Set Jet by Tom Smith: When Convenience Offers the Greatest Luxury

Undoubtedly, the choice to fly privately is extravagant. That is until Set Jet managed to change the paradigm of private air travel. Let’s see how this supernova checks all key checkboxes of private aviation - safety, convenience, luxury and price.
Set Jet co-founders in an open day
Courtesy: Set Jet
By | 8 min read

Set Jet, founded in 2012, is a membership-based private jet operator based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The West Coast-based startup is the brainchild of leaders such as Tom Smith, Trey Smith, and Scott Untrecht. At the moment, the airline has a comparatively small route network, linking Las Vegas, Scottsdale, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. There are 11 routes to select from in total, yet some are not on a daily basis.

Set Jet is a membership-based private jet charter program that offers the convenience and comfort of flying by private jet without the exorbitant cost. A limited number of approved Members in each city are eligible for membership. Set Jet’s Member Services Representatives and Cabin Hostesses have been well-trained to deliver five-star services.

“Set Jet fills the gap by offering its members a very reasonably priced flight, along with the experience of flying on a luxurious private jet, without the expense and headaches of chartering or owning the whole plane,” proudly shares Co-founder and CEO Tom Smith.

The Great Man Behind this Arizona-Based Venture

Prior to founding Set Jet, Tom Smith had many years of leadership experience as a co-founder of TASER International (now Axon Enterprise, Inc.) in 1993, President of TASER until October 2006, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of TASER until his retirement to pursue entrepreneurial activities in February 2012. Besides, Smith holds a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and an M.B.A. from Northern Arizona University. His skills and experience have made him a great leader whose leadership style is a model for other leaders.

Set Jet staff at the VIP lounge room
Courtesy: Set Jet

From his perspective, becoming a leader means the transition from a doer to a sharer. What leaders must focus on is ensuring that everyone works together, sharing knowledge across the organization, and providing them with the resources they need to accomplish their jobs properly. This is beneficial to the company’s long-term success, but it is a barrier for him because he constantly wants to be actively involved in certain specific process tasks. 

Furthermore, Smith stated that a successful leader must be able to discern employees’ current requirements and assist them in overcoming those challenges. He underlined that everyone’s demands and challenges vary with time, and leaders must be able to understand the psychology of each particular moment in order to deliver timely, determining alternatives. Employees who are pointed in the proper direction might rapidly return to doing an excellent job. The leader will now act as a connector between employees and their job performance and loyalty. 

When Convenience Serves as The Greatest Luxury

Set Jet operates on a membership basis. Passengers could join up for a monthly membership subscription of $99.95, plus a one-off ‘security fee’ of the same, and then will have access to book flights on Set Jet’s private aircraft. In order to guarantee that travelers can acquire a seat whenever they need one, the airline restricts the number of memberships available in each location.

It’s an intriguing model that has shown to be incredibly effective so far. Whereas Set Jet only has a limited number of 11 routes for the time being, this giant is planning to expand its scale. Set Jet has entered the transcontinental market, flying from New York to Los Angeles. According to the company, this is a higher grade of membership – roughly $1,000 per month – as well as a higher ticket of around $3,500 every flight.

Set Jet customers enjoy the service on a Jet
Courtesy: Set Jet

The business model of Set Jet is a crossover between a commercial airline and a private charter service. “You’re not booking the entire plane,” explains Smith, “just a seat on a flight. There can be up to 15 members per flight. However, Set Jet guarantees that the flight will take place even if only one member buys a seat.” 

Not only will Set Jet’s members be flying on jets used by rock stars and high-powered CEOs, but they will also be able to skip the security line, park for free near the terminal, and enjoy free Wi-Fi both at the entrance and on the aircraft, as well as complimentary top-shelf alcoholic drinks, carbonated beverages, and snacks throughout your trip. “We want to bring members back to a time when folks looked forward to the joy of travel and give them a true five-star experience,” Smith says. “After all, isn’t convenience the greatest luxury?”

