Boy! Are you going to get some passionate answers with that question.
Naturally, I'm biased to NetJets, formerly named Executive Jet. The only down side to NJA is the pay, which is being addressed as we speak. We expect a new contract around year end.
A downside for people trying to come onboard is the LONG waiting line. The current interview pool is 1000 strong, with 10,000 apps on file.
Great crews, great mgmt, great aircraft. Extremely safety oriented. Currently 1700 pilot on 305 aircraft. Orders for new aircraft total 1,011 over the next 3 years. New aircraft arrive every 5 days.
You will get a wide variety of answers, only because it's such a broad question. I'm with Options and all the crews I meet out on the road are great people, not only our own crews but those of Netjets and Flexjet as well. The fractional industry is a new niche right now, and it's selling well. Even in times of this downturned economy, we are all still taking delivery of new aircraft. I'm anxious to see what happens when this economy turns around, it'll go gangbusters!!
You won't make major airline type salaries at the fracs, but you'll live comfortably. Senior frac pilots make low six figures at any of the companies right now, and the potential for higher salaries is very realistic. As was previously mentioned, Netjets is negotiating pay right now, so likely they'll set the bar. I hope they get everything they ask for, it'll only help the other companies. Schedules are very similar between Netjets and Options. We have an eight on, seven off schedule; and NJ has the seven on, seven off. It gets to be a long time on the road, but when you fly alot the time goes by fast. Seven days at home is a long time too. My wife is sick of staring at my ugly mug by about day five. When it's time to go back to work, I'm ready to fly again.
The best answer to your question was given by Falcondriver: the one that hires you first. Good luck.
There are also many smaller fractional operators - look into finding one in your area. I work for a smaller fractional operator and it is run more like a corporate gig. It seems the larger fracs are run like an airline.
With my company, there are few overnights because most of the owners live within a 100 mile radius of our base. We do day trips, maybe one overnight a month. The exception is if an owner is going on vacation...then we have the option of staying at the destination if the trip is just a few days, or we can deadhead the plane back to base and return a few days later for the pickup.
It's very much like a corporate gig because the same pilots are flying the same owners around, and relationships develop. We only have three airplanes, all the same type, so the pilots know each other and the aircraft well.
I guess the downside would be that one won't rack up the hotel points and airline mileage with a small fractional.
I had an interview at EJA (pre-NJA days) that I turned down because I didn't think I could handle seven days straight on the road. Some people really like it, but I prefer staying local and being home every night. The whole idea of what defines a good "quality of life" depends what is important to you.