Story by Sarah Deveau
CALGARY, ALBERTA — At the Calgary International Airport on April 25, spirits were high at the departures counter where a large banner pronounced the celebration of the inaugural flight of new Canadian tour company Jump On Flyaways.
“We’re very excited about this flight and what it means for travellers,” says CEO Roger Jewett, watching passengers check in. The former CFO of charter airline Enerjet and former president of marketing firm Rare Method, Jewett is confident his background in the airline and marketing business will propel his latest venture to success.
“When we realized that some charter jets were sitting unused on weekends, we saw the opportunity,” says Jewett. “We know what travellers want — direct flights, peak times and low fares. So Jump On acquired the use of the charter jets, arranged for them to be used only for destinations that can be reached directly and at peak times. Then we determine how many seats we need to sell, set the single fare, and start selling.”
The deal isn’t “on” (and customers credit cards aren’t charged) until a specific number of seats are sold. The airfare never changes, whether the plane — one from the Enerjet fleet — only reaches the minimum number of seats sold or if it sells out.
Jump On Flyaways Beats WestJet
Matt Gillott, one of the Jump On staff sporting a brightly coloured T-shirt with the slogan “Are you a Jumper” branded across the front, says the company’s revolutionary way of offering flights is win-win for customers and the airlines. “We help the charter airlines by keeping their planes busy, and we can pass on those discounted rates to our customers in one low fare. In return our customers get convenient weekend getaways at a great price,” says Gillott. As one of the company’s social media strategists it’s Gillott’s job to spread the word about Jump On through various platforms, and he’s confident Jump On will find support. “We’re asking our customers to share the word with their friends and family through social media, and encouraging them to help us choose the next destination through online polling on our website.”
While the management team of Jump On did spend the weekend in Sin City, they were still hard at work planning the next flight. Upon their return they opened bookings for their second flight, from Calgary to Kelowna, which includes a Historic Downtown Tasting Experience, Northern Bench Winery Tour or a Westside Bench Tasting Experience in British Columbia. The flight and winery tour, including taxes and fees, rings in at $248.59. That’s more than $100 less than the flight alone with WestJet at the time of writing.
Nasrin Esmail found the Jump On flight by looking for last-minute deals on the Internet. “I wanted to take my daughter on a trip somewhere, and I stumbled onto the Jump On deal. It was a few hundred dollars less than anyone else, and the flight times were convenient so I bought the flight.” Esmail plans to follow the company on Facebook and Twitter to ensure she doesn’t miss another great deal. “I bought just five days before we departed and got an incredible price. I’m super happy.”
While other Canadian tour operators and airlines such as Porter and WestJet will likely be keeping an eye on Jump On Flyaways, the tour operator doesn’t consider themselves a threat to the big guys — yet. “We’re doing something pretty innovative over here, and we expect to have to keep innovating as we grow,” says Jewett. “I think you can expect big things from Jump On.”