The incensed black cab industry is proof of Uber’s rampant growth in the UK market. But what if that success could be mirrored in the skies?
That’s exactly what US start-up Rise is hoping to accomplish here in Britain, with the first private flight-sharing service.
Would-be fliers simply sign up to a membership plan, and can then fly as much as they want across various designated routes.
The company already operates in the US, but the UK launch will bring flights between London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, and Brussels, starting in early 2016.
Just like Uber, private jets are shared by several people, although the planes only carry eight to ten passengers, so you’re not exactly crammed in.
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“The UK and European market is crying out for better business travel,” explained Aamer Sarfraz, Rise’s Europe chairman.
He continued: “We will be rolling out multiple routes during 2016 and we are going to shake up business travel in the same way that Uber has shaken up taxis and Airbnb has disrupted the hotel market.”
Once you’re signed up, you can use the Rise app to check availability of seats on a flight.
If you choose a flight, you’ll then be picked up by a Rise car and driven to the door of the aircraft, dodging the lengthy queues that plague normal air travel.
Upon landing, you’ll once again be picked up by car, with Rise claims will be waiting with “their engines running.” Very James Bond.
This all sounds great, but there has to be a serious catch, right? You bet – and it’s to the tune of £1,500 per month in membership fees.
While that sounds like a wallet-chunking amount for most of us, it’s actually not a bad deal for regular fliers, and will bring in serious savings for business travellers.
In the US, there are three different membership tiers. For $1,650 (£1,050), you can get two reservations at a time. Then there's 'Executive' for $2,150 (£1,375), which gives you four reservations at a time.
The final tier is 'Chairman', which offers up six reservations at any one time, albeit for a big fee of $2,650 (£1,700). Both Executive and Chairman come with one free companion pass per month.
Would you sign up to Rise’s airborne Uber, or would you rather stick it out with budget Easyjet offerings? Let us know in the comments.