Introducing Blackjet, the Uber of private jets

Allows people to reserve seats on private planes, investors include Ashton Kutcher

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 26, 2012
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I’ve always kind of wondered what it would be like to have a private jet. No airports, no lines or other people crowding you in your seat. No running to the airport, making sure to get there hours ahead so you don’t accidentally miss your flight, stranding you are the airport for who knows how long. It must be pretty nice.

Suddenly, that option may be open to more people with Blackjet, a new service that launched Friday, AllThingsD reported. It is from the people that brought you car service app Uber, including Uber co-founder, former CEO of Stumbleupon, Garrett Camp.

Camp is leading product development for Blackjet and is the lead investor in a funding round worth single-digit millions. Other investors include Shervin Pishevar, who also invested in Uber, Ashton Kutcher, Roc Nation, Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment.

Blackjet allows its user to book seat on private jets. Users pay around $2,000 a year in membership fees, then pay $950 for a short flight, and $3,500 to fly cross country. The service is currently invite only.

While it is not cheap to use Blackjet, it is also not a service that is so expensive it is out of the reach of anyone but the richest of the rich. I mean, I certainly couldn’t afford it, but I know some people who fly frequently enough that it might become worth it, especially for the convenience.

The first reservations, which can be made today, are for November 15. The first flights will be between New York and Los Angeles and New York and South Florida. Bookings are currently made online, but a mobile app is coming.

While renting private jets may not seem like a service many would go into, Blackjet is not the only similar service out there.

There is also Surf Air, a membership-based flight service offering trips between SoCal and NorCal smaller airports like Palo Alto, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. It raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding in June.

There is also one called Flightmaker, which matches small groups of people with common travel itineraries to reduce the cost of private jet travel.

Uber, which was founded in 2011, In recent months, is an on demand private car service. All a user has to do is bring up the app, push a button and a car will arrive for them. It is currently available in cities around the globe, including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, London and Paris.

The San Francisco-based Uber has raised a total of around $44.5 million in funding, including a  $32 million in Series B funding in December 2011.

In August, Uber began allowing users in Paris to order motorcycle taxis via the app and cut through all the metro traffic that clogs up the streets. This addition came after an announcement earlier in the summer, labelled "Uber X," where users could request more than just the black Lincoln Town cars and SUVs that were already within the service to include Hybrids and other hired cars.

Uber could not be reached for comment.

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