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Show HN: Monthly subscription airline with SFO-LAX flights starting at $78 (jumpdriveair.com)
168 points by dannyminutillo 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 162 comments



Maybe a good idea, but the site does a bad job of selling it.

The front page starts with a big rant about how bad existing airlines are. That's not how you sell things. You should focus on what you do, which is SFO-LAX flights through private terminals on a monthly subscription.

The private terminal is a huge win -- it saves a good hour on travel. But that's buried in the FAQ. You should redesign so that all of the following are on above the fold on the home page:

- SFO-LAX

- Monthly subscription $79/6 flights

- Private terminal

- Book online last minute

Don't pretend to be a full-service airline except in the fine print it says only SFO-LAX. SFO-LAX is exactly what thousands of people need. For people who need something else, you shouldn't lead them on (but you should let them give you their email address and desired routes so you can let them know when you add them.)


Thanks for the great feedback. This was our site's first draft so we really appreciate your comments. We'll definitely update it and keep your points above the fold on the homepage. We weren't aware that the private terminals are such an appealing feature to people, but that aspect has been a feature that we've been receiving a lot of positive feedback about so we appreciate you pointing it out. Thank you again and we'll make those changes by tomorrow.


Minor optimization for the phone image? Have it show the next flight that could reasonably be booked if I had the app installed, rather than one from 2017. As in, if you had this app, you could be on the (it's 2.05 right now) 2:30 pm flight, just press this button. Helps drive the immediacy and ease home.


Yep, great idea. We were actually thinking about an interface like that. Thanks for the feedback


Maybe have a calculator on the website that lets you put in the start and end of your journey, tweak things like how far in advance you want to arrive at the airport with some set minimum (e.g. need to arrive at sfo at least 1 hours before), then can compare your offering vs the standard home-sfo-lax-end destination. it's the kind of info most people would have to piece together with Google maps, having it in the site would be pretty easy to do, and where there is a big time saving, becomes a pretty strong motivator to "sign up now"


Also the site is effectively broken on iPad, in both landscape and portrait. Something funky with your layout makes most of the objects appear half offscreen to the sides.


Sorry about that, we're working on fixing the site now.


Can you do BFI<->SFO?


To save you guys a Google:

>Boeing Field, officially King County International Airport (IATA: BFI), is a public airport owned and operated by King County, five miles south of downtown Seattle, Washington.


Blog link is dead.


Sorry about that, we're in the process of fixing the site now.


100% agree on the messaging here.

Is it use it or lose it type flights?

I didn't even notice the private terminal stuff (didn't get that far). I thought it was some type of group buying thing on big carriers like Delta, etc.

Private terminal is a huge win. I know some friends who want to live in LA but work remotely in SF. 1-2 flights a month in a private terminal for this pricing seems like a steal especially when you can shave off terminal/travel time at big airports.

This could be awesome for companies and employees. I could see a company having a remote employee in LA but wanting have a face to face meeting in the next 24 hours. Tickets would be super expensive but if you had a plan like this you could just fly them in fast. And if you needed more flights you could always book commercial.


A corporate plan for x flights per month without a named passenger would be interesting, too. This would be useful for companies with employees in both cities who occasionally need to meet face to face with the other team. It would certainly be easier, faster, and probably cheaper than the cluster that arranging corporate travel currently is.


We're currently speaking with companies about something similar to this.


I noticed in your FAQ that you are flying Bombardier regional jets, which "are the same planes that are used by United Express, Delta Connection, and American Airlines".

There was a big stink* a few years ago about the big airlines using new pilots on regional routes and paying them so little that many were on food stamps. I don't want to put my life in the hands of someone who is worried about where their kids' next meal will come from. What is the starting salary for your pilots?

* https://www.wimp.com/michael-moore-pilots-on-food-stamps/

https://www.reddit.com/r/flying/comments/1wxkki/pilots_on_fo...

https://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2014/02/12/flyi...

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23265283-pilots-on-food-...


Salaries for our pilots are as competitive as major commercial carriers. A reason pilots have been interested in flying with us.


Just FYI this reads to me as “we are also paying them peanuts.”


Since your question is about salaries, it's not clear why you mention the type of jet they fly -- seems that your question would apply whether they are flying Gulfstream Business Jets, or Airbus A380's

Though I think you're more at risk on your drive to the airport from the truck or bus driver in the next lane that earns less money than a pilot.


Come on man, they are trying to get a startup running and are competing on price. Heaving a great benefit package for their employees is not core to that value proposition. If this is someone's main decicion point when choosing an airline they probably are better of with one of the big brand airlines.

I am also agreeing with the other comments on don't bash your competition that much. If you have a good offer - and you do - you don't have to do that. You just need to highlight your core benefits/conditions - your two hubs and the private terminal time saver.


SFO -> LAX is a $79 roundtrip. In your mind, how does this compete on price?


Did you read this point of the comment?

"I don't want to put my life in the hands of someone who is worried about where their kids' next meal will come from."


It is use it or lose it flights. Flights don't role over. We're kicking around the idea of trying to make giving unused flights to friends or family work. Companies have shown a lot of interest in this. Most beneficial aspect is booking late with paying a high fare.


