Category Archive: Member Stories

  1. Mike Prachar – How Paynode is proving to be the perfect payment partner for this fast-growing operator

    Comments Off on Mike Prachar – How Paynode is proving to be the perfect payment partner for this fast-growing operator

    Hi Mike. Can you tell us a little about Volato

    We are a full-service private aviation company that primarily operates the HondaJet. We offer fractional ownership, the Stretch Jet Card, charter and aircraft management. In our fractional program, by offering shares down to a 16th size, we remove the cost of entry barrier for more people who want to get involved and enjoy the benefits of private jet ownership.

    What’s special about our model is that owners in our fractional program can fly as little or as much as they like, and they earn a revenue share every time their aircraft flights a live mission – even when they fly. The HondaJet is perfect for four passenger missions, is 40% less expensive to operate, is quieter, and yet has all the comfort and luxury of larger jets.


    And I believe you’re growing fast

    Yes, we are. We’re getting a lot of requests for larger aircraft, which is something we weren’t planning to do right away, but we’ve listened to our customers.

    We have 11 HondaJets in the fleet with 18 more on order and we just announced our order for four Gulfstream G280s in a ten passenger configuration that we will also fractionalize.  

    Our charter operations incorporate an even broader range of modern aircraft. These are exciting times for sure.


    How did you first come to use Paynode?
    When we were exploring how to best manage payments on the charter side, it made sense to choose a solution that was as close to turnkey as you can get. Paynode was an easy choice for us because it ticked that box, plus we were already Schedaero and Avinode customers since day.

    With the revenue share model we offer, we want to fly our planes as much as possible to offset our owners’ costs. If they themselves only fly a little each year, the majority of their costs can be covered by us. That’s where Avinode and Paynode play a big part in our story.


    How about dealing with other brokers who are Paynode users?
    That’s something we’re not taking as much advantage of just now, but we hope to do more of in the future. We have a couple of customers buying from us through Paynode, and it’s so nice to avoid the whole wire situation. As Paynode’s footprint grows – especially here in the US – we’ll be doing even more of that for sure.


    What features would you say offer the biggest benefit to your business?

    Not so much a feature, but I find the entire process of managing a reservation very easy with Paynode.
    From placing a credit card hold, then either collecting the money on the card or, if the ACH comes in time, switching to that and being able to manage that as a single translation. In my opinion, that’s the most useful feature in terms of saving us time.

    Paynode also manages credit card holds seamlessly and removes the complexity that you find with the standard direct banking way of doing things.


    And what would you improve?

    There are a few improvements that I’d like to see which would enhance Paynode.

    Right now, there’s a ten day hold on the system, and it’s not always clear when these are going to expire. Some form of notification on this would be helpful. Also, if we have to do a refund there’s no way to do that or track it with Paynode. It would be nice if we could design something into the system that makes this easier to manage.

    Having said that, the overall concept of Paynode is really sound, and the feature set is very good. It would just be even better with these new additions.


    How have you found using the Paynode system?

    Personally, I was shown the system, and was up and running right away. It’s that straightforward. Part of the beauty of Paynode is that you train your team – like we did with our Charter Sales team – and it just works.

    It enables them to always be fully aware of what’s happening. They can access the payment mechanisms and know when cash comes in, without having to go back and forth to accounting all the time. Also, we don’t have to give every team member access to more of the financial system than they need.


    So, you’re happy with what Paynode brings to Volato

    Absolutely. The integration with Avinode is a big deal for us. Avinode is one of our key input streams for charter business and as long as there continues to be enough business for us on the platform, we’re happy there.

    We have a number of accounts payable and accounts receivable mechanisms in and out of the company, and we’re very happy keeping the charter business on Paynode. We haven’t found the need to look for a better solution, and I don’t think there even is one that’s more tailored to the charter industry.

  2. Chris Kuiper – Removing the barriers to private jet travel

    Comments Off on Chris Kuiper – Removing the barriers to private jet travel

    Hi Chris. Can you tell us about the idea behind Catch-a-Jet

    We’re an app that’s been created to connect the empty leg flights of private jet operators with travellers.

