MoviePass of the Skies? JetSmarter Guts Terms After People Pay Years In Advance
JetSmarter was supposed to shake up the travel industry, but it turns out that they have been cheating their customers and losing millions in the process. Now they’re being sued and facing security questions as well after some strange incidents. The company was touting a valuation of over $1 billion, but is now worth less than one-fifth that amount, based on its latest investment.
Here’s how it all worked. Many of the private jets flying around the skies are empty or under-used. JetSmarter could be the middle man, buying those seats cheaply and use an app to connect the seats with passengers. That would give revenue to the owners of the plane and access to private jets for people who cannot afford one.
One lawsuit comes from Leonardo Galvez, CNBC reports. He got an offer from JetSmarter that seemed too good to pass up. The private jet start-up was offering Galvez its top-of-the-line “sophisticated membership,” which included unlimited, free private jet flights and the chance to bring a guest. The membership usually costs $50,000 a year, but JetSmarter told Galvez that if he acted now, he could get three years for $97,500. He accepted the longer membership. But when he tried to use its membership just a couple of weeks later, he was told that he had to pay 75% of the cost of his flights. The guest pass and other benefits also disappeared.
JetSmarter said in a statement that “changes to our member services and benefits were within the rights of our membership agreement,” which states that the company can “change, suspend or terminate” services or benefits at any time. The company also said members still have access to certain benefits.
There’s some satisfied customers out there as well, but it seems to depend on when you jumped into it. Earlier customers have gotten some great value out of their membership, but benefits have dwindled over the years. There’s currently 13 lawsuits against the company.
To make things even worse, CNBC says that JetSmarter’s legal team has also waged an aggressive campaign against critics and former employees. Its membership agreements previously barred members from making any “negative comments” about the company or its executives “orally and in writing”.
This is all a reminder that sometimes if a deal is too good to be true, it might be just that. It was supposed to be the Uber of private jets, but it has turned into the MoviePass of the skies. Has anyone taken a JetSmarter flight? Let us know.