If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I focus a lot on how my company, Linear Air, provides a fantastic value for business travelers. But what you probably don’t realize is that, depending on the time of year, between 20 percent and 40 percent of Linear Air’s customers aren’t traveling on business.
They’re involved in what we call "personal travel." That’s not necessarily the same thing as “leisure travel.” For example, some of our customers have used us to attend family events in a distant town, or to take their high school aged sons and daughters to visit colleges where they are considering enrolling. Those aren’t “leisure” activities in the strictest sense, though they certainly don’t qualify as business trips either. So we prefer the term “personal travel.”
To be sure, though, many of our “personal travel” customers are, in fact, “leisure travelers,” or “vacation travelers,” even though we don’t use those terms. And since it’s summer, when for obvious reasons our percentage of “personal travelers” peaks, I thought it would be a good time to explain why Linear Air can be a great – and often price competitive - alternative to flying with the airlines when you aren’t traveling for business reasons. I’ll use myself as an example.
Recently, as my youngest daughter’s sophomore year in high school came to an end, we squeezed in a short, but fantastic weekend getaway to one of our favorites places on the earth. The Swag is a gorgeous--and isolated--bed-and-breakfast inn and retreat located outside Waynesville, N.C. (about a 30 minute drive from Asheville, N.C.). The rustic log buildings sit near the top of a 6,000-foot high mountain in the rugged Southern Appalachians. From the grounds you can see the highest peaks in four major, thinly-populated Appalachian ranges including the Great Smoky Mountainsand the Black Mountains. In addition to this idyllic setting, sumptuous meals are served throughout the day. It’s the perfect getaway. There are no TVs. No phones. No computers. We think it’s the perfect place to unplug from the world. My wife and I went there several times as a retreat from our young girls. But as the girls got older, they started coming with us, and we’ve now all been to The Swag together four or five times. It’s how our family retreats from the world.
The downside of going to The Swag from our home outside Boston is that it takes so long to get there - if you travel conventionally. But Linear Air – which I just happened to have co-founded – provides the perfect solution to that problem. In early June, my oldest daughter (home from college for a few days) and I picked up my youngest daughter and my teacher-naturalist wife just as school let out, and made the short drive over to Hanscom Field, in Bedford, MA, Linear Air’s home base. We hopped aboard one of our comfortable and efficient Eclipse Jets, flew to Asheville, and drove over to the The Swag in time to enjoy an amazing dinner as day turned to evening in the quiet mountains. We spent a very relaxing weekend there and flew home on Sunday without having to go through any of the typical buzz-kill experiences associated with air travel – airport crowds, long security lines and pat-downs, jam-packed commercial jets. On the way out, we even got to see a cool, antique Ford Tri-Motor that was at the airport giving sightseeing rides!
We all look forward to such chances to get together. But as our girls have gotten older, and our schedules have gotten crazier, it’s nearly impossible for us to schedule a time. This year, we only had two-a-half days for a trip to The Swag because our schedules are so crazy. And had we traveled by commercial airline we might as well have stayed home. We would have spent the better part of two days traveling – one day in each direction. But with Linear Air we were there by dinner Friday night and got to enjoy the entire weekend.
Okay, you say, Linear Air is my company. Of course it works well for me. But the truth is that it matters not one iota that I’m CEO of the company. Linear Air’s on-demand air taxi service would have been the ideal solution for me and my family even if my name was Joe Smith instead of Bill Herp. And it may just be the ideal solution for you, too, when you start planning your next leisure – ur, uh – “personal” trip.
See you onboard!