Washington Post -- It’s time for the Uber of air travel

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by jbarrass, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. jbarrass

    jbarrass Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Washington Post had an interesting article on expanding "uber" type services to aviation here.

    Much friendlier article than usual from them.
     
  2. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Problem with that concept is the thin margins that commercial operators work on.

    The first step towards Uberization of the airlines is that someone needs to develop an Uber type app for all the empty legs of biz jets operators that are already certified. There are companies that do sell dead legs but not one consolidated source and they a lot of back and forth to get a rate and availability for a limited part of the available fleet.

    Billion dollar idea...someone go!
     
  3. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Why is it there seems to be a price floor on empty legs? If they have _nobody_ flying on one (say coast to coast), and I tell them I'll pay $500, they'd most likely fly empty rather than take my lowball offer. Why is that?
     
  4. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Re: Washington Post -- ItÂ’s time for the Uber of air travel

    Define "commercial operators"?

    Do you mean 135 or 121?

    That said, despite Christopher Elliott's column, the FAA is not about to change.
     
  5. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

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    Dilution of value for the people paying full price.
    And if not value, atleast the perception of it.
     
  6. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Uber doesn't care whether their ground based drivers hold the right business license or insurance for commercial operations. Why should they care whether aircraft operators hold something silly like a 135 operating certificate. That's so 1900s :rolleyes:
     
  7. RudyP

    RudyP Cleared for Takeoff

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    That and the fact that a lot of airplanes on charter actually have an individual owner who doesn't want random people flying on his airplane for what is to him chump change. Just like I wouldn't want some random stranger riding around in my single engine piston on a dead head leg for $20, Joe $100millionaire doesn't want someone paying $500 to fart in his Falcon's seats.
     
  8. JHW

    JHW En-Route

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    because you're not worth the trouble with your 3-digit price
     
  9. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Why arn't there more 135 operations using SR22s or DA42s instead of Kingairs and VLJs?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. JHW

    JHW En-Route

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    to haul what?

    my company used to 3X per week kingair charter from the main office in peoria to a factory in south carolina. It was great, you could make a day trip of it and get virtually a full day's work at the factory. But half the engineers still flew commercial and turned it into a 3 day trip, because they wouldn't dare ride on that "little propellor plane".
     
  11. nimdabew

    nimdabew Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If the paying passengersthat do pay $1,200 for the same flight think they can get away with only doing uber runs, they will. Scheduled air service might stop for the higher end tickets and they would lose profit margins for those previously sold tickets.

    It is the same reason why a doughnut shop won't give away donuts at the end of the day to customers that walk in right before closing. They opt to toss them because people will eventually catch on, buy "one doughnut" and then ask for more instead of paying for them. Better to toss them or give the doughnuts away to a food bank.

    ETA:

    Higher training costs, equipment requirements are higher for 135 ops, and reduced profit margins from ecomony of scale. Easier to buy and store parts for one type of airplane than for a large fleet of airplanes. It is part of the reason why Southwest was so successful, and continues to be. All SW pilots are type rated for 737's, training differences are fewer between series, and SW only needs to hire mechs that are working on 737's.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  12. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The concept has some merit,it will be a long time however,to change the way people think. The 135 operators sell the airplane not the seat. The person paying for the charter isn't about to take on additional passengers they don't know. I did see two business men flying in an rv10 ,like it was there taxi.
     
  13. rwellner98

    rwellner98 Line Up and Wait

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    Yes, this. Uber's major innovation was a willingness to ignore the law.

    From the article: "Yet the FAA, as a matter of policy, has made Uberization difficult, say industry observers"

    The cab business was *also* regulated. Uber just ignored the regulations. So Uber-izing aviation really would be a nearly identical play.

    The real obstacle, as someone already pointed out, is margins. For long haul, there is no way for a small operator to compete with a 777. For short flights, pretty much everyone here knows what the economics of flying looks like. Hard to keep it to a price point that many will be willing to pay as compared to hopping in a car and just driving the trip.
     
  14. flyingron

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    The advantage with Uber is that anybody with a car and a driver's license can be a driver which is a much bigger pool than pilots. Further, Uber was able to secure insurance to cover a more substantial liability than the minimum (by law) coverage that one might have.

    Lots of people have cars who are underemployed. Don't know too many aircraft owners who are.

    Let me know when they get a carrier that's willing to indemnify to the the tune of any reasonable amount (let's say a million) a private pilot picking up random carriage through social media regardless of what the FAA rules are.

    Of course Uber FORCED the laws to change to deal with them.
     
  15. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If they can whip up a commercial policy to cover pilots/owners even while they are breaking the law, they may have a market.

