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25 May

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Will Collective Buying Save Air Travel?

May 25, 2011 | By | No Comments

Air travel has become a hassle in terms of time, cost, and energy.  Airline ticket prices continue to rise, but we still need to get from Point A to Point B as quickly and easily as possible.  Flying commercial airlines has become a pain (prices, fees, security lines, lengthy layovers & delays) and a group of businessmen from Nashville, Tennessee aim to solve this issue with their startup, Social Flights.

Social Flights (SF) allows its members to self-organize groups by shared interests into what they call “Travel Tribes”. The basic idea is that these groups will then connect people who share travel commonalities and these people will organize and book trips (via collective buying) on the SF private jets for business or leisure.  They provide scheduled flights and allow members the ability to schedule custom flights; they even help fill the custom flight if the organizer wants to pay less or can’t fill the plane with their whole group.

“Private jets are expensive … but if I’m sharing an eight-passenger plane between 16 people — 8 people flying it one direction and 8 people flying it back — then the price comes down substantially.” – Dan Robles, Chief Innovation Officer for Social Flights

They launched in February of this year and have successfully put together 15 chartered flights.  Social Flights has about 1,000 members participating in the Travel Tribes and around 4,000 members total; all with access to the 50,000 seats within the SF Fleet.

They are still a start-up and their website is about as exciting as The Guiding Light, but the concept managed correctly could really change how we travel.  Social Flights is trying to tap the private aviation market of $50 billion annually and they are working on ways to get a piece of the commercial market as well. This might be the first of many startups that revolutionize the way we organize, plan, and travel via collective buying.

It will be interesting to watch the impact they have on private aviation; will companies like Flex Jet and Marquis Jet adapt their service offerings to fill more seats and lower costs? What do you think the future holds for the private and commercial aviation industries? Will collective buying make you more likely to fly private?

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