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There’s a new private plane service on the market and it wants you to rethink how you get from Point A to B. BlackBird gives you the option to create your own flight, or join someone else’s if there is an open seat. Boasting a fleet of around 600 aircraft and 700 commercially-certified pilots, the company pairs aircraft owners, pilots and flyers through a simple app — think Airbnb meets Uber.
The home screen of the flyshare app shows flight options with seat prices. If users don’t see what they need or the flights don’t fit their schedule, they can create their own flight. The site is currently advertising sample flights from Los Angeles to Palm Springs for as low as $45.
For now, service is limited to California, but CEO Rudd Davis says the app has already seen success. In a phone interview with TPG, Davis said the platform has more than 200,000 users. The company also saw a big nod of support from Silicon Valley, having raised $10 million from venture capital firm NEA, according to Forbes.
Davis told TPG that he wants people to change how they think about travel. “We want to be as affordable and as convenient as driving” for those looking at trips of 50 miles or more, Davis said. He added that the platform is seeing people use the service to commute just like they would use Uber or Lyft, but for slightly longer distances.
According to Davis, one specific area where the company is seeing people switch from driving to flying is between Sacramento and Palo Alto. (The commute between these two locations can be a nightmare — I’ve experienced it first hand.) Another pair that’s becoming popular by air is San Diego to Los Angles. Davis says with BlackBird, users can “simply fly over the traffic” on their commute.
Davis said users are putting the platform to use for short weekend travel as well. He mentioned driving from the San Francisco area to Lake Tahoe. On a great day that drive will have you in the car for more than three hours and on a bad one more than four (again, I’ve been there and done that). Using BlackBird, Davis said, you could make that same trip in about an hour or less by air, depending on the aircraft. Round-trip that could save you as much as 6-8 hours of travel, giving you more time to enjoy your destination.
Below is an example of flights for as little as $99 one-way on BlackBird between San Francisco and the Lake Tahoe area:
And San Francisco to Sacramento for as low as $69 one-way:
Davis told TPG that BlackBird has its sights set on the East Coast next. It’s hoping to expand its offerings for customers in the next year. Along with that expansion, Davis said the company is in discussions about creating a rewards program for the platform’s users. While details on what that program might look like haven’t been finalized, Davis said the company would hope to have such a program in place within the next 24 months.
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