When comparing private jet companies, it’s important to do your research to ensure your provider is well equipped to service all your personal and business travel needs. In today’s post-COVID environment, this doesn’t just mean comparing program terms and benefits; it now includes exploring how well each private aviation provider can guarantee certainty in your travel plans in an industry wracked by economic constraints, aircraft & crew availability issues, the supply chain crisis, and the ongoing pandemic. We’ve compiled this updated Magellan Jets vs. NetJets comparison for 2022 to help you evaluate key aspects of the two companies’ services.
We’ve broken this guide down into the following sections:
Magellan Jets vs. NetJets
Model and infrastructure
NetJets, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is one of the first names in modern private aviation and has provided private jet services since its founding in 1964 as Executive Jet Airways. NetJets’ business model involves owning its own fleet of about 800 jets and selling fractional shares or leases on those aircraft. With this model, clients’ funds are used for operations across the entire company, including aircraft maintenance, monthly management fees, the salaries of their 7,000-some employees, and other expenses. It’s akin to having customers invest in an entire airline.
Magellan Jets, founded in 2008, is a proudly lean, privately owned company with zero debt. As we oversee a global network of operators and crews and do not own a fleet ourselves, we never have to use our clients’ investment to cover things like aircraft maintenance. In fact, client funds are never mixed with operational funds—Magellan Jets guests fly with peace of mind knowing they’ve invested solely in their own travel experience, rather than the running of an entire fleet.
types of private jet programs offered
With their introduction of the fractional aircraft ownership model in 1986, NetJets broadened access to the world of private jets, offering shares of the dedicated aircraft in their fleet. Nearly four decades later, fractional shares continue to be the company’s most popular product. Their fractional program requires a minimum commitment of 36 months and is designed for customers flying a larger volume—50 hours a year or more.
Though NetJets previously offered jet cards in 25-hour increments, the company suspended all jet card sales in August of 2021; in April 2022, NetJets announced they would not bring back jet cards for the remainder of 2022. Instead, for those flying less than 50 hours, NetJets recently began offering 25-hour leases, which require no up-front cost but lock customers into either a three- or five-year commitment.
Magellan Jets, on the other hand, offers greater flexibility with a full suite of private aviation solutions—industry-leading jet card ownership, award-winning private jet membership, and on-demand charter services—designed to fit any customer’s needs. While many other companies were forced to alter or suspend their programs or waitlist customers throughout 2021, Magellan Jets has proudly kept all programs available to new and existing customers.
In addition to on-demand charter services, Magellan offers both jet-specific and category-inclusive Jet Cards in 25-hour increments, as well as a pay-as-you-go Private Jet Membership that allows private jet travelers to lock in their fixed rate and fly as much or as little as they desire. Magellan’s Jet Card Owners and Members enjoy shorter contract lengths than NetJets customers, with Jet Card and Membership contracts lasting just 12 months.
fleet vs. network
When comparing themselves to charter broker programs, NetJets touts the consistency of experience they provide when flying on the different aircraft in their fleet. However, NetJets’ fixed fleet model, which sees many thousands of customers sharing a fleet of only a few hundred jets, simply isn’t optimized for the challenges of high demand seen across today’s private aviation marketplace. When demand for flights can’t be met, NetJets cannot guarantee that every client will fly on a NetJets fleet tail number, let alone the tail number they bought. In scenarios like these, clients with larger shares will receive aircraft priority which can result in those with smaller shares being forced to fly off-fleet on a chartered flight. Essentially, many NetJets customers are paying a premium—30 percent or more compared to the charter market—just to be brokered out. At that rate, why not just fly with a charter broker?
Magellan, however, is more than just a broker—we source aircraft from our highly selective matrix of aircraft, operators, and crews: the Magellan Jets Preferred Network (MJPN). This important framework was created to uphold Magellan’s industry-leading standards, which ensure an elevated level of service and go far beyond what’s required for keeping guests and crew healthy and safe. From this premier network of over 2,500 carefully selected aircraft and over 11,250 specifically chosen crew members, our in-house team of FAA-certificated pilots and aviation professionals secures the perfect assets to fit your exact flight requirements.
When matching you with the perfect private aviation solution, Magellan Jets is not limited to what’s available in a fleet—as a customer in this industry, we are able to pull from our vast global network of the safest and most reliable crews and aircraft to meet your needs. Thanks to the MJPN, Magellan is able to provide elevated, safe, and personalized service—and thanks to our size and infrastructure, that service is arranged by people who are intimately familiar with you and your flight patterns.
Fleet-based operators may contend that flying with an off-fleet provider comes with concessions in safety; with Magellan Jets, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Magellan is an industry leader when it comes to safe flying, and we’ve been experts in off-fleet safety and service since 2008. Several members of our executive leadership team are currently serving or have served in top roles in organizations including the National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, and Air Charter Safety Foundation. We don’t simply follow and exceed safety requirements—we have a direct hand in driving the conversation around private jet safety and raising standards for the entire business aviation industry.
Both NetJets and Magellan Jets have expert Safety Management Systems (SMS) in place, but there are a few key differences.