    The end user is our start point for everything, and the app really is built around them and their needs. The result is a solution where they can book and pay for an empty leg flight in under a minute. And our goal is always to make it as efficient and as easy as possible.


    And what was your inspiration for the app?

    Well, the idea came about as a result of a conversation I had with a private jet operator. He told me that around 50% of his flights were flown without passengers. I was curious, so I dug deeper to understand the figures and see what’s been done in the past to try and reach the end users for these empty legs.

    What really motivated me was the idea of removing the barriers, for both end users and operators. Listening to the industry, and to a lot of potential end users, has influenced our business model.

    Operators would typically have to pay to feature on a platform like ours, but we’ve made it as attractive as possible by not charging them anything until the flight has been sold through our platform.
    And for end users, they don’t want a platform where they must register first, provide an email address in return for membership, or be bombarded with notifications. So, we’ve avoided all of those things.


    The Catch-a-Jet app uses the Avinode Empty Leg API. How have you found working with Avinode?

    It’s been fantastic, and I’ve learnt so much from the guys at Avinode about the technology and APIs in general.

    I’m very grateful for Avinode because you’re the biggest on the planet at what you do, and the support you’ve given me… you guys rock!

    I’ve been working closely with Sam Sidea, one of your engineers. Sam is worth a statue to your company in my view. I’ve also had a lot of support from Viktoriya (Gopfauf) and Saskia (de Jong) – they’ve been a pleasure to work with.


    And what does that API integration mean?

    It means that we’re able to make something that’s unique and attractive to end users and operators.

    Take operators for example. If they had to constantly input their flights manually, that’s a lot of work for the sales department. But by integrating the Avinode API, they only need to verify which flights should be appearing, and the rest is taken care of automatically. And of course, they keep full control over the flights and any details associated with it.

    Also, the API integrated into our platform lets us pull data from Avinode, which also makes it easy for us to add and onboard new operators. And now there’s the empty leg pricing module too, so we can offer more accurate pricing, which is invaluable.

    Take operators for example. If they had to constantly input their flights manually, that’s a lot of work for the sales department. But by integrating the Avinode API, they only need to verify which flights should be appearing, and the rest is taken care of automatically. And of course, they keep full control over the flights and any details associated with it.

    Also, the API integrated into our platform lets us pull data from Avinode, which also makes it easy for us to add and onboard new operators. And now there’s the empty leg pricing module too, so we can offer more accurate pricing, which is invaluable.


    You’re providing a solution where everybody wins?

    Yes, we are. For operators, if they receive €1,000 for an empty leg flight that’s better than the alternative, which is to take nothing at all. And every flight booked could lead to a new lifetime customer if we get people onboard an aircraft who have never been on a private jet before.


    It sounds like you really know you audience

    That’s true, and we’ve done a lot of research. In each country where we go live we have a marketing person who has profiled our potential end users. We’re typically looking at 30-75 year olds who can afford empty leg flights, and this is a big market.

    Marketing is as important as the platform for us, and we’ve made it our business to know about these people; the events they attend, the magazines they read, and the brands they’re drawn to. We’re currently looking at some exciting partnerships with brands that share our audience, so we can come together to offer them a complete and unique travel experience.


    It sounds like exciting times ahead, Chris. Best of luck in the future

    Thank you. We’re still a relatively new business but things are going well, and we know there’s potential to make a real difference in the sector.


  3. Becky Bakeman – How Paynode helps keep things simple for this complex business.

    Comments Off on Becky Bakeman – How Paynode helps keep things simple for this complex business.

    I see that RAI Jets has a very broad remit, Becky

    Yes, we do a lot of different things. There’s aircraft charter, aircraft management and maintenance, we have hanger space, and we have our own fuel farm so we can fuel our aircraft and those of our hanger tenants. 

    Our main base is in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but we also manage the airport for the city of Sturgis. 


    You’ve been an Avinode member for many years too

    Oh yes, it seems like forever! We’ve also been using Schedaero for a long time – we’re probably one of the first customers. 