I am not your target market. I just wanted to say you are handling the feedback here better than most people seem to. I think that is a real strength, both in terms of PR and in terms of suggesting that you are prepared to learn and adapt. Both of those are important factors in success.

I will agree that the website talks too much trash about other services. Maybe list all the customary fees people expect that you don't have. That would be valuable information and doesn't require trash talking anyone. Something like:

No fee to print tickets.

No cancellation fee.

No bag check fee.

No other hidden fees.

Just one low price stated up front so you know exactly what to expect.

--

I will suggest that you might try apologizing less and thanking people more. It is more of a position of strength. For example, instead of apologizing that the site does not work on iPad, you could say something like "That's good info. We will get right on it. Thanks for letting us know."

Your replies here are fairly solid. I am not suggesting they are bad. I am only hoping to help you further up your game.

Best of luck.


I didn't even realize there was anything below the fold as the black div looked like a footer :S, went straight to the FAQ.


It is use it or lose it flights. Flights don't role over. We're kicking around the idea of trying to make giving unused flights to friends or family work.

Companies have shown a lot of interest in this. Most beneficial aspect is booking late with paying a high fare.


Wow, I was super confused until I read this comment.

I also didn't realize this included a private terminal. I thought this was just a way to book last minute fares without surprises, which didn't really make sense because I just checked and it's cheaper to book a round trip from SFO - LAX leaving any time this week with the airline ($117 on United vs. $156 w/ you).


The private terminal aspect is why we charge a little more than other airlines' lowest fares. It looks like we need to do a better job of highlighting the private terminal feature on our site. Thanks for the great feedback.


looks like you guys are working on some improvements for this great idea. what platform are you using to manage the recurring billing part?


We're using stripe


but presumably with much less waiting around?


Yes, exactly. Just arrive 15 minutes before departure time.


Ah just like the good old days on the BA LHR to EDI route run up to the counter whack the card down and wait less than 30 mins for the next flight.

Just time for a cheeky pint as the lounge next to the boarding way had a bar.- the afternoon cream teas where nice as well.


Yep, or on People's Express NYC to DC


Yeah... that's United economy. Any change costs you money. And you have to fly United, which... no. Not even for a short hop.

I happily would pay $40 more for easy changes + private terminal.


Looks like some older iteration located here which does a better job presenting what they are trying to sell and how it's better

https://www.jumpdrive.io/index.html


Yep, we have two different landing pages live. Trying to get our copy right


I disagree about the rant. I like when sites explain how and why they're different and better than the traditional services.


What does a "private terminal" mean ? Or rather, in what precise way is it better ? I have a vague idea of what it can provide but I'm not sure how it can shed up to an hour of time. Does it include a dedicated secrity and immigration service (so no gigantic lines) ?


A private terminal is a smaller terminal in a different location than the main terminal. The private terminals are used for private planes. We don't fly private planes. We fly regional planes, however, they still meet the size requirements to take off and land at private terminals. There are never any lines and they have their own security system. So you can show up 15 minutes before the flight and still make it.


Is this the Private Suite at LAX?


No TSA security. No big-airline check-in lines.

Immigration doesn't apply on domestic flights anyway.


The site says the terminal still has TSA security, which makes sense, these aren’t exactly private jets.


Which is a bit curious as it sounds like a GA terminal, which generally just have a guard who keeps random people from walking around on the tarmac.

But i'm guessing they are trying to be in the grey area between being a charter and being a full blown commercial airline service with a regular schedule, requiring them to use the normal passenger terminals (and lease/buy gate space/etc).


Yes. It usually does. Also at some airports customs is seperate as well.


Reiterating problems in the existing way of doing things is a fairly well known method of getting interest and buy-in from prospective customers, so I think the initial rant might actually be connecting with people.


We just wanted to highlight the way the airline industry currently operates and how bad things are.


Does this actually exist, or are you gauging interest?

Don't mean to rain on the parade, but you were basically asking if anyone on HN was interested in helping you build this a month or two ago. [0, 1]

It doesn't seem plausible that you'd be able to arrange terminal space, airplanes, pilots, insurance, etc. so quickly. Would be happy to be wrong though, as I fly this route several times per year. Maybe I'm missing something about how this is all organized.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15927182

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15785691


Going to second this comment. I can't find any signs that this company has even been incorporated, which would be necessary for them to sign the contracts related to arranging terminal space, airplanes, etc.

Also of note: the first private terminal in the US opened at LAX in May 2017 and charges $2200/month for membership. The LAX regional terminal is AA only...There are a number of small terminals for regional airlines south of the main terminal which are already fully occupied for exclusive use of the renting regional airline. [edit: Imperial Terminal is available for this type of GA usage. It has no seats and is basically a hangar with space for portable chairs, and does not provide a TSA checkpoint.].

Looks like this is just intended to drum up interest.


One the one hand you are asked to sign up for “early access”. On the other hand the site mentions that “we’ve seen people use the app for business, ...”, implying that it is up, running, and people are using it.

