AirPool – A social distancing solution in the sky

Carpooling gets a modern day makeover with a set of wheels and wings: Airpooling is one of the most economical and practical solution.

Aviation industry is one of the most affected due to COVID 19. The industry is in great need for a quick remedy to cop up with the situation. Pilots need to fly and many passengers are in great emergency to travel. Air pooling fulfils both of their interests economically. It is the service where two families can fly together privately among mutually convenient airports.

Let us look on how it is actually working. The convenient date, plane type, number of available seats etc. can be entered by the pilot. Then the price per seat is calculated by considering the total flight’s fuel, airport tax, number of passengers etc and the available seats and other information will be listed. Passengers can choose from the available flights and a request is sent to the pilot. Pilot can accept and send contact and arrival details to the respective passengers for meeting the pilot at the airport.

The total cost is shared between two families making it profitable and practical  to all in this time, as our only current precaution against covid19 is social distancing. A particular airpool involves only two families clearing all the health declarations and related communications.

One of the key benefits of airpooling is social distancing. Private flights are the only way and if it can be shared, then it will be a great remedy for many, both practically and economically.

This can be used by travel agents whose 100 percent revenue are ceased in this time. It can also help the pilots to fly and the passengers who are in emergency to travel. So it is helping three different sectors in this time.

Let us think about the future scope of Airpooling, in the post-pandemic situation. The passengers preferring private flights can be profited as the total cost is shared. Other passengers preferring other flights will also use airpooling, as they can choose on and adjust their own timings after discussion with the one other family.

A start-up, “AirPooler” partnered with pilots from “The Sundance Flying Club” and offers Bay Area flights. AirPooler is a platform that pilots come to and passengers come to, to find each other given that they have common destinations. Pilots use the website to post when and where they are going and the number of seats available. A passenger can catch a ride by agreeing to share the pro-rated cost of gas, taxes and fees. It says to fly from Palo Alto to Tahoe using AirPooler it would take about an hour and cost $50. Flying commercial you’d have to pay $129 from San Jose or $329 from San Francisco for the hour flight if you booked a week-and-a-half ahead. Driving would take 3.5 to 4.5 hours and cost $35 in gas. To fly from Denver to Aspen, Colo., would cost about $100 per person one way on AirPooler. Right now, if you booked two weeks ahead on commercial, it would cost about $325, or you’d have to drive 198 miles for 3.5 hours which would cost $35.

In 2012, a private travel operator BlackJet was instrumental in bringing ride sharing to the friendly skies, selling seats on idle private planes to cater to travellers fed up with the hassles of conventional airlines. For a traveller stranded in JFK airport, or a relatively small group of people in need of transport to hunting or fishing trip, BlackJet could be a potential workaround for their air woes. BlackJet co-founder and president Dean Rotchin said BlackJet’s lowest air fare is $900, which is higher than average but well below the cost of chartering a private jet.

Berkshire Hathaway’s aviation company “NetJets” offer similar services, where clients take “fractional” ownership stakes in planes in exchange for flight time.

Will air pooling survive post-pandemic? With so many routes eliminated, if travel advisors can source easy and affordable ways to move clients from point A to point B without long layovers it will remain appealing. Upon the return to “the new normal,” passengers will be required to arrive at the airport many hours in advance, wait for their flight at crowded gates, and if there’s luggage to check, there will be even more handlers involved. On most flights, passengers walk through the premium cabin to get to their seat elsewhere on the plane. Shared flights will be highly sought after in the future as long as customers have a trusted advisor who knows their preferences and can “match-make” accordingly.



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