The last real innovation in aviation occurred more than 80 years ago. -
Classic article from the 1940’s, “What’s wrong with flying.” And nothing has changed. Airlines last innovated in the 1930’s. It’s time.
Fuel costs are up 30%
206 million people will fly this summer (up 1.5%)
The average cost of a flight was $340 last year. $375 this year. — http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2011/05/US-airline-group-15-rise-in-summer-travel/47248448/1
Half of General Aviation (small plane) airports operate at less than 10% of capacity. — http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-09-17-little-used-airports_N.htm
Shouldn't we automatically clear the guy who led the hunt for Bin Laden for so long?
Travelers Study verifies our concept. -
The amazing thing about this study is that our $150 price point “intuition” is verified by the study. People recognize that TSA delays cause real economic impact - and at the personal level. It’s worth $150 to some to skip it.
We only want some.
We will likely have to cap our subscriptions between 10-15,000 on any given route - and that’s when we’re flying a fleet full of aircraft. Starting out - it may be much smaller.
And that brings us to an important point. When we finally announce that memberships are available for sale - you’ve got to get one…fast.
One of the advantages in flying small planes is that we avoid “batch work.” Batch work is where any process gets stuck waiting for “enough pieces” (a batch) before moving on to the next step.
The big airlines have to fill huge planes, so they can only fly between any two cities a couple times a day.
We don’t have that problem. Because our flights our full with only 9 passengers - we can take off and land dozens of times a day in each city, if the demand is there. It means we are better able to “scale” our service to how often you want to fly.
I’m reminded of a scene from the movie “Hitch” where Will Smith is teaching Kevin James to dance. He puts his arms at his side, with the elbows bent and shifts his weight from one foot to the other. Will says, “This is home for you. I don’t wanna see any of this [crazy exaggerated dance move].”
For us “home” is a 2-4 hour drive from your point of origin. So, if you’re in D.C. - we can fly you to New York, or Philadelphia. But not Minneapolis, or Dallas.
See, the big airlines standardized on huge aircraft ages ago. They want to fly you from New York to LA or London. They use massive engines to go long distances, and have to put a ton of people on board to break even. But going short distances, those engines don’t deliver any advantage. When you take off from D.C. it’s about a 30 minute flight to Philadelphia. That means you’re climbing, climbing, and then landing. You’re never really flying at a “cruising altitude.” As a result - a smaller plane is actually more efficient, which means good things for the planet - but it also means that we can charge less.
It is not our intent to fly people across the country, and people who sign up need to know that. We won’t be all things to all people. We won’t be the best option for some travelers. We know that.
But, what we do - we’ll do very, very well. We’ll get you 2-4 hours (by car) from home faster than anyone else, and at less cost.
So, San Fran to LA? Yes. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio? Yes. Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago? Yes.
New York to LA? No. Seattle to Miami? Unfortunately, no. That’s not our model.
A nice write-up in Forbes
We want to make flying simple. So, everything we do is designed to simplify how we fly - from booking to boarding to landing.
It just shouldn’t be that hard to get you from point A to point B. A city bus can do it with half the hassle. So - we’re aiming to be that…a city bus that takes you from city to city, and expands what “local” means to you.
If you think of a way that we can make your flight experience easier - tell us! We don’t have all the answers.
We are set up to have our first route run from DC to NYC with stops in Philadelphia and Atlantic City.
But - since we opened our website for email registration we’ve seen a ton of interest in a San Fran, LA, Las Vegas run…interest that right now exceeds demand for DC to NY - thought it’s the second most sought after route. The California run would probably stop on Fresno as well, because it’s on the way.
Our intention is to prove our model for a couple months, and then look to aggressively expand (an idea that will likely cost more money than we’ll be able to fund without taking on more investment). So, we take very seriously the suggestions folks are making on facebook, via email, and on twitter. And - the number of folks who have registered an interest in our airline in any specific city will determine where we’ll fly out of first, and where to.