If an executive used a commercial airline to visit four of his company’s facilities, the trip could take up to five days. But Flight Options can limit that journey to a single day, Vice President of Owner Experience Megan Wolf says. “As we see airlines dropping their non-stop services, we see more people flying with us,” she says.
Based in Cleveland, Flight Options is a fractional-owner jet operator that has three separate programs for its clients. ”One is through a card program,” Wolf describes, explaining that customers receive a debit card for 25 hours of flying.
The second program involves leasing an aircraft where clients can fly 50 hours annually over a three-year term. However, “You don’t make that commitment to owning an asset,” she states.
But in Flight Options’ third program, customers can take the leap and own a fraction of the jet for up to five years. “Most of our owners are flying 100 hours a year,” she says, noting that the company has a fleet of 65 jets.
Flight Options’ clientele consists of corporate and personal buyers who can often be found on the pages of The Wall Street Journal, Wolf says. “Our ownership base leans towards entrepreneurs who have started their own business and had their own success,” she states.
Flight Options strives for comfort during each client’s trip. Not only is each jet equipped with Wi-Fi access, it is stocked with food that includes the client’s favorite snacks. “If they’re flying at lunch, we have sandwiches on board,” Wolf says. “We take care of all of their catering needs.”
The company also caters for special events. When owners have brought children on the jet, “We’ve done princess birthday parties,” Wolf says. “We’ve also done retirement parties.”
Flight Options strives for consistency in the customer’s experience. “We have a specific boarding choreography,” Wolf says, noting that this includes having the pilot meet the customer upon arrival. “There’s a lot of touch points that we manage on a day-to-day basis.”
Its customers appreciate this level of care. “Because their schedule is so demanding, being able to get on the aircraft is the easiest thing they do all week,” she says.
With so many services, and the ability to access 5,000 airports versus 500 through commercial, Flight Options relies on trusted vendors and partners to “make what we do happen,” Wolf says. “I have to make sure that they can deliver to our expectations.”
This can require the company to give its clients advice on what they order. Wolf recalls an incident when one of Flight Options’ jets landed at an airport in a small town. At the time, the client ordered bagels and lox.
But when the order arrived, Flight Options received bagels and a bag of gym padlocks, Wolf recalls.
“If you’re ordering sushi and coming out of New York, that’s easy,” Wolf says. “But in a small, remote town, that is a little more challenging because you’re not going to get fresh fish readily available. We have to give our owners guidance that they might have to get something else.”
A Personal Touch
Wolf entered the fractional-owner jet industry 15 years ago when she joined Raytheon Travel Air. “In 2002, Flight Options acquired that company,” she recalls, noting that she is proud of the company’s growth and leadership position in personalized service. She noted the firm’s staff member stake a personal approach to their work every day.
“They’ll stay late to make sure that an issue is resolved,” she says.
The future looks promising for Flight Options, according to Wolf. “We’re going to continue to be known for the service that we provide and that very personal attention that we give,” she predicts.