    We’ve had nothing but good experiences with Avinode and Schedaero, so it was a simple decision to also begin using Paynode. I think I first heard about Paynode through an email from the Avinode guys, or maybe at the Scheduler Dispatcher convention, but I’m glad we made the leap because it’s changed our business massively.


    What was life like before Paynode?

    As a business, we use a smaller bank – a credit union – and in the past, getting funds wired was not as simple as it should be. Also, we couldn’t accept credit card payments through the bank, so we had to use our own credit card machine. We even tried the credit card payment functionality of our accounting program, but that too was far from ideal. 


    There are many strands to your business. What challenges does that pose and how does Paynode help with these?

    Obviously we see a lot of funds coming in all the time, and we also send a lot out as well, so Paynode helps us keep track of everything.

    There’s also plenty of paperwork to do. With Paynode, it’s so nice to have all our documentation already filled out for the companies we work with regularly. I’d say that having all that information saved – so I don’t have to type it in every time when dealing with a repeat customer – is the feature I love best about Paynode. 

    The old way would see me complete a form by hand, scan it in, then fax it to my bank because they wouldn’t accept email. Then I’d have to wait for them to call me back, review the form with me and make sure I am who I say I am before approving the release of funds. Even then, things didn’t always go smoothly. 

    Now, I just go into Paynode, fill out the information once and hit send. Then I get my email confirmation. It’s that easy. 


    So no more having to deal with banks around incoming funds

    Thankfully not. In the past, our credit union used an intermediary bank, so funds would go to a bigger bank first, then to our bank, then into our account. 

    The problem is that there’s often a step that customers would miss, so the funds would go to the big bank and sit there in limbo because they didn’t know where to put them. I would have to make countless phone calls to sort things out.

    Now, with Paynode, I have no issues. The funds go in and we’re ready to go.


    It must be nice having everything in one system

    Yes, it really is. I like to have all my charter funds in one place so when I reconcile that account, all I’m looking at are my flights. 

    In my other bank I have all sorts of funds going in and out – everything from buying jet fuel and landing fees to catering and office supplies – so it’s very helpful to isolate those funds that are specifically related to our aircrafts’ movements.


    Are there any other features in Paynode that you find really useful?

    In the past, once every couple of years, I’d have a customer in, say Canada, trying to send me funds. It was always a fiasco. But with Paynode there’s no problem thanks to the different currency accounts we have set up. Dealing with different currencies is now effortless.


    Would you recommend Paynode to other companies in the aviation space?

    I would definitely recommend Paynode. It’s simple and makes life easier. 

    For us – because we also use Avinode and Schedaero – everything is joined up and it  works so well. There are so many little details that save us time. For example, I know that all my wire information is on my quotes, which is one less thing for me to think about. 

    The good thing is that I’m starting to see a lot more companies coming onboard now. It used to be that I was the only one in my network that I saw with the little Paynode symbol, but that’s defiantly changing.


    Want to simplify your payments? Join Paynode today. No fee to sign up, no subscription costs, and no monthly minimums. It’s all included in your Avinode membership. Read more here.

  4. Ronny Dominguez – How Paynode is the perfect payment partner for this fast growing brokerage.

    Comments Off on Ronny Dominguez – How Paynode is the perfect payment partner for this fast growing brokerage.

    I believe Moonlight Jet is a new name in the industry, Ronny.

    That’s right. We’re a charter brokerage company which only started trading in January 2022. We’re in the early stages of the business, but already things are going really well.


    Have you been using Paynode since the start?

    Not since day one, but from very early on. We did maybe five transactions before moving to Paynode and enjoying the benefits of having a dedicated payment system.


    Can you tell us what a typical transaction looked like before Paynode? 

    I’ll give you the example of our very first payment as a company. 

    The online bank we were using – which didn’t offer a payment solution – was based in the US and only accepted payments in US dollars. Our client was flying from Switzerland to France and wanted to pay in either Swiss francs or euros. I ended up having to meet the client in person and use a credit card terminal to charge him in Swiss francs. 

    While this was far from ideal, it did act as the catalyst to find a more stable solution.


    How did you hear about Paynode?

    I was doing my research into payment solutions which incorporated credit card payments and transactions. I have a background in finance and accounting, so I had a really clear idea of what we needed. 

