Originally published on Technorati as Surf Air Hopes All-You-Can-Fly Membership Based Airline Will Fly With Travelers
Surf Air, an innovative all-you-can fly membership based airline, announced they would be launching today out of Los Angeles based MuckerLab, a startup accelerator program. The airline aims to serve customers who fly between Palo Alto, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles with a membership based service that allows them to fly as much as they want between these cities for as low as $790/month on their fleet of eight small luxury passenger-aircraft. This is the second start-up company launched in as many weeks for MuckerLab, who last week launched Lifecrowd, a social discovery site aimed at helping people find things to do in their area.
Surf Air was founded by two brothers, Wade and David Eyerly. Wade is a former campaign aide to former VP Dick Cheney, and David is a former manager at Frontier Airlines, so they are not completely new to the travel game. In fact, the duo launched a similar service on the east coast under the name PlaneRed but decided to relocate their services to the west coast after enrolling in the MuckerLab program where they completed the 12-week program which provided funding, office-space, mentorship, marketing and legal advice.
Surf Air is now accepting membership applications at surfair.com and looks to sign up 500 charter members for it’s launch servicing the west coast. Surf Air is focusing it’s efforts on frequent fliers, no surprise there, but this market alone represents about 85% of the business travel industry according to the FAA. In 2011, flights between the LA area and San Francisco included more than 20 million frequent travelers. So even though it sounds geographically small, numbers-wise that is still an enormous piece of pie by any means. If they can nail the service between these cities they plan on expanding to Las Vegas, Palm Springs, San Diego, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and the Napa Valley area although an airfield hasn’t been named. The service will begin operations in May and the flights will take off and land according to a schedule to be determined later, based on the demand of its members, according to the announcement.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction index, airlines rank dead last among 47 major industries yet the FAA estimates that demand for air travel will continue to grow. This, probably because there is no real alternative to commercial air travel. Consumers ‘put up with’ the lines, the TSA screenings and lousy food so they can get from point A to point B in a timely manner. Wade Eyerly, CEO said, “We are fulfilling a real need in the marketplace, a professional and affordable service between very popular regions. Our service can be substantially cheaper than first-class tickets, and we offer a better and less crowded experience.”