Written by DLX contributor Lauren deLisa Coleman.
Lauren is a contributor to leading media outlets such as Forbes, CNBC.com, and Inc. She tracks the convergence of cultural trends with that of emerging tech and the impact of that on business and politics. When she’s not on-air or speaking at events, she is all about listening to the best in hip-hop.
Little did Sergey Petrossov know that the private flight that he took in 2009 would lead to the disruption of the entire industry. Based on the experience, he not only recognized an opportunity to create an entirely new level of business in private flights but also leveraged technology to do so in an unprecedented manner. Now, at only 29 years old, he sits atop Jetsmarter, a company that is democratizing the private flying experience for luxury travelers and their dream destinations.
Destination Luxury: What is the main differentiator with Jetsmarter as opposed to other companies offering private flights?
Sergey Petrossov: What Jetsmarter is offering is actually a new transportation network in the sky. We have a variety of offerings but the shuttles are the primary reason why people enroll via the app. The schedule for private flights is actually driven by the Jetsmarter community. You chose the airport and time. The person who originates the flight is charged a launch price and is given a number of seats. Then that time is published, and other Jetsmarter members interested in that flight book a seat. The need directly correlates to that of the desire of the members.
DLX: This is actually a different approach that seems to create greater efficiency. How does it compare, competitively?
Petrossov: After I took a private flight, I ended up meeting the owner and learning a lot about the business. I saw that there was no digital solution, so I created one. Prior to Jetsmarter, there were only 2-3 people on a flight since it was completely private. We offer that too, but for those who want to have a luxury experience at a lower cost, you can get that via Jetsmarter at about 80% less than the typical private flights booking. Essentially we deliver a private aviation experience for at near commercial pricing because of our groundbreaking model around bookings and scheduling.
DLX: How did you develop the approach?
Petrossov: I have an analytical background. So I took a lot of time to analyze what people would pay for and what they wanted. This is about having the luxury of time, being in control of your time. Successful people are willing to pay a premium for time, and we work to deliver the best results.
DLX: What is the experience like when you fly Jetsmarter?
Petrossov: Departure is from authentic, private airports, first of all. Within the first five minutes, a passenger is greeted by a Jetsmarter team member and escorted onto the aircraft. Once aboard, there is catered food.
The flight times are actually faster than commercial planes because we fly higher and, therefore, have smoother airspace. All passengers experience better cabin pressure, and it’s just less stressful all around. It’s also more healthy for passengers because there are fewer people than that of a commercial experience. Before, private planes were small. You had to bend into them, and there was no service. We offer full standing capability, comparable to that of Gulfstream. We have professional attendants. The food is much better because we partner with restaurants. And if you have a special request, such as Nobu, we’ll get it for you. This is all about an elevated experience.
DLX: How many flights has the company completed?
Petrossov: Jetsmarter has had as many as 50 flights per day between New York and South Florida, for example. This is our oldest route. We do more than American Airlines. We’re able to do this because the app really drives our business. It is dynamic. We did 23 updates in 2017, alone.
DLX: What do you see as future growth for the company and its impact on the luxury traveler?
Petrossov: Well, we’ve flown approximately 109,000 people this year. We will triple that during 2018. This is about using a social scheduling concept to deliver an exclusive experience, on a global level for influencers who have places to go and want to do so by being in control of their flight schedules. This is really the new luxury.
For more information on private flights, visit jetsmarter.com.
All images courtesy of Jetsmarter.