But in the end it can’t be up and running. Go try and book a flight. The app isn’t in the App Store AFAICT, and the only action items on the whole site are to get “early access”.

It would be nice if the site just came out and said, “we’ll be running flights starting February 2nd”, or whatever, instead of making me guess.


Agreed - I've flagged since it doesn't appear to exist yet.


This looks pretty cool. If I was foolish enough to live in the Bay area and had reason to visit family in the LA area I might sign up for this. If you have more than two weeks notice you can do better with Southwest though. They've got OAK-to-BUR (and vice versa) at $55-$67 depending on the day of the week.

That said, why LAX and SFO? Why not pick cheaper airports like OAK and BUR? I'd imagine the runway fees would be less too. Plus just driving out of LAX at a reasonable time of day adds an hour to any itinerary.

EDIT: After reading other comments and skimming through the FAQ I think this website needs to be re-done. The landing page should say in bold letters "Last minute. Private terminal. Zero lines!". Other airlines might match you on price if booked in advance but they can't win on intangibles like skipping the sardine line and government mandated TSA massage.


I'm constantly tempted by Surf Air as I've lived as close as 2mi from San Carlos airport (KSQL!) and now live 6mi from it, and my parents live 2 miles from Palomar Airport (KCRQ) which is a good 30 minute drive (in GOOD traffic; their commute traffic often puts the Bay Area to shame). Even with the slower flying time it would save me hours. Unfortunately, I don't "commute", so it's hard to justify a price nearing $2k a month. I like that these options exist, though, in case (god forbid) we find ourselves in a family health situation where regular trips become required.


Yes, Surf Air is very expensive. We want to bring the cost of flying down substantially so you can make those quick trips to southern ca if needed.


You could get into partial plane ownership and fly yourself for far less than their $1,950/mo fee. The upfront investment is higher since you'll need a pilot's license. :-)


I am actually slightly tempted. It's of course not a cheap option, but I think one thing putting me off is my impression that, if I rented a plane, I'd be paying for the rental the entire time it sits on the ground at my destination, which is hard to swallow.


You don't! You pay (roughly) per flight hour (specifically per hobbs hour which is subtly different, but close enough). SYou can't just rent for a month and return with two flight hours on the clock (there are minimums) but you're not paying for 48 hours of rental for a 2 day trip.

However there are lots of other costs and complexities associated with becoming a pilot. It's a great hobby, but you don't get the same transportation guarantees you do with commercial - plenty of times the bigger/better equipped planes can take off safely but you'd be crazy to do it in a rented cessna.


That's a common misconception. Plane rental is charged by the time the magnetos are energized which in turn is measured by the Hobbs meter. Having said that, many places often have a minimum number of hours per day to prevent someone taking a plane all weekend for two billable hours.

Flying as a hobby is a lot like boating - the happiest day of your life is when you sell your boat/plane. The second happiest day is when you buy it. It can be woefully expensive because much like a house it's easy to do just one more thing / buy just one more gadget and think well if I just spent a little bit more I could have Y instead of X.

I wouldn't discourage you against taking a discovery flight but I'm saying this in the interest of full disclosure. Back when I learned to fly there was a running joke about the $100 hamburger because unless you had specific goals for your license that's all it was good for - a quick jaunt to the next town over to keep current and have some grub. Considering rental prices these days I guess that's more like a $300 hamburger.

If you learn to fly, you'll pay a rate based on the type of airplane and whether aviation gas is built into the price. After a very quick Google looks like in California prices start at $130+/hr. You need 35-40 hours* just to get the first of your licenses which will let you fly a small plane in good weather. Realistically once you have a ticket any place renting a plane will want you teach you how to fly the model they're renting you, so tack on a few hours more to get signed off in the plane you want.

Once you rack up enough club membership dues or hours in a rented plane you'll start thinking it would just be easier to own. That's when things get really interesting because you have to decide if this is a hobby or a serious hobby.

*When I got my PP-ASEL, you had two choices - a rigorous, structured 35 hour course or a looser 40 hour minimum course. That's 40 hours of flight time and instruction, not total hours in a classroom. Considering you're a hacker news poster I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you have the disposable income, education and predisposition to dedicate a couple of weeks to doing nothing but learning to fly. If you can manage that I recommend the 35 hour course: it's intensive but the cheapest option because you won't be paying by the hour to train and retrain skills that get rusty by only flying once or twice a week. Flying is very much a mechanical skill and it has to become second nature before you can learn to multitask and take care of all the other things you need to do, otherwise you're perpetually "behind the airplane."

Anyway again if you decide to seriously pursue it I'd say try a discovery flight first and then dedicate a chunk of time to knock it out. It is the fastest way to get it done, which means it's the cheapest way to get it done.


Also consider that if you want airline-like regularity, you need an IR (Instrument Rating), which is sometimes (usually?) harder and more expensive than the PPL itself. Then you want to consider if you want to fly your family in IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) at night. Many people including me would only want to this is a twin engine aircraft or at least an aircraft equipped with a ballistic parachute (this means a Cirrus SR22 or similar). Anyway, both options is at 2-4x the cost of a the typical $130/h rental.

