My Cirrus SR-22 Air-Taxi Trip

Posted by William Herp on Thu, Feb 28, 2013

I left the house one morning around 7:15, just after breakfast and returned home that evening around 6:30 for dinner with family.

Pretty normal, right?

Not if you knew what transpired during those 11-plus hours. And the story of that illustrates the value of my company, Linear Air, better than just about anything else I can tell you.

After leaving the house I drove a few minutes to Hanscom Field, in Bedford, MA, a western suburb of Boston. Not only am I the founder and CEO of Linear Air, the nation’s leading on-demand air taxi service, I’m also a pilot. And instead of flying Linear Air customers that day or working at my desk, I needed to make a multi-stop sales trip. So I flew myself in the Cirrus SR22 piston-engine aircraft that Linear Air uses as its management plane. (Our customers actually fly on one of our faster, higher-flying, longer-ranged Eclipse very light jets. But if that plane isn’t suitable for a shorter-range trip, we can book Linear Air passengers on Cirrus SR22 planes operated by our marketing partner Hopscotch Air. The Cirrus SR22 is the best and safest piston-engine plane ever built.)

I took off from Hanscom Field at 8 a.m. Seventy minutes later I touched down in White Plains, NY. From 9:30 to 10:30 I had a very productive meeting with one customer from the White Plains area, and followed that with another customer meeting from 10:45 to 11:45. I had arranged for both meetings to take place in one of the meeting rooms available at the private aviation terminal we use at the White Plains airport.

Then I borrowed the “crew car” (which fixed base operators like the one who runs the private aviation terminal at White Plains usually have cars available for charter pilots to use while they wait for their passengers) and drove 20 minutes into Greenwich, CT. Once there I delivered a gift to one of Linear Air’s very best customers. After a quick visit, I drove back to the airport, stopping along the way for a quick sandwich. I hopped back into the Cirrus SR22 and took off at 1 p.m.

Forty-five minutes later I landed at Wings Field in Blue Bell, PA, just northwest of Philadelphia. I had arranged a meeting there with representatives of another client company from the Philly area. From 2 to 4 pm we discussed how Linear Air could serve their needs even better. Then after the meeting, I pre-flighted the SR22 and took off at 4:30. I reached Hanscom Field around 6 p.m., and pulled into my driveway at home 30 minutes later.

In all, I traveled from Boston to New York to Philadelphia and back, held four important business meetings in two different metropolitan areas, and personally delivered a gift to a valued customer. I did all that in just 11 hours and 15 minutes, and made it home in time to have dinner with my family at a normal hour.

If you try to do it using the airlines, that kind of trip simply is not possible. The airlines require you to drive long distances to and from the big airports they serve, and to arrive at least 90 minutes before scheduled departure so you can enjoy the long security lines and the probing and frisking that sometimes go along with that. In fact, you can’t actually fly nonstop commercially between White Plains and Philadelphia. So you could rent a car and drive three hours each way between the two cities. Or you could spend the better part of a day driving between White Plains and one New York City’s big airports just to take an insanely expensive 30-minute flight to Philly.

Additionally, if I had tried to make all those meetings by using one of the airlines, I would have had zero chance at making it home for dinner. In fact, I probably would have missed two, maybe even three whole evenings at home. And Lord knows what it would have cost because flying with an airline would have meant additional spending on rental cars or taxi cabs, plus one or two nights in hotels, and several lonely meals in restaurants (or expensive meals with clients).

Similarly, I know if you tried to make that trip through a conventional air charter company it would have cost you much, much more than it would have cost me had I been a paying Linear Air customer. If I had been a Linear Air customer, I probably would have paid around $2,000 for my SR22 trip. Or, if I had used one of Linear Air’s Eclipse jets it would have cost me about $5,500, which would be a great price had I wanted to take two or three associates with me.

But a conventional charter arrangement on that itinerary would cost between $8,000 and $10,000 - maybe even more depending on the plane’s size. At prices that high, the cost of such trips probably outweigh any value a company would derive from them. Given those economics, lots business people would choose to use the phone or Skype to make contact with their clients. And they would overnight that nice gift for under $50 bucks. Having the CEO personally deliver a gift to a top client is probably worth a lot in terms of customer good will, but is it worth $9,950 (the theoretical difference between a charter jet flight and a UPS bill)? Most business people I know would say "no."

Okay, that’s MY story of how Linear Air made my business, my travel and my life better. But I’m sure my story can help you see how Linear Air can make your business, your travel and your life better, too.

See you onboard.

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