All-you-can-fly airline offers flat fee
Netflix of the skies? Surf Air, a California startup, will give customers unlimited access for one price.
Surf Air launched daily flights Wednesday between the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, giving members unlimited access to its six-seat propeller planes. The cost: $1,650 a month.
Right now, Surf Air is flying only between Burbank and San Carlos instead of directly into Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company plans to add service to Santa Barbara on July 10 and wants to expand into Sacramento, Palm Springs and other California cities later -- and eventually nationwide.
Is $1,650 a month -- plus a $500 one-time initiation fee -- worth it? Surf Air is promising no lines, no waiting, 30-second booking and no fees for luggage, snacks or beverages. It uses small regional airports where parking and security lines are less of a hassle.
The airline might be attractive to executives who would normally charter a plane. The Huffington Post reports that one private plane company, Marquis Jet, charges customers $119,000 for at least 25 hours of flight time. Surf Air asks members to commit for three months and then gives them the option of paying month by month.
"We are to air travel what Netflix (NFLX) was to movies or what a country club is to a golf course," CEO Wade Eyerly tells CNBC in this video. "If you're going back and forth three, four times a month, this is an amazing deal. Not only on price but more specifically on the time that you're going to save."
Not everyone is a fan. When CNBC asked Gordon Bethune, the former CEO of Continental Airlines, about the idea, here's what he said: "This is a tough, tough investment, very very highly speculative. . . . I wouldn't put my pension in the idea, but maybe some other people have more tolerance for risk than I do."
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The company has made at least 4 acquisitions in the space, and few people have paid any attention.
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