Not as of a big issue in CA, but in the winter, you also probably want to cruise above the freezing level, so add to this a FIKI (Flight Into Known Ice) certified aircraft. Again, more $$$.

In the end though, flying your own aircraft is an immensely gratifying experience on many levels, and despite all of the caveats above, I wholly recommend getting your PPL.

Yes, with just your PPL in hand, you might have to wait out some weather or choose conditions based on your experience and equipment, but as long as you know those limitations, it's actually not a big deal, especially in California.


All excellent points... particularly the part about how gratifying it is to fly. It is amazing.

I just wanted to expand on the part about getting your ticket in 35 hours by doing it via Part 141: if you can hack it then you'll be better prepared for instrument training which (IMHO) is also structured and rigorous. And as you stated requires even more hours, so anything to help reduce costs is (again, IMHO) welcome.


I mean everything you say is totally true. I'm also a PPL/ASEL guy myself.

Don't leave out the part where you get the excitement of learning how to fly a fucking plane all by yourself though.

That part is super fun, and despite my agreement that it's not the most practical hobby I don't regret it even slightly.


>Don't leave out the part where you get the excitement of learning how to fly a fucking plane all by yourself though.

Absolutely dude! That is the best part. Although the destinations it opens up and how much closer they are is also priceless. If I had the means I'd be hopping into a Grumman Tiger or Mooney 201 and haring off to other parts of Texas or Louisiana every weekend.

One of my fondest memories is taking a Mooney 20C for a family reunion. Twelve hours of driving turned into a 5.5 hour rental which included flying there, back and some touch and goes so I could get endorsed for the plane.

Up until that point I'd never flown that high but when the Mooney growled up to 9,000 feet and the Texas summer heat fell away I was hooked. In no time at all my instructor and I descended to pass over the city park to wing waggle a few times before landing to find one of my uncles grinning and waving as we landed. It was magic.


Interesting. I might well pursue it. I never even considered it because it just seemed like an insanely expensive hobby that I could never hope to afford (even more so than boating). Now that I work across the street from KPAO (Palo Alto) (and yes, I'm sure it's more than the $130/hr here!) I'm more and more interested. Hell, even 10 or 15 years ago I assumed it was a minimum $10k endeavor. It might actually be cheaper than I expected to check that first box.


The ICAO code is KSQL!


typo, thx.


LAX and SFO is a very popular route, so we figured we'd start there. Runway fees aren't too bad if we use the private terminals. We hope to expand to OAK and BUR and all other major routes in California.

We're redoing the website based on everyone's feedback.


I would flip it - rent an apartment in LA, work at ${Silicon_Valley_Startup} and sleep under my desk Monday-Friday.


I can't tell if this is a real business or not.[1] The website appears to be a placeholder intended to test the market demand for their product.

[1] Jumpdrive doesn't appear to be incorporated or organized in California or Delaware, which is a necessary predicate of them having signed contracts with regional airlines or with LAX/SFO for private terminal space.


I applaud anyone trying to enter the market but the site as-is leaves a lot of questions open to a first time visitor. At first I assumed this was some kind of discounting system on top of the commercial operators. Reading through the comments here it seems they are flying their own planes. Given that they're a company I've never heard of, and flying their own planes, it would be nice to at least see the planes in their livery.

The landing page featuring minimalist text with lots of whitespace might be the popular thing to do for upstart software companies but a company in the business of physically moving people with their own planes shouldn't appear so sterile, IMO. JetSuiteX (https://www.jetsuitex.com) and SurfAir (https://www.surfair.com/) are in more or less the same market and make me feel much more comfortable about considering their services.


Thanks for the feedback. We're in the process of redesigning the site. Lots of people have pointed this out, so we appreciate the comments.


You betcha, sure thing. Like I said, I'm happy to see new entrants into the market and wish you the best of luck!


Thanks!


Could we get a title on this that's a little more accurate? It doesn't appear like this is an actual service but an effort to gauge interest which makes the title fraudulent.


For folks seeking some context on why LAX-SFO route, here's a list of busiest air routes in the world based on passenger volume :-

1.Jeju-Seoul

2.Melbourne-Sydney

3.Mumbai-Delhi

4.Fukuoka-Tokyo

5.Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo

6.Sapporo-Tokyo

7.Los Angeles-San Francisco

8.Brisbane-Sydney

LAX-SFO is the 7th most busiest.

Source : https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-08/world-s-b...


Interesting, I hadn't realized it's that scale.

And a good reason for California to invest in high-speed rail, in my own opinion.


I took the opportunity to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles via the Coast Starlight train (and then from Los Angeles to San Diego via the Pacific Surfliner) and it was an amazing trip. I obviously could've saved so much more time flying, but I had a day to kill, and taking the train in a private sleeper roomette seemed like the best way to do it. I would definitely make that trip again (and the included meals were great).


I could see Aviato moving into this space...


Hmmm, so after reading the FAQ and the comments, I don't really see what the advantage here is over just flying one of the major carriers.

Changing the pricing model is useful, but only really for people who cannot predict their schedule enough to get the lower rates from the commercial carriers. It seems to me that people who fall into that class, and yet are willing to subscribe to a few flights a month might not be super common. Particularly once the service starts to fill up, and you can't guarantee a seat at the last minute.

