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Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Lazy Millennial Guide to Flight-Sharing

Somebody, please. Do something so we can travel affordably without being violated.

Flying is great, but it’s also horrible. It’s faster than walking, but it’s all just wait wait wait – wait at TSA, wait to board, wait to take off, etc. When you can drive to your destination as fast as you can fly there, something is wrong.

And now that TSA is going to become even more creepy, people are starting to re-think how they travel. Is it really worth it? Isn’t there another way? If only we had ridesharing for flights on private jets and planes.

Oh wait. There is. But is it a viable option?

The Experiment

There aren’t very many companies that do flight-sharing, so I looked at what appeared to be the big five: FlyOtto, JetSmarter, Jettly, Skyüber, and Stratajet.

If only we had ridesharing for flights on private jets and planes.I set my route for Atlanta, GA to the Twin Cities in MN, because I make that trip most often. I also didn’t want to do the (apparently) usual Hamptons to Los Angeles thing because I wanted to see if these businesses could cater to the middle class and not just the assumed 1% that regularly flies from the Hamptons to LA.

I signed up for flight alerts with Skyüber, and after a week, I still haven’t gotten anything.

I requested a quote from Jettly that never came.

FlyOtto had one of the better site designs, but my flight would’ve been $10k minimum.

Stratajet’s website is incredibly annoying to use – you’re forced to enter your preferred takeoff time, with a drop-down menu containing every single 15-minute increment in a 24-hour period – but the average cost seemed to be about $12k. However, I also saw flights upwards of $15k, so make sure you change your flight times to see if you can save a whole thousand dollars. Because that matters when you’re buying a ticket for $12k.

JetSmarter has the cheapest flights I could find. It’s membership-based, so flights only cost $2,000 … after you pay the $15k membership fee.

Maybe the Old Way Is the Good Way?

Fine. Maybe a reeeally old-fashioned way would be better – a train. It would take way longer but I wouldn’t be groped by security, and because it’s relatively old technology that isn’t used as much anymore, maybe it would be cheaper than a commercial flight. Or at least the same price. And maybe I could get an overnight trip so I could just sleep through it.

Nope. A train from Atlanta to the Twin Cities, one way, is 1.5x as expensive as that same trip, round-trip, on a commercial flight. Flying it is.

Close But No Cigar

Somebody, please. Do something so we can travel affordably without being violated.So, unfortunately, this new flight-sharing market is still too new to be widely used. As happened with the train, the plane, the automobile, the television, the computer, the telephone, the internet, and pretty much everything else you can think of, it’s going to take a while for this new niche to grow in company count until the heightened competition drives prices low enough to be affordable for mere average people.

It also doesn’t help that the FAA is doing everything in its power to stop progress.

On the other hand, if you’re the 1% who can afford it now, and you’re afraid the masses are going to lower the quality of your flight-sharing experience, fret not. I’m sure that, as with other technologies and innovations, an elite subsection will still remain. If you can get a solid gold (or platinum, or ceramic, or meteorite) Apple Watch, covered in diamonds, then you’ll still be able to get a fancy flight-sharing plane.

But really, somebody, please. Do something so we can travel affordably without being violated. There’s gotta be a way.