Markets In Everything: Cheap Seats on Charters
Nationwide, more than 91 private air-charter firms, which operate 627 private aircraft with 30 seats or fewer, have already signed up to offer their empty seats to Social Flights users, said Jay Deragon, chief executive officer and a co-founder of Social Flights. More than 12,500 people have registered to use the service.
“We’re essentially using social networking to fill vacant seats on private aircraft that go all over the place every day, often with nobody on board,” he said. “A company or group might charter a jet to take them to California, but then that plane flies back empty. With Social Flights, people can buy individual seats on the return trip, giving the charter company revenue it wouldn’t have had.”
On these charter flights, passengers don’t have to go through metal detectors or X-ray machines. Their names are run through the TSA’s no-fly list, however, so any suspected terrorists would not be able to board the planes. Deragon says "You can just show up 15 minutes before your flight and walk right on."
Besides vacant seats on planes that are already scheduled for trips, Social Flights offers users the ability to bring enough people together for a particular date and destination to be able to charter an aircraft at per-person rates that often are much less than a first-class seat on an airline."