The private terminal thing might be helpful, but frequent travelers are going to have already bribed the government to skip the full security line. Last time I was in SFO the precheck line only took me about 2 minutes. If I had checked in early, and only had carry on luggage, I could probably have gotten to the airport when boarding started and still made my flight (haven't went through LAX security in a few years can't comment there).

So, while the GA/private terminal would be enticing if it were operated like a charter plane (aka no TSA to worry about at all), and the flights were small enough they would be willing to hold it if I was running 5 mins late, but it doesn't appear to be the case. The regional jets are much to large for that kind of behavior, and given that its not a business jet, the seating is going to be as miserable as it is on the larger carriers.

To me it sounds like they are trying to reinvent the SW airlines of the 1970's which operated more like a traditional bus service (lots of frequent flights, last minute ticketing, etc) but without the huge profit margins on tickets that SW was competing against.

So I would expect that to really lure people they need something closer to the full charter experience (business class seating at a minimum). For that, I suspect people might be willing to spring for a few extra dollars (bus class tickets are probably easier to compete with given they still tend to have larger margins). Large corps that like to fly their plebs in economy seats probably aren't going to spring for the extra ticket price (besides getting into the booking system might be challenging).

Anyway, good luck...


Any plans on allowing "plus one" guests? For example, a subscriber may use the service for $WORK most of the time, but occasionally the SO may tag along by paying a one-time ticket, perhaps at a slight premium.


I applaud the audacity of starting an airline from scratch, considering it's way up there in terms of capital requirements and regulatory burden, and the industry has been losing money in the US, collectively, since the Carter administration.

But it needs to be said that SFO<->LAX is, at just 300 miles, and with the high demand shown by such startups, a perfect example of everything that is wrong with transportation in the US.

Compare Berlin<->Munich which happens to be almost exactly the same distance: even with some political compromises requiring the trains to stop in towns along the route that planners would rather have avoided, total travel time is only 3 1/2 hours. Train stations are also in the middle of each city, saving you about an hour of time on each end. And you can just hop onto any train without booking in advance, without going through security, without discarding your bottle of water, without the yoga-like contortions of economy class, and without the existential threat of not having internet for two hours.

That even an environmentally friendly US state such as California can't get its act together, and instead "solves" its traffic needs in the most resource-intensive ways available, is a scathing indictment of the US' lost faith in the power of government to solve collective action problems.


For me, airplanes are preferable to running train tracks across the landscape. It's also cheaper. I live in southern France near Marseille and for me to get to Frankfurt by train -- it's a time consuming mess. I can be there by airplane in about an hour. Getting to Geneva from Marseille is faster by airplane by multiple hours and even driving a car is more convenient than the train depending on the connections and road conditions -- especially if I'm ultimately going to Chamonix.

I could take a train from Marseille to Brussels -- but why would I? I can spend almost 7 hours on a train or 1.25 hours on an airplane AND I don't have to drive all the way into Marseille, find a place to leave my car and risk getting attacked or robbed in the station [1][2]

> Train stations are also in the middle of each city, saving you about an hour of time on each end

That's assuming that you actually want to be in the middle of each city.

SFO to Cupertino by car is about 50 minutes.

Downtown San Francisco to Cupertino is roughly double that.

Not everyone traveling to San Francisco (or LA) actually wants to be in the city center. LAX to Santa Monica, Venice or most other west LA destinations is faster than downtown Los Angeles to those areas. LAX to Long Beach is faster than from downtown LA.

[1] http://ktla.com/2017/10/01/at-least-2-dead-after-knife-attac... [2] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/17/world/europe/marseille-fr...


This is a private company attempting to solve a cost and convenience issue, not the State of California attempting to solve a travel-related environmental issue.

There are other industries attempting to solve transportation and environmental problems in more general ways.


I'm a fan of rail in general, and the German system is fantastic. But the LA and SF Bay Areas consist mostly of sprawl and don't have good transit to begin with. You need to drive to get somewhere fast. In those circumstances, taking off from the burbs is a feature, not a bug.


But this service wants to fly from LAX which is not really in the suburbs and not always easy to get to.


SFO-LAX high speed rail is theoretically being built, for 100 billion dollars.

http://www.hsr.ca.gov/


To cost-effectively build a rail system in the US, you need to start with an FRA waiver (or avoid needing one with a fully separated system). Without one, you need special FRA-compliant trains that weigh (IIRC) 40% more than those designed to EU/Japanese rules and are of course at least that much more expensive.

Then you need to not take any federal funds, because if you do you'll be forced to buy everything from domestic manufacturers, which treat you exactly as you'd expect a captive audience to be treated. (This is why the US's shipbuilding industry is confined to government contracts and vessels that are below the minimum size to be covered by the Jones Act.) If you take federal money, also expect expensive and lengthy procurement grievances regardless of the merits. California probably has a similar state law, plus all sorts of others (e.g. CEQA), and the BANANAs are very experienced at wielding them.

