Terribly Named Flewber Offers Private Flights for $400 One Way ($700 Roundtrip)

Flewber sounds like Uber, and it’s app-based booking of private flights in the Northeast. They serve Boston, New York, East Hampton and Nantucket. And at $700 roundtrip — or $400 one-way — they even include a rebate to Uber to the airport.

Flewber sells public charters (operated by a company with the same owners), they aren’t the operator of the flights. They sell 5 flights a day weekdays only from each city. By the way bookings are even refundable less a 20% fee.

A week ago their CEO said they’re expanding to Philadelphia and DC. He also said though that pricing is $349 one way or $599 roundtrip, but their website shows the higher pricing I mentioned. There’s no membership or recurring fees, and there’s no minimum number of passengers before they’ll commit to operate a flight.

These aren’t the most luxurious jets, but these are short flights. They offer snacks and non-alcoholic beverages on board only and it’s bring your own entertainment. But they aren’t always going to be using the obvious airport, for instance they don’t use Teterboro their CEO notes “New York Farmingdale, White Plains” as options.

Their two year plan is to expand to “Florida, Texas, California, Washington state, and Chicago.”

They are operating a fixed schedule, not on your schedule. But they’re delivering a very attractive price point. The question is can they sell out their service and make any money at the price? Jetsmarter started out an amazing deal, lit a lot of money on fire, then became less good of a deal and wound up in numerous lawsuits. I don’t regret taking advantage of a promo to fly them free.

The question is whether there’s a model that lets a company outcompete the major carriers, within existing regulatory frameworks, using secondary private airports?

Of course true Uber for planes — connecting private pilots with their own aircraft with passengers wanting to go somewhere — was killed by the FAA. Other services like Blackbird are aiming to make buying seats on private flights more affordable, so perhaps there’s a real future that will come out of this.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Considering jetsmarter failed on a similar model, my initial response is no. I’m still waiting for my class action settlement payout.
    Even offering limited routes on prop planes with low overhead, it’s still super difficult to make up the money.

  2. I would pay a similar price $400 for two people 1 way AUS to DFW because AA charges at least that much for Business class.

    If they can keep those prices it seems like a winning model.

  3. Hey. Glad you covered this. I saw $600 last night Farmingdale to Boston but only if booked as a round trip.

  4. What is the safety record of these small aircraft vs. airlines?

    They’re not the Cessnas and other small prop aircraft that you hear about crashing all the time but is the average experience of these pilots more like those Cessna pilots or airline pilots?

  5. Commercial Grade pilots….that means pilots have as little as 250 hours. Based on their pricing model I can guarantee these are low hour, low pay pilots. There is no other way they could do those prices in a pilots world.

  6. I believe the aircraft you see in the picture is a Cessna 402, Piston aircraft. Cessna 402’s are safe good aircraft with the right pilot behind the yolk.

  7. I suppose it’s a matter of where you want to go. If traveling from suburban office park to suburban office park, farmingdale to beverly might work out well. However, from city to city that’s a terrible inconvenience when acela offers downtown-to-downtown in 4 hours for about the same price in first class. Are there really enough people who’d use it to get to summer “cottages” in nantucket and the hamptons to make a profit?

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