Unwavering Growth Journey Amidst Ups & Downs

Set Jet founder and CEO Tom Smith is directly competing for passengers who would normally travel first class on American Airlines from its Phoenix hub. Smith aspired to lead a private plane after establishing Taser, bringing it public, and growing it to a $2 billion market worth. Set Jet’s investment group acquired two AS2 supersonic private planes, and surprisingly, the company has flown over 1,100 trips since its November 2019 inception. It’s more than a dream with a slick presentation.

It cannot be denied that the Covid-19 epidemic has had a significant influence on the commercial situations of firms all around the world. And Set Jet is not an exception! However, thanks to the leadership team’s astute foresight, Set Jet rapidly responded to the scenario.

Based on their statistics, they have every reasonable ground to project that the future of travel is promising, with demand set to rise rapidly in the next years before returning to normal. People are eager to travel again, and the market will most certainly reflect that mood.

Set Jet is optimistic about the tourist industry’s short-term rebound. Their flight occupancy and usage rates have risen to levels higher than the pre-pandemic values. During the epidemic, many people turned to private jet memberships to fly in safety and privacy. People have clearly had enough of the lockdowns and are overjoyed at the prospect of being able to travel again securely. For instance, their flights from Scottsdale to Los Angeles and Las Vegas were almost vacant until lately, and they are selling out on a regular basis.

Set Jet customers drive straight to the Jet
Courtesy: Set Jet

Set Jet is impressed not only by the data presented in the media but also by the genuine and amazing feedback from passengers who have experienced the service. These travelers are mostly business individuals who frequently travel for work or famous artists. As a result, these comments are public and can be found on the Set Jet website.

Robert Damon, President of Korn/Ferry International also did not hesitate to leave compliments for Set Jet’s service: “The old adage “If something is too good to be true, it usually is” does NOT apply to Set Jet. As a senior level executive, I have not seen a new product or service come along as innovative or executed as well as Set Jet for many years. The team, from the founders to the pilots and ground personnel, are all extremely competent and customer service oriented. They make you feel like you are part of their family. What Set Jet provides is the ease, convenience and security of flying in a private jet to a few of the most traveled cities in the West at a price that is competitive with what you would pay for a regular first class ticket. Anybody flying to the cities serviced by Set Jet should try it. You will never use any other method of air travel. Set Jet has set a new standard.”

This company has always been lauded and adored for its ability to give five-star service at reasonable pricing. Set Jet, a potential startup initiative in private planes, was also featured in Forbes. Their name has also been proudly selected to participate in the Departure 2021 Legend Awards: The 10 Best Private Transportation Services of the Year.

Cultural “Stones” That Shape The Private Jet Behemoth

Smith has gained himself a variety of experiences while attempting to create a fantastic working environment in which human and cultural considerations are prioritized.

#1. Surround Yourself with People Who Are Smarter than You Are

From his standpoint, this is critical not just for his own development but also for the growth of the company. He explains that when you join a great squad of coworkers, you will continually push yourself to avoid feeling inferior or different. From then, the performance of each person and the entire team will drastically improve.

#2. Build Yourself Excellent & Close-Knit Relationships with Colleagues and Consumers 

Set Jet crew in a trip with customers
Courtesy: Set Jet

Throughout the working process, the team that most everyone strives for is not just the team with whom we work, but also the customers. Hence, the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Award  winner wishes his staff to understand how to live in harmony, connect, and assist one another flourish. When it comes to customers, he wants to understand how to satisfy them, nurture a strong connection with them, and maintain a positive image for the company.

#3. Eager to Listen to and Solve Customer Concerns

According to Smith, every employee at Set Jet must be willing to listen to customers’ needs, wishes, and concerns. In the same way that he treats his employees, they must really grasp and discover a means to satisfactorily address the situations that are still insufficient and delight the customers. He feels that maintaining and developing customer care services is the most crucial thing to do in order to increase client sympathy for the company.

The Bottom Lines

“There are four checkboxes: safety, convenience, luxury and price –– Set Jet is the only option that checks all four,” shared Set Jet CEO Tom Smith. This statement proves true thanks to the visionary leadership of its captain – as well as great delivery of its brand promise, which sets a promising growth trajectory for Set Jet as well as ignites strong expansion potential for this private jet service provider.

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