Flexjet cards moving, as even the rich feel the sting

The days of the private jet may be over – or at least put off for a while – but those with means are still doing all they can to avoid commercial flights. Fuel prices have come down over the past year, but it still costs a bundle to put a private jet in the sky, especially when much of that “extra cash” has disappeared.

So, it looks like uncooperative financial markets are making private jet alternatives, such as the Flexjet 25 Jet Card, pretty attractive. In fact, sales for this particular solution are up this year … pretty surprising in this market. The company had a record-setting month in January and is about to double its sales team. When you look a little deeper, though, you can see why the wealthy are going with a “debit card” for flying.

In addition to the sheer cost of owning, managing and operating a private jet, this group of travelers is looking to the future. The effective price per flight increases when you consider the expenses that come with keeping a jet on the ground – from crew to storage. Even if the worst of the financial crisis is behind us, the absence of recovery means that jet owners are worse off than they were 12 months ago. Without a distinct change for the better, this population needs to reconsider its commitment to private flying.

With fewer flight hours logged, the ground costs become proportionately higher, leading many to question the sense of having a jet at all. The Flexjet 25 Jet Card is among the solutions that can help the truly upscale traveler cut personal expenses without luxury. Since it offers the best of both worlds – conspicuous luxury at a lower price – it’s hardly surprising that the card is gaining traction right now.

Flexjet’s good news may be indicative of a broader trend in the travel industry, particularly among high net worth travelers. Doubtless, financial pressures lead people to make cuts, and the rich are no exception. But, it would be hasty to conclude that a dip in the Dow means total abstinence from the good life. Gradual change, when possible, is the likely course of action. As the recession runs its course, it may give life to a new breed of luxury travel companies that make comfort, convenience and style more affordable … but hardly cheap.