Add all the union contracts that mandate excessive staffing, constant handing off of work between jurisdictions, etc. and you're paying ten times as much per kilometer vs. a comparable project in a high-wage EU country.


It doesn't show a sample flight schedule. I want to sign up, but want to know what times/days flights usually are.


We're planning on flying Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. And we'll have about 6 flights a day departing from each location. This is just the schedule we'll start out with and we'll add more days and times as we grow.


I think a lot of commuter workers tend to fly Thursdays and work remote on Fridays. I'm surprised that's not a higher value day than one of the weekend days for your target.


Friday is actually the day most business travelers fly. Thursday evening has demand as well so we're looking into possibly offering some times Thursday evening too. Thanks for your feedback.


I was a consultant who flew every week for 3 years. All consultants fly out on Thursday late afternoons and early evenings. If you want to attract those travelers, you need to fly out on Thursdays.


I doubt that. Thursday afternoon/evening tends to be busiest for business travellers, Friday is more leasure.


Will your schedule support working day trips? Meaning, a flight leaving early enough to be wheels down by 9 AM at the destination, then a flight out around 4-5 PM on the same day? Do you have plans for working with a rental car service at the private terminal?


Who flies the planes themselves - do you contract with the same airlines who run regional flights for the national carriers? (What's the planes' livery?)

Part of why I'm curious is that I've noticed that the national carriers in the US have an extremely safe record of late - I believe there has been one death from 2002-present from the national carriers (Southwest 1248 slid off a snowy runway in Chicago, hit two cars, and killed one child), but there have been a many fatal accidents with regional or private carriers, so I'd like to know who the actual operating carrier is and what their safety record is.


Yes, we contract with regional part 121 airlines that fly and operate the flights. Skywest, Express Jet, etc. These are the same airlines that partner with Delta, United, and American Airlines to run their regional routes.


The stuff on the homepage is not consumer content. That is stuff for pitch decks and Powerpoints to investors. Tell the consumer what you are offering and after digging, you guys actually seem to have a great offering.


At first glance this sounded like the rebirth of the proposed restructuring of the commercial airline industry as covered in the book "Free Flight: Inventing the Future of Travel"[0], by James Fallows (2001). Back then the business model was to marry a fleet of very cheap passenger jets[1] with the huge number of little used airports dispersed around big cities. The book mentions two companies as leading the industry, Cirrus Design[2] and Eclipse Aviation[3]. The startup collapsed during the financial crisis. I remember reading an analysis of the difficulty of scheduling individual pickups to thousands of small airports, essentially a full blown traveling salesman problem that had to be updated in real time with each new reservation. The promise was to cut an hour or so off the total travel time by using small airports near the customer's home and destination.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Free-Flight-Inventing-Future-Travel/d...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_light_jet

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cirrus_Aircraft

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclipse_Aviation


It blows my mind that there's market for this kind of frequent air travel when we have such a climate crisis on our hands.


ALL transport accounts for only 14% of emissions; beef and electricity generation are where the big gains are. We already have the technology to produce electricity without greenhouse gasses, we do not have the technology to physically move as fast and as far as airplanes without burning fossil fuels.

People can choose to take some personal responsibility and sacrifice air travel (and more importantly beef!) for the sake of the environment but we have so much ground to gain at a systematic level that I don't think we need to be too overzealous about behavior change at this stage in the problem.

Voting for politicians that will speed up the transition away from coal to renewables will have a far greater impact on the environment than personal lifestyle choices ever will.

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emiss...


I imagine balance will be tricky. Too few flights and customers get frustrated because they can't get seats or decent times. Too many flights and you lose money. This is probably why other airlines have peak/offpeak pricing in the first place to solve the load problem.

Whats the minimum number of months to subscribe for?


Yes, balance is very tricky, which is why airlines utilize dynamic pricing. We are working on a model that balances supply/demand.

No minimum number of months to subscribe for.


It's nice to see an aviation startup that's not just Uber For Airplanes.


Uber for planes seems pretty impossible :)


Depends on how comfortable it needs to be.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulton_surface-to-air_recovery...


Hahaha


Jetsmarter has been sort of trying, for what it's worth.


I don't really see how the economics would work out - planes have a certain cost to fly and the cost per passenger cost is that divided by the number of passengers on the flight. Discount airlines like Ryanair work by selling some seats very cheap to fill the plane and some expensive like last minute and peak time flights to make a profit. If you charge a flat lowish amount the popular times will be full and the less popular empty leading to poor utilisation and a higher average cost and you'll lose money.

Dunno if I'm missing something here?


Meanwhile, there are 3 flights from Paris to Rome on easyjet for tomorrow all priced at 100 euros. Yeah, maybe you get some extra fees, but the subscription model is pretty constraining as well.


Looks cool - I'd probably use this if I still lived in LA.

Found a typo on your FAQ:

"Our fares our much lower than a private plane service." - that second "our" should be an "are"


It doesn't say what type of aircraft guests would fly on.


It does, but it's hidden at the bottom of the FAQ [1] page. I agree with the other comments about how they could do a better job of surfacing this kind of information.