One difference is that Magellan conducts dynamic, real-time auditing on each flight to ensure compliance with our SMS—a level of diligence a large fleet-based provider like NetJets simply cannot perform. This auditing includes advanced airplane, pilot, and crew screening so you know who you are flying with every time, as well as enhanced COVID-19 protocols. Magellan guests enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing their flight is managed and overseen by a dedicated member of our Flight Support Department. These highly trained aviation professionals perform risk assessment, deviation planning, and many other behind-the-scenes due diligence tasks that are critical to every trip—including a rigorous 42-point safety inspection.
With a fleet-based operator like NetJets, crews and aircraft are often pushed to the max to manage the fleet’s busy schedule. This situation is exacerbated by the post-pandemic “new normal” of high demand and low availability, which leads to increased pilot and crew fatigue. That’s why Magellan has a minimum crew-to-aircraft ratio and dynamically audits to optimize maintenance and crew schedules. We require operators to employ at least two sets of crews per aircraft so they can be rotated and properly rested to prevent fatigue, further reducing the risk of service or safety issues.
Another difference between NetJets and Magellan is that Magellan’s SMS is a Service and Safety Management System. We know that service issues are strongly correlated to potential safety issues, and strongly believe that excellence in service equals excellence in safety. When evaluating operators for your flight, we look closely at whether they’ve maintained an uncompromising commitment to service excellence. We’re the only provider in the private aviation space willing to measure Trip Perfection Rating, or the percentage of trips flown with zero issues whatsoever—a rating we’ve kept at near 100 percent even through the pandemic, with zero cases of covid being transmitted on our flights. As our industry deals with an increase in delays, service interruptions, and schedule changes, Magellan’s elevated safety and service standards have ensured the majority of our clients have been shielded from these issues
Aircraft Availability And Access
NetJets may have a dedicated fleet of brand-new aircraft, but customers aren’t always guaranteed 365-day access to fly on these or the off-fleet brokered aircraft brought in to meet demand. That’s because NetJets’ programs feature many blackout days, peak travel dates, and other high-volume dates that all translate to the same thing: your travel plans need to be flexible. While NetJets’ fractional shares offer fewer blocked-off dates, the company’s 25-hour lease offerings have a total of 45 blackout days per year as well as an additional 45 peak days that require advanced scheduling to fly. Additionally, on peak days, NetJets cannot guarantee customers the ability to upgrade to larger aircraft or use multiple aircraft on the same day.
Magellan Jets, however, is focused on giving clients the freedom and flexibility to fly whenever they need. Magellan’s Jet Card and Private Jet Membership programs feature zero blackout dates—guests have guaranteed access to private jets 24/7, 365, and can even utilize multiple aircraft for daily use.
Backup And Recovery
Any frequent private jet flyer knows the headaches and frustrations that can occur if your aircraft suddenly goes A.O.G. due to mechanical issues, scheduling/routing mismatches, or crews calling fatigue. Considering the strain on private aviation, you need to be sure your provider has a proper recovery plan for your flight. Both NetJets and Magellan Jets guarantee trip recovery, but NetJets’ focus on fleet optimization means they will always try to use their own fleet assets to recover a trip as it is more cost effective to do so. NetJets’ unfavorable ratio of customers to aircraft results in fewer jets for recovery (plus, the closest NetJets-owned aircraft could be far away), meaning guests could be stuck waiting for hours. Meanwhile, those who don’t wait to wait for a NetJets fleet option end up on off-fleet charter flights while still paying NetJets rates.
With Magellan, in the event a mechanical or scheduling issue occurs on your flight, our Magellan Jets Preferred Network allows us to look for the next best and closest option among the safest and most reliable operators. We understand the importance of having a proper recovery plan in place, so we ensure that our Jet Card Owners and Members have a recovery flight option at no additional cost.
Investment and fees
As we mentioned above, flying with a fleet-based operator like NetJets means that your funds go toward supporting that fleet—you’re basically investing in an airline. Roughly 30 percent more expensive than other leading private jet providers, NetJets requires significant upfront investments in addition to other fees. In particular, fractional owners end up getting locked into lengthy contract terms on assets that depreciate, and their funds expire at the end of their contract.
When determining your return on investment of working with NetJets, you must also take a closer look at your effective hourly rate. Numerous costs are unbundled to make their rates seem competitive, but that isn’t the case when you factor in overlooked costs like NetJets’ monthly management fees and peak day surcharges.
Magellan Jets, on the other hand, provides full pricing transparency—whenever a guest receives an hourly rate, there are never any hidden fees that will inflate a price tag. Our clients are never burdened by monthly maintenance fees, and Jet Card Owners and Premium Members will never pay more to fly on peak travel days. Additionally, Magellan guests’ funds on account never expire. In all, guests can expect the lowest financial risk and lowest possible incremental spend when flying with Magellan Jets.
Ready to explore Magellan’s full suite of private aviation programs? Call 877-550-5387 to speak to a consultant today, or click the button below to learn more about our Jet Card Ownership, Private Jet Membership, and Charter options.
Please let us know if you have suggestions on how we could improve this competitive review. We’ve relied on the internet, former NetJets clients, and third parties to source these insights, as competitors are often reluctant to share information.