Card-Carrying Luxury

Card-Carrying Luxury

Jet Linx takes off in the Scottsdale Airpark

Story and photos by Marjorie Rice

For many travelers, flying involves a long slog from the parking lot, lugging bags to the check-in line, inching their way shoeless to the security X-ray, and then rushing to an overflowing departure area where—if they’re lucky—the plane is ready for boarding via yet another line. Then, of course, there’s the stuffing of carry-on belongings into the overhead before settling into a skimpy seat.

Now imagine you’re a Jet Linx Aviation customer at the company’s new Scottsdale Airport base. Here’s how Jon Hulburd, managing partner for Jet Linx’ Scottsdale base, describes it:

You arrive at the airport, click your way through a gate and drive into the private hangar where your jet awaits. A friendly agent greets you by name and whisks you to the steps and into the jet. He gets your bags from the car and stows them. (The car will be washed and detailed, then locked in a secure hangar until your return.) You settle in for the ride, relaxed and pampered.

And if you’re late, you don’t miss the plane. It waits for you.

Private air travel long has been an option for affluent and corporate customers. In the 1980s, “fractional ownership” was developed, where owners could buy a share of an aircraft instead of carrying the financial burden of an entire jet. Co-owners pay monthly fees for management including scheduling, maintenance and insurance. They also pay for flight hours they use. At the end of the purchase contract period—usually five years—the jet may be sold and any proceeds divided among the co-owners.

Jet Linx Aviation was founded in 1999 in Omaha, Neb., operating on a different model: “jet card” services rather than fractional ownership, and local bases rather than the national fleets and centralized service offered by many competitors.

“Our card program is the most cost-effective guaranteed program in the industry,” Hulburd says. “The cards allow us to offer very attractive pricing and the convenience and comfort of private jet travel without the headaches, up-front capital and depreciation of a fractional program.”

Jet card programs allow people to buy travel in hourly increments—25, 50 or 100-hour segments for Jet Linx’s Latitude Jet Card program. Members also can buy Jet Linx’s Longitude Jet Card, which offers a small, one-time enrollment fee and unlimited pay-by-the-hour flights.

Jet Linx cards offer other benefits, Hulburd says. “While some card programs have time limits—usually 12 to 18 months—for using the hours purchased, our cards never expire. They’re also refundable, a feature not available in many other jet card programs. Most importantly, we guarantee availability for our clients. In 14 years of business, we have never missed a flight.”

Hulburd adds that safety is paramount for the company. “Jet Linx is a leader in the industry for our safety practices.”

Jet Linx provides service on a range of airplanes, from light jets carrying up to eight passengers to heavy jets that carry up to 16. The planes are owned by local entities in each market, not Jet Linx, Hulburd says. “We provide aircraft management for owners who want extra lift (hours flown) to offset their costs. An owner may only need to use the plane for 200 hours. Jet Linx will schedule flights for our Jet Card members for another 200 hours.”

The company also has private jet purchase and sales teams.

Hulburd joined Jet Linx after a career as an attorney specializing in commercial litigation. He also created an import company that shipped Mexican pottery products to retailers in the United States. In 2010, Hulburd ran for Congress in Arizona’s Third District, losing to Republican Ben Quayle. Following that, he sought another challenge.

“I’ve had a bunch of different business ventures,” Hulburd says. “I connected with Jet Linx Aviation through friends of friends. I was dazzled by their corporate culture and the level of professionalism and commitment to quality and safety. This is fun because I’m partnering with a well-established corporate partner.

“I founded our Scottsdale base late in 2012, and we opened our doors Jan. 1. Ours was the seventh in the company; now there are nine, including the national operations center in Omaha and bases in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, San Antonio and St. Louis.”

Hulburd says he expects the Scottsdale base to double its flights per week by year-end. “We plan to hire more customer service personnel as our local membership grows.”

Jet Linx Scottsdale

7916 E. Beck Lane, Suite 200