    Most aircraft are under-employed and there would probably be no shortage of pilots to fly Uber style trips.

    I doubt there would be enough demand to create a functioning market.

    The way they changed the rules in many of the larger cities is by ignoring them.
     
  16. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Alaska might be the best place for this service. An awful lot of the pilots there don't have certificates anyway. Without any cert to lose, the FAA doesn't have much leverage. The trouble would be finding insurance.
     
  17. JHW

    JHW En-Route

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    strange, alaska doesn't seem to be colored in on your map. Do you use some sort of divine guidance to understand what happens there ?
     
  18. Gerhardt

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    If you're not worried about a cert., you're not worried about insurance.
     
  19. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Good point.

    I was thinking about Uber, that they would demand insurance.
     
  20. rocketflyer84

    rocketflyer84 Line Up and Wait

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    My impression is that Uber's model is "don't ask don't tell" in regards to what's going on at the driver level for many of these details (at least in certain markets).

    "Normal" car insurance explicitly forbids one from operating "for hire" as does the lease/loan provisions for many vehicles unless the vehicle was explicitly purchased/leased to be a "for hire" vehicle. So "having insurance" and "having the right insurance" are two different things.

    The Uber drivers that are just using their personal cars to give rides in many cases may not be properly insured in the eyes of their insurer (if there was an incident and they were operating 'for hire' the insurer would just drop them and void the claim). In return Uber seems to point to it's drivers and say "hey they're just independent contractors so you need to talk to them."
     
  21. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Uber provides insurance that covers the liability while the vehicle is listed as 'occupied' on the App. As some individuals hurt by Uber drivers on the way to pickups found out, the company doesn't cover the drivers liability any other time.
     
  22. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Let's say we ignored the laws for a second. Let's say a 172 costs $1 per mile to operate.(double that if it's a one way trip). Add in a measly $20/flight hour for the pilot, that would make a trip from LA to Vegas cost around $500 for one way. That's a lot more than the airlines and in a slow 172, doesn't leave much advantage time wise. The economics just don't make that much sense for single engine air taxi services anywhere except Alaska.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  23. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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  24. EdFred

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  25. JeffDG

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    She's a liar lawyer. Just doing her job.
     
  26. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Lawyers are responsible for representing the interests of their clients, not for representing their personal opinions.
     
  27. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Who was her client when she was with the FAA?

    That ruling IS her personal opinion!
     
  28. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Even if that's true, it's irrelevant. My understanding is that now that she is in private practice, she is ethically bound to represent the interests of her current client, not her personal opinions.
     
  29. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Still makes one a hypocrite if you represent someone who doesn't share your personal opinion. And if she does share her clients' views then she really is the c-word after foisting that ****-ass interpretation upon us.

    She really should rot in hell.
     
  30. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Baloney.
     
  31. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Disagree. If I argue against something I believe I am a hypocrite.
     
  32. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I would never hire an attorney who felt compelled to inject their personal opinions into the conduct of my case. The attorney should give me their honest opinion of my chances for success, but once hired, they should be willing to make whatever arguments they think have a chance of succeeding, whether they agree with them or not.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
  33. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Which is why I would never be an attorney. I have convictions. No pun intended.
     
  34. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    The same as any in-house counsel. Her employer. And don't confuse legal opinion with personal opinion.

    It's a common misconception that the FAA attorneys in the office of chief counsel just come up with this stuff on their own. For the most part, things like legal interpretations are worked within the associated line of business for internal coordination and sent to counsel for legal sufficiency. While the assistant chief counsel signs off, the decisions and analysis took place within the responsible internal organization, such as Flight Standards or Aircraft Certification.
     
  35. SkyDog58

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    And do not confuse either one with advocacy.
     
  36. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    By the way, I think it's entirely possible that Flytenow hired her BECAUSE she wrote the contrary opinion for the FAA.
     
  37. 172andyou

    172andyou Line Up and Wait

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    Yup. This ^
     
  38. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    There are many things that are entirely possible. It doesn't mean that they are in any way probable.
     
  39. hook_dupin

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    Actually, I think its more convoluted than that. The Goldwater Institute took up Flytenow v FAA pro-bono and I think brought in Ms. MacPherson as additional council.
     
  40. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's almost certain that they brought her in because she worked in FAA legal, and likely because she authored the opinion. The best way to find "holes" in a legal structure is to hire the person that researched, understood, and directly authored something to try and close some of those holes. She should know exactly where & how sustainable legal arguments can be made.

    This is common practice not only in DC, but also in every state capital across the nation.