Stratajet, The Fastest Way to a Successful Business Meeting
April 23, 2018
The 21st Century. The age of immediacy. From takeaways to taxis. Everything is available at the click of a button.
Everything apart from private jets, that is. And this presents an interesting paradox.
Private jets, on the face of it, are a hassle-free luxury, designed with efficiency in mind. But dig a little deeper and you discover that, while some aircraft are indeed luxurious, the means of booking them has historically been incredibly inefficient.
Phone a broker. The broker requests from a handful of aircraft operators. The operators have to manually calculate the cost of the flight. They provide quotes back to the broker. The broker takes a (hefty) cut. The passenger is at the mercy of this convoluted and over-priced process.
The result? A needlessly, time-consuming and costly experience that is at odds with the luxury of the actual travel. At odds with the concept of getting the flier from A to B as quickly as possible. Even providers who have brought this process ‘online’ still employ a manual element of calculation, using a website to collect flight requests and providing quotes via email instead of the phone.
Imagine booking a commercial flight on Skyscanner or Expedia and having to wait several hours for a quote to land in your inbox. People book holidays to escape frustration, not suffer it!
So why is this the norm when flying privately?
The answer is the complexity of calculating the cost of any flight. There are 15 sets of fees, each with thousands of variables, that must be factored into the calculations, and the nature of private jet travel – in that it offers a bespoke service – brings with it the need to calculate the cost of every potential flight from scratch.
Until now, the technology has not existed to filter through all these fee variables for every single available aircraft and return accurate prices of flights. But that’s where visionary entrepreneur Jonny Nicol comes in. The former RAF fast-jet pilot and British Army officer, turned computer scientist, describes the industry as having been “like a private members club, with bookings unnecessarily difficult”.
Nicol dreamed of streamlining the private jet booking process whilst ‘moonlighting’ as a corporate freelance pilot and sat on the tarmac at Nice airport, ready to fly an empty aircraft back to London.
“I wondered,” he muses, “why other passengers heading back to London couldn’t take advantage of the empty aircraft and enjoy a much nicer flying environment. There were time and costs savings to be had and if all the factors could be built into a suitable algorithm, it would help fill demand and lower costs across the board, ultimately bringing private flying into the mainstream.”
This dream came true in the form of Stratajet, the first website (and app) that gives fliers direct access to the private jet marketplace.
But it wasn’t without its challenges. Because of the complexity of the quoting process, the technology took five years to build, including gathering all the necessary data, building it into an algorithm complex enough to filter through upwards of 2.5million calculations and optimising the system to do this fast enough to be a viable consumer proposition.
Nicol has also solved the problem of passenger-less flights roaming our skies. ‘Empty legs’ are all too common as aircraft are repositioned to pick up passengers and the prospect of filling them has long plagued the industry. Other providers have tried to solve the empty leg problem by publishing all of their passenger-less flights in the hope that customers will take them up, given there are 4,437,432 different flights combinations between over 2,100 airfields in Europe alone, the odds of finding an empty leg travelling from your location to where you want to go are basically zero. But Stratajet is able to factor the costs of making adjustments to empty leg flights, such as a route diversion or delayed take-off, into customers’ search parameters, resulting in huge savings.
The result? The figures speak for themselves. Stratajet is changing the perception of the industry by making it more accessible to a wider audience of fliers. The mainstream traveller is now able to benefit more freely from the perks of private jets, including a younger audience than ever before. 69% of searches conducted on Stratajet are by those forty or under, whil e 25 to 34 year olds represent the company’s fastest growing age bracket. This is well below the industry average.
What’s more a third of the company’s customers are first-time private jet fliers, a staggering statistic when compared to the industry average of less than one per cent. The number of women searching for private jets has doubled since the launch of the platform in 2016 and families flying with kids make up around 40% of bookings. The industry enjoyed its best year in a decade in 2017.
When asked what makes Stratajet special, aside from it’s unique position in the industry, Nicol thinks long and hard before answering.
“It’s the knowledge that the hard work has paid off,” he says. “We are now fundamentally changing the way people travel and, although the process of getting the technology up and running was a long and laborious one, those dark days were worth it now that we are redefining an entire industry.”
Stratajet allows you to search, compare and book from the largest choice of private jets available for charter at the best prices, instantly.