Finally, startups are giving the commercial airline industry a run for its money.
Consumers have long been unhappy with the state of commercial air travel, particularly when it comes to the main legacy carriers in North America. And with its high barriers to entry and arcane rules, the industry hasn’t yet been vulnerable to challenges from leaner startups.
That may be about to change as a wave of new apps are proposing alternative models of booking and changing flights. The new app OneGo, launched this week, bills itself as “the first booking app for subscription-based flying on major airlines.”
For a flat fee, OneGo allows travelers to avoid the hassle of searching out the best fares. While high for average travelers, the monthly fees starting at $1,500 could offer peace of mind to frequent business travelers.
“When you take price out of the equation, and replace it with a flat monthly fee, you gain the freedom to fly as much as you need for your business without having to consider anything other than your flight’s arrival and departure times,” OneGo CEO Paulius Grigas explained in a release.
Airly is a similar service for the Australian market that launched in January 2016. It offers unlimited flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra for a monthly fee of A$2,550.
“We really think we are going to turn air travel on its head for the regular commuters,” Airly cofounder Luke Hampshire told the Australian news site ABC.
Freebird, a new Boston-based startup that investors have funded to the tune of $3.5 million, helps travelers rebook canceled flights for zero charge—provided that they pay an up-front fee of $19 for a one-way journey or $34 for a round trip. Bloomberg calls it a “ticket out of airport hell.”
While some analysts express skepticism about these particular companies, entrepreneurs are increasingly training their sights on air travel “pain points.” See our Future 100 report for our report on the disruptive potential of connected luggage.