> We fly the beautiful Bombardier CRJ Series and Embraer ERJ Series. These are regional planes with 50 to 100 passenger seats. These planes are the same planes that are used by United Express, Delta Connection, and American Airlines.

[1] - https://www.jumpdriveair.com/faq-1


Adding a photo of the actual aircraft would also be nice. From the website it's hard to tell whether this is a real business that's currently in operation, or just a site mock-up. Have you actually started flying yet? I can't tell.


And they should just come straight out and explain how the flights are operated. Sublease of the aircraft? Block-booking of seats on scheduled commercial services? Commercial charters?

The more they hide the less confidence people will have in them.

The contact name in the WHOIS appears to be an attorney.

I don't see any entry for JumpDriveAir or variations thereof in the ICAO operating agency list ( Doc 8585 ) so I assume they're not the carrier themselves.


I'd wager that at this moment they've not done much more than ideation and (I pray dearly) feasibility studies.

We won't even be able to start arguing whether this idea has wings until the first wheels leave the tarmac.


We're in the process of finalizing arrangements with our regional airline partners to operate the flights. We'll have our first flights within the next few months.


> We're in the process of finalizing arrangements...

I find it a bit misleading that you don't state this more clearly upfront.

> We'll have our first flights within the next few months.

... if everything goes as expected, if not then you'll be liable with a whole bunch of angry first customers.


Huh? We're signing up to be notified, we're not handing over cash. They'd be useful if they worked out, so I threw a disposable e-mail address in the hat.

If I get an e-mail in a couple of months that this works, awesome, I'll give them a spin. If not, oh well. But why would their customers be angry? It's pretty clear it's not an existing service yet.


We partner with Part 121 regional airline operators that operate our flights. We give them the schedule and they operate the flights on our behalf. We'll adjust the site so we do a better job of explaining how flights are operated. Thanks for the feedback.


If they were going to be their own operator, the probably wouldn't use a mix of CRJ and E-175, but instead have a single-type fleet for lower costs. My guess is that SkyWest or someone like that who already has a mixed fleet is operating the flights.


Yes, we're partnering with part 121 regional airline operators to operate our flights.


Yes, I'm curious too. They are not in the list of certificated air carriers or commuter services on FAA website, not even in the applicants list.


We're not a direct air carrier. We act as an agent arranging travel with part 121 air carriers.


We haven't started flying yet. We plan on having our first flight within the next few months. We'll add some photos of the aircraft we use to the site. Thanks for the feedback.


Most likely they would do a ACMI[0] "wet lease" for a block of flight hours on the aircraft. This is also done by tour operators for package deals.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_lease#Wet_lease


Thanks for the feedback. We'll make that more clear on the site.


We'll make that more clear on the site. Thanks for the feedback


CRJ series and ERJ series. These are all 50 to 100 seat passenger planes. Same aircraft that United Express, Delta Connection, and American Airlines use for their regional routes.


We fly the CRJ Series and ERJ Series. These are 50 to 100 seat passenger aircraft. Same planes that United Express, Delta Connection, and American Airlines use. We'll make that more clear on the website.


Why would you not offer an 8 flights per month plan? I imagine the most popular use case is people who need to fly in Monday morning and out Friday evening.


That's correct about the use case. We're thinking about offering 8 flights/month but didn't think there would be that much demand for that option. Could be wrong though


Question in my mind as a user of LAX: WHERE is the private terminal and does it get me out of the nightmare of LAX evening traffic? That would be a strong point in your favor. And also, does rideshare pick up there smoothly? Will you be working with Uber/Lyft to make sure that they are fully aware of the location? What about rental car services, are any accessible from the private terminal?


The screenshot shows 55 minute travel times, is that real? Current airlines generally schedule 1h25 to 1h45.


Yes, that's real. SFO to LAX takes about 55 minutes in the air. We have faster turn around than major airlines when we're on the ground because of the private terminals


So the times are from takeoff to landing, not door closing to door opening? And where is there space at SFO for a new private terminal? :)

Edit: Ohh I didn't realize that Delta just stopped their shuttle [1] ... are you just using those gates?

[1] https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/Routes-End-of-Delta-We...


While a 737 cruises at 340 knots CAS (calibrated air speed), an ERJ 145 has a high speed cruising speed of 450 knots.

Add to that less leeway for some of the delays inherent to gates, and I could see that being the case.


You'll still lose time taxiing, waiting for take off and after landing, especially during busy times. I doubt they can make it in <1h block time.


I'd love a service like this if it came up to pdx. Quite a few lax-pdx flights every day so there should be demand too. Probably only a fraction of sfo-lax but if you add in seattle there's quite a bunch I'd imagine.


So its Part 121, but with private TSA screening and boarding on the General Aviation side of the airports? Are you operating the planes, or is SkyWest of someone like them operating the planes?


Yes, that's correct.

We're not operating the planes. We have part 121 regional airline partners that are operating the planes. We're providing them with the schedule and they operate the flights. We act as an agent for the passengers.


Do the planes have your own livery, or that of your regional partners?


Do unused flight credits roll over?


