Andrew Collins, President of Sentient Jet, the world’s largest independent jet card provider, talks about turning flying time into family bonding time, the evolution of private aviation, and how he measures corporate success.
ER: It used to be that private jets were the go-to transportation for businessmen. How has your customer evolved over the years?
AC: People put a premium on their time, and the desire to maximize one’s time extends beyond the business community. We all run off of the same clock but a tool like private aviation can help us manipulate that same clock. For families, private aviation can have enormous value if it means being able to spend time with family without sacrificing other obligations.
For each trip that we take as a family, whether flying commercial or private, we set an informal agenda for the airport and the plane. Much like a business person might use this time for productivity, we use it as a time to bond and catch up.
ER: With private jet use appealing to more than one sector, how have you expanded and adapted your offerings to meet the changing marketplace?
AC: When Sentient Jet invented the Jet Card in 1999, you were either a business traveler who owned a whole jet or fraction of one or you went to the charter market. Today, our customers are both business and leisure travelers, particularly families, who grapple with constantly shifting schedules and commitments. In response, we now offer our jet availability in as little as 10 hours, unrestricted destinations, and the ability to switch between various jet sizes/models based on your needs. This new flexible Jet Card has really resonated in a powerful way with families.
ER: Americans still lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to unplugging and taking time off? Why do you personally believe time away is important?
AC: Traveling with my family is one of the most valuable ways I can spend my time. Every trip promises really special memories that are so much for valuable than material things.
ER: You’re a family man. Can you give us any examples of how you and your wife have turned flying time into family bonding time with your son and daughter?
For each trip that we take as a family, whether flying commercial or private, we set an informal agenda for the airport and the plane. Much like a business person might use this time for productivity, we use it as a time to bond and catch up. There have been several pretty intense Uno, Connect Four, and Tic Tac Toe battles on several itineraries as well as some serious reading and drawing sessions.
ER: What was the most memorable family trip you’ve taken and what made it special?
AC: We take a annual trip to Captiva and stay in a private home on the beach. My favorite memory this year from our trip was my wife winning Sunburn Willy’s “Nascrab” Race with her crab Phineas.
ER: Bucket list family trip?
AC: My wife and I would love to get to Bali. I would love to head to the Maldives with my family and experience the overwater bungalow communities.
ER: How do you measure success?
AC: I am a bit of a KPI junkie (Key Performance Indicators) and believe strongly in focused measurement in business. But building out the best possible organization and team really defines that success. Sentient closed out 2015 with a 10% growth in year over year sales, and December 2015 marked the biggest sales month in the company’s 16-year history. We’re anticipating another banner year for 2016. That’s due to having a lot of the right people in place and I think that is ultimately the right measuring stick.
ER: What book is currently on your nightstand/e-Reader?
AC: In my briefcase right now is a copy of Brian Grazer’s “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life.” I am also looking forward to Steve Case’s new book, “The Third Wave” on entrepreneurship, innovation, and his time at AOL.
ER: What’s the one thing you can’t travel without?
AC: A picture of my wife, daughter, and son. I also always carry my father’s original Navy identification card. He passed away as I was graduating college. I feel very stable and grounded when I see his ID in my travel bag.