Startup Hands Out Free Private Jet Flights for Christmas and New Year’s Eve

This is not a drill.

So much better than Megabus. (Facebook)

So much better than Megabus. (Facebook)

Are you making last-minute travel plans for the holidays? Are you the jerk in your friend group who likes proving how much swankier and classier he is than everyone else?

JetSmarter, the app perhaps best described as the Uber for private jets, recently debuted their new #TisTheSeasonToFly campaign.

On Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the company’s offering free empty leg flights on private jets to anyone with the app. To clarify, by “free,” we mean YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING FOR A RIDE ON A PRIVATE JET.

“We [want to] make the public more aware that there are last minute deals, and they’re accessible,” JetSmarter founder Sergey Petrossov told Betabeat. “Don’t think just the 0.001 percent can take advantage of private jets.”

Okay, so how exactly does this work?

The campaign takes advantage of empty leg flights: the flights jets take on their way to go pick up their next passengers. Empty leg flights would otherwise be empty, which means JetSmarter is able to get you on them for low rates—or, in the case of their holiday campaign—for free.

Empty legs generally fly between major U.S. cities; there are lots of flights from New York to D.C., Chicago and Miami.

While anyone with the app can get an empty-leg flight for free on Christmas and New Year’s, JetSmarter’s been offering free empty leg flights to its elite group of “members” since the beginning of December. “Members,” Mr. Petrossov explained, are those who pay $7,000 per year in exchange for special perks.

Casually booking another private jet while you're already on a private jet. Nice. (Facebook)

Casually booking another private jet while you’re already on a private jet. Nice. (Facebook)

“People are going crazy when they get on a flight and they literally didn’t pay anything,” Mr. Petrossov said.

Mr. Petrossov’s ultimate mission is to disrupt the private jet industry, making the elite form of transportation more accessible to the masses. As he points out, if you split a $1,700 empty-leg flight on a private jet amongst a group of friends, “it’s still reasonable.” Of course, it’s reasonable if you can afford air travel to begin with, and don’t ever find yourself eating popcorn and ramen for dinner.

But you can’t just compare the benefits of private jets in terms of price, Mr. Petrossov argued. When you fly a private jet, you don’t have to deal with the hassles of standard airport security—you can show up mere minutes before your flight.

“You save time, and time is money,” Mr. Petrossov said.

JetSmarter’s founder has lofty plans for the future. By the end of 2015, Mr. Petrossov wants to grow JetSmarter’s empty-leg offerings from 2,500 per month to 10,000 per month. By 2016, he wants that number to be between 80,000 and 100,000, and is hoping the empty legs won’t just fly within the U.S., but perhaps overseas to London, too.

Next year, the company’s also opening offices in Dubai and Zurich, which’ll be the “beginning of our true, heavy international expansion,” Mr. Petrossov said.

Lastly, JetSmarter’s planning a number of strategic partnerships—one being with Blade, the app that lets you casually charter a helicopter whenever you might need one. They’ve partnered with Blade’s “Bounce” program, which ferries customers between Midtown Manhattan and Teterboro Airport for a cool $800. Additionally, if JetSmarter users register with Blade, they get two free Blade rides to the Hamptons. How convenient.

Typical of a startup founder, Mr. Petrossov has a perhaps-delusionally optimistic vision of his app’s transformative power.

“Before, people used to be addicted to Facebook,” he said. “Now people are sitting on our app.”

Startup Hands Out Free Private Jet Flights for Christmas and New Year’s Eve