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The Wall Street Journal profiled an interesting new venture yesterday called Surf Air, which is offering “all you can fly” memberships starting at under $2,000 a month and whose business model focuses on short-haul flights connecting business hubs without much air traffic between them. Its first route, for which it just received FAA approval, will connect Burbank and San Carlos, California, in Silicon Valley starting June 12.
Surf Air will operate Pilatus PC-12’s with 6-8 seats each, with no flight attendants, but pre- and post-flight concierge service at airports and plans to launch new routes between Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Barbara as well as Monterey, Palm Springs, San Diego, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and Napa/Sonoma.
At their airports, Surf Air plans to offer free WiFi, snacks, beverages, bathrooms, a comfortable lobby, outlets to charge mobile devices, free unlimited parking and concierge service on site. Members will be able to book flights up to 3 months in advance, and down to 3 minutes before a flight if seats remain available. Depending on your membership level, you can have two, four or six one-way reservations booked at any one time and you can cancel your reservation up to two hours before your flight with no penalties. The airline will even have a mobile app to streamline reservations for its clients.
Among the other perks included in the marketing bullets:
- No waiting in lines. You’ll arrive at the airport, park your car and walk onto the aircraft.
- Luggage? Free. Last minute changes? Free. Snacks and beverages? Free. You pay for membership and that’s it.
- Book your flights online or on your smartphone in 30 seconds or less. Remarkably simple & easy.
- Instead of struggling through congested commercial airports, enjoy the ease and service at well-appointed private air terminals. There’s even free, unlimited parking and Wi-Fi.
- You’ll board our executive aircraft—the Pilatus PC-12 with its BMW-designed interior and settle into your leather seat with room to work or relax.
- Network and make meaningful connections with other Surf Air members on the ground or in the air.
- Complimentary guest passes. Bring guests for free. All you need to do is book two weeks in advance and they can join you on the flight.
- Personal Concierge. Our staff will know your name and preferences and will help you with whatever you need.
All in all, I think this is an interesting concept that takes some of the private jet timesharing and other private jet membership services to the next level by making it into a sort of hybrid with a small regional airline with regular flight schedules.
Speaking of which, I’ve never been on a private jet, but think it would make for a good trip report. Any TPG readers want to take me for a spin??