight. It’s that simple. We cut out all of the convoluted financial and logistical considerations you’d have to take into account if you were comparing and/or flying on a card or fractional program.
That gives our members the added luxuries of value, cost savings, flexibility in scheduling and booking, and peace of mind knowing they’re flying with a company they can trust. (Photo Courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace)
MP: In what areas are you seeing the most growth?
CD: We’re seeing growth in interesting niches across business and personal travel. I’d say the biggest upswing on the business side is among companies in high-growth stages. Travel is vital to their sales and operations, so they’ve come to use private aviation as a business tool similar to any other tool like database management, software, etc. They understand the benefit of flying with a flexible, dependable, cost-efficient jet provider like JetWay over fractional or card programs, or commercial flights.
On the personal side, we’re seeing a lot of "extended" family travel. For example, a grandparent will treat their kids and grandkids to a family vacation, bringing everyone together and keeping the cost per passenger on-par with commercial first class. It’s really important for them to maximize their time as a family, and they do that by flying private — saving hours that would otherwise be wasted with scheduling, security, check-in, and waiting at the gate. They want to enjoy each other’s company, and flying private facilitates a relaxed, enjoyable experience. (Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto | Thinkstock)