    At the time, we had just starting using Avinode. I was looking through all the support materials and instructions and I saw that there was a payment solution linked to Avinode. It seemed perfect for us, so I contacted the Paynode team to find out more and we went from there.


    Did you find Paynode easy to use?

    Yes, given my experience with many other finance and payment systems, I found it straightforward to use. You run your KYB form, set up your account and the different currency accounts you want, and away you go.

    But I have to say, the training and support is also excellent. The Paynode guys are truly knowledgeable and have been able to answer even some very specific questions I’ve had. If I have any issues, I know they’ll be resolved within a few hours.


    What is your favourite Paynode feature?

    It’s so useful being able to easily trade currencies in the system – to buy, sell and move your money around. You can see the rates for that day, as well as days in advance, so you can always get the best rate at the right time. The fact that all this happens in real-time, is great.

    Another cool feature is when buying a long trip – the figures we’re talking about can be big – Paynode gives you the option to hold an amount on the credit card while you wait for the wire transfer payment to come in. This gives some guarantee for us brokers and the operators.

    I also like the security features. When generating a payment link in the system, there’s an in-built internal approval process, which helps make the entire process safe and secure for everyone. 


    And what feature would you like to see in future?

    I’d love it if American companies were able to send payment requests in different currencies for credit cards. That would be a big win for all involved.


    What would you say to other brokers or operators who are considering Paynode? 

    I would tell them that in my research, there’s nothing else like Paynode on the market.

    From experience, it’s perfect for new start-up companies who are very flexible. For bigger businesses that are more established, it may be a little trickier to incorporate a new system, but Paynode will help them grow and save them time and money. It will also really help their accounting team to consolidate accounts at the end of each month. 

    Another thing that I’ve seen is that Paynode becomes a key central point for clients, brokers and suppliers. It’s a go-to application that brings all parties together.


    Is that because people trust Paynode?

    For sure. The Paynode symbol creates credibility. For me as a broker, I know that the operator must feel comfortable even if the payment is not yet secure. Paynode gives them that piece of mind.



    Want to simplify your payments? Join Paynode today. No fee to sign up, no subscription costs, and no monthly minimums. It’s all included in your Avinode membership. Read more here.

  5. JetClub – How Paynode offers the human touch that means so much.

    Comments Off on JetClub – How Paynode offers the human touch that means so much.

    Hi, Salvatore. Please tell us a little about JetClub

    Well, JetClub is a European company created by Co-Founders Vishal Hiremath and Glenn Gonzales who started operations last year. The business has seen good growth and reputation in Europe.

    Things are going very well at the moment – we’re growing up fast. 


    As you grow it’s so important to have the best possible payment system in place

    For sure, and we knew that a traditional bank on its own was not really the answer. Sometimes it’s difficult to deal with banks when you’re a totally new company like we were in Europe. 

    We currently use Paynode and also a traditional electronic bank. It’s difficult to work with the bank because there are many issues, and each time you have to call the customer service line, they can’t help you. 

    With a bank, we don’t have the personal relationship that we need. Paynode gives us that.


    It sounds like you were looking for a payment partner more than anything

    That’s exactly right, and as the key person in the company using Paynode day-to-day, that was essential for me.

    With Paynode we found a partner and a friend. I can’t speak highly enough of Paynode staff, Brenton Melville and Evelyn Franco. From the beginning they’ve always been available to help us figure out solutions to our problems. And if they don’t know the answer, they work to find it.


    That personal service sounds particularly important to you

    Absolutely. Maybe it’s my Sicilian nature but human connection means a lot to me. I prefer to speak to a person on the phone instead of by email where possible. By talking you can understand the tone of their voice and the attitude of the person. 

    If I do have to send an email to the Paynode team, I know I won’t need to send a reminder because I’ll receive a reply quickly. Even if there’s no solution, the response will be, “Salvatore, I’m working on it for you.”


    Is there anything that Paynode can’t do that you’d like it to?

    One thing that I know is being worked on is the inclusion of bank statements. I currently have to request those, but they’re always provided quickly. Our auditor recently asked for something different from normal bank statements and the Paynode guys sorted it out, no problem. 