They probably make their money from people who don't use all the flights they booked. Personally, I find that business model horrible and it's what you get with race-to-the-bottom markets like cellphone plans, electricity and credit cards. It screws over people who misjudge their own future usage but give hope that you'll save money if you get it right.

I suppose it's still a good option to have since customers are effectively being paid to do the work of planning their use in advance which no doubt reduces costs for the airline.


Hi, they don't roll over. But we're working on a feature where users can transfer unused flight credits to family and friends.


That's a major win against traditional airlines if you could transfer your flights to someone else.

I think you wanted to make sure the best price option is in the middle but it threw me off a bit. Consider putting them left to right, from worst deal to best? Also, consider using numbers instead of words: 2 flights, 4 flights, 6 flights?


UI Design: Why is there a blog link at the top that isn't clickable?


You want to change the airline industry? Let's talk. That's my plan.


This could be a nice way for a parked plane to help pay for itself in part.


lol SFO - LAX flights are OFTEN cheaper than that or as cheap.

Unless.... are these roundtrips? I want to assume so but that would be a bad assumption to get wrong!

Fix the site.


These are one-way flights. Flights between SFO-LAX are sometimes cheaper if you book weeks in advance. The point of Jumpdrive is you still get a cheap fare without booking weeks in advance. We're working on redoing the site.


Do you think the cheap fare is the value proposition? Or is the private terminals and fast service? That sounds very appealing. I mean, it can be both - save money AND time.

All the TSA experience is awful (business travelers in the US have the pre-screen and stuff of course, but they're probably not your target).


I think the value prop is cheap fares without booking weeks in advance and fast checkins at the private terminals.

I agree, TSA is awful, so hopefully our solution will be more resolve this issue.


As somebody who's interested in the service: The "cheap" fare is not the value. I fly that damn route often enough that I have frequent flyer status - and so I can just afford to keep things booked 4 weeks in advance, and take advantage of the free cancellations that comes with status. (Not to mention that even on two weeks notice, I can book roundtrip at ~ your price. Alaska in two weeks right now: $160)

The main value is in a private terminal & fast checkins.

That is, btw, a likely factor that might keep people from using your service: if you do on average 3 round trips a month, that's enough to get you to e.g. Gold status on Alaska. Unless LAX<->SFO is the only route I need to take, that's a pretty large incentive to stay with a regular airline. (Because status means no cancellation fees and easy upgrades)


The flight tomorrow is $59. January 11th. I only looked because the entire spiel ran counter to my prior experiences. Direct on Delta, Virgin America, Alaska, etc. Oh wow the same day ones later today are the same price!

I know we are splitting hairs because this isn't always the case, and what you offer is intended to always be the case along with being possibly shorter flights with quicker checkins.

I just think the messaging is a little off because the way it is described doesn't really solve people's problems, especially when they will be so often debunked.


I just counted the number of one way flights this Friday between SFO-LAX. There are 57 non stop flights on that day. And this doesn't even include OAK, SJC as well as BUR, LGB, and Orange County in So Cal. Fares start at $49. This will be a hard market to compete.


I'm not sure. Waiting in line at security and then again at the gate sucks, and I fly maybe once every six weeks. If I flew four times a month for business, I could see a private gate with no wait being worth some money. You're saving time, too, which I assume is worth a fair amount of money to the type of person who flies that often.


Well although I have TSA Pre, and you should too, I can give your argument some merit.

Yes one thing I like about trains - their ONLY redeeming quality - is that if the trip says 2 hours, then it is really JUST 2 hours out of your day

Whereas with flights, if the trip says 2 hours then it is more like 4 and a half hours out of your day. Always have to consider showing up to the airport at least an hour early, always have to consider going to the edge of town, always have to consider sitting on the tarmac, etc.

I could see the utility of getting to skip all of this at a fixed price which is NEAR the normal prices. The next thing up is Jetsmarter for $10,000+


That’s a fair counterpoint. I don’t have TSA pre, but maybe that cuts enough time to make the value prop not worth it. Also, I’ve been meaning to get it, so maybe now I will.


This is sad. Flight is the most contaminating form of transportation.


Enjoy your 12 hour train ride.


You can get a ride with under 2 hours, if you do an actual express train.... see the ICE Sprinter Berlin-Munich, which has more stops than necessary, and does not even drive at the seed we have the technology for.


I'm familiar with trains, I'm just saying the option between SF and LA is... not really any option.


Well sure, but a high speed train could be built, right?

In Spain (not really a high-tech country overall) there are trains connecting the country corner to corner with trains that go at like 300 KM/Hour average. Considering that train stations are central, plus there is no need to be there like 2 hours before, plus you can easily work there, etc. it is way faster and more convenient than flight, and of course way more ecological.

I'm sure a little of all that VC money can be used to build such infrastructure... I got lots of downvotes for my original comment, but really, the amount of CO2 emitted by air travel is appalling. I understand it is hard to avoid in many situations, but at least let me feel sad about it.


That's generally my experience in Germany and Switzerland as well. Unless there are multiple hops involved e.g. Zurich-Würzburg with long waits in places like Stuttgart. If you have a non-stop connection it's great to work on a modern ice train with internet access.




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