Up Together members ultimately book their flights directly with independent Shared Aviation Providers. These providers typically offer three types of flight sharing.
1) Empty Legs. An empty leg is a repositioning flight that is scheduled to fly with no passengers. Although they provide the best value, they never seem to be going my way.
2) Shared Charter requires a lead passenger who is ultimately responsible for the flight. The lead passenger can post extra seats on the provider's website for others to purchase in return for flight credit.
3) Shuttle Flights. Sold by the individual seat, Shuttle Flights work best for shared adventures. Up Together will plan most adventures along existing shuttle flight routes.
Wheels Up offers Empty Legs (Hot Flights), Shared Charter, and Shuttle Flights. A membership fee is required to access their program. They own a fleet of brand new King Air 350is which offer tremendous value on flights under two hours. They also own a fleet of Citation Excel midsize jets for longer trips and have purchased 700 mph Citation Xs, the world's fastest passenger jet, for intercontinental travel. Their fleet is operated by their partner Gamma Aviation and they add supplemental lift with chartered aircraft from approved charter operators. A membership fee is required to access their program. They have unique Shared Charter option which allows all potential members of a shared flight to agree on a flight's itinerary before making any financial commitments.
JetSmarter currently offers the most shared flights. They offer Empty Legs Shared Charters, and Shuttle Flights. Their app allows travelers to create their own Shuttle Flights along popular routes. JetSmarter has a membership fee but they recently introduced a non-membership option that allows non-members to book flights at rates slightly to moderately higher than JetSmarter members. JetSmarter does not own any aircraft and is purely a charter broker. The type, operator, and age of aircraft varies from charter to charter.
NetJets is a fractional private jet provider with among the newest fleet of jets. They use supplemental lift provided by approved charter operators on peak demand days. They do not have a formal flight sharing program but I have shared flights with fellow program members when flying in their program.
Sentient Jet uses a network of approved charter operators and breaks its charter offerings into two groups. A newer Preferred fleet and an older Select fleet. Again, they do not have a formal flight sharing program but I have shared flights with fellow program members when flying in their Flight Options program.
If private flight sharing is unavailable or deemed too expensive, Up Together members can always fly commercially to participate in a shared adventure. While private aviation travelers may be able to leave at their convenience on a relaxing flight for an shared adventure, that doesn't mean the avid golfer or skier can't catch an early morning commercial flight out of Newark airport and join the fun.
On Demand Private Charter is easy to obtain but very difficult to share as almost all Part 135 operators will only contract with one party. Furthermore, Federal Aviation Regulations prohibit a passenger from charging other passengers for re-imbursement for carriage. This method works best only among closely related parties.
Public Charter is sold by seat the but limited in service. They operate under DOT 14 CFR 380 regulations and require a charter prospectus filed with the DOT in advance of any seat offerings. The Blade shuttle out of HPN and the Ultimate Air Shuttle our of MMU are examples of Public Charter flights.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SAFETY
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) offers this guide to the questions you must ask before you or your guests board any private aircraft.
Up Together makes no representations or recommendations about the safety of any Independent Aviation Provider, Operator, or Aircraft.