    Also, being able to obtain a Paynode issued credit card would be great.


    Tell me how Paynode makes your life easier

    It simply saves me time every day. For example, if I need to send a bank transfer or a wire transfer in another currency – such as Swedish Krona – I can do that in seconds. Even with currencies that we don’t use very often, I have the exchange rate there, right in front of me, immediately. 

    If I were to use our Swedish bank account to make that payment, I’d have to send an email and wait maybe two hours for a reply, then another couple of hours to complete the transaction. That’s useless if we need to land in a Swedish airport in five minutes’ time. 

    In our industry we don’t have time to wait, and with Paynode we don’t have to. 


    So, you’re happy with Paynode?

    Of course, 100%. It’s a very intuitive system and you don’t need a degree in finance to make a payment or find information easily.

    There are other companies who offer a similar product, but I have a strong bond with Paynode and the people behind it. Evelyn and Brenton have helped in so many ways and we have a mutual trust that I value. 


    Finally, can you see any reasons why people would not use Paynode?

    The big issue is that many people still think traditional banks are the only solution. The truth is that those banks are now very slow and old fashioned. 

    Convincing clients to use Paynode is not always easy, but I work hard to show them how Paynode is the perfect option. I don’t need to send the POP to prove I’ve made a payment because they receive the funds instantly. It couldn’t be simpler.

    Interested in simplifying your payments? Welcome to Paynode, your new comfort zone.

  6. Paul Malicki – How Paynode is helping one digital broker navigate the currency minefield

    Comments Off on Paul Malicki – How Paynode is helping one digital broker navigate the currency minefield

    Hi Paul, tell us a little about Flapper

    Well, we’re a digital broker based in Brazil. We use Avinode especially to source aircraft outside of our core market of Brazil, also act as marketing agents for four air taxi operators in Avinode.

    We’ve been an Avinode customer for two years and started using Paynode just three months ago. Straight away we’ve seen the positive impact it has on many aspects of our business, not just payments.


    Is it fair to say that Paynode has made life easier?

    Absolutely. One of the big problems it solves for us is dealing with payments in multiple currencies.

    Customers in the US or Europe are from a mono-currency culture, but we don’t have that luxury in Latin America. Although Flapper has a US bank account and the primary currency for private flights is dollars, there are multiple currencies to deal with in the region. And that’s before you consider our other customers – both operators and end-users – all around the world.

    With so many currencies in use, and conversion rates to think about, things can get complicated. It’s here where Paynode really streamlines the process and makes it painless.

    We also love the credit card charge feature in Paynode. Here in Brazil, we tend to pay by bank transfer because of issues around fraud. With brokers in Europe preferring to pay by credit card, the feature lets us do that instantly.


    That increased speed of payment must be crucial to you

    For sure. As an industry we’ve been seeing a reduction in the time between requests and actual flight operations. In the past, the average was maybe six days, and that’s now down to three or even two days. People are not planning too far ahead, and while that’s understandable given the pandemic, it makes it really difficult to manage payment in such a short time.

    With Paynode making this fast turnaround possible, it’s the perfect solution for our time. It really is the one-stop-shop for payments in private aviation today.


    How quickly were you able to get up and running with Paynode?

    Really quickly, actually. The support and training we’ve received has been outstanding. We’ve been really looked after, from the onboarding process and beyond. My team, to be fluent with a new tool, may typically require two or three training sessions because it’s a complex market we work in. But with Paynode, we literally had training on the Tuesday and on the Wednesday, we closed our first flight with a client from Italy. My team just remembered exactly how to use Paynode, so that’s testimony to how intuitive the system is and the quality of the onboarding.


    And finally, how do you think Paynode is perceived in the sector?

    Speaking from my own experience – and that of Flapper – I would say that Paynode is like a stamp of quality for many foreign customers who may not have heard of us. In our business, trust counts for a lot, and that’s part of the reason we joined Paynode.

    A customer in Australia might see that we’re based out in Brazil, and when they see that we’re a Paynode customer, that gives us credibility. I think it’s a real brand boost.