A US-based private airline that offers members unlimited flights for a monthly subscription fee is launching in Europe this October.
Established in California in 2013, the “all-you-can-fly” membership club Surf Air will let European members book as many flights as they like from £2,500 per month.
The start-up — which has an annual turnover of $35 million (about £26.5 million) — will operate daily weekday flights between London, Zurich, Geneva, and Cannes, as well as weekend flights to destinations like Ibiza.
Other major cities to be introduced by 2017 will include Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, and Barcelona.
To sign up, new members need to pay a £1,000 initiation fee, and can buy one of three memberships. While all members receive unlimited flights, a £2,500/month plan also gives them two flight passes (with which they can hold a one-way reservation to use as much as they like during the month), a £3,250/month plan includes four flight passes, and a £4,000/month plan comes with 6 passes.
Members can book flights online or via the Surf Air app, and benefit from a reduced check-in time at a private aviation terminal, which means shorter lines at security, as well as a concierge who handles their luggage.
“We ask members of Surf Air to get to the airport just 15 minutes before they fly,” Simon Talling-Smith, CEO of Surf Air in Europe, told Business Insider.
Talling-Smith hopes Surf Air’s expansion will make travelling in Europe more efficient. With a large number of cities in fairly close proximity to one another, one of the most frustrating things about travelling on the continent is “when you’re on the plane for an hour but your whole journey takes you five hours,” the CEO said.
In addition to less time on the ground, fliers are allocated their own personal “member care managers,” who are available to arrange airport transfers and even book a hotel.
Members can also bring friends and family who are non-members on board at a guest rate of £750 for a one-way flight. Though that’s not exactly cheap, Surf Air’s aircraft — either a Cessna CJ4 or the Learjet 75 jet — are smaller, have larger seats, and more legroom than standard commercial jets, so it feels more like flying on a private jet.
Currently, the company has 3,000 members in the US, including tech professionals that are employees of Apple, Google, and LinkedIn, according to Talling-Smith.
Hundreds of people have already registered their interest in the company’s European services, the CEO said.
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