We like to keep an eye on brands that use technology to change the rules and this one really inspired us. Sharing apps seem a little jaded now with Uber and Deliveroo being loaded with negatives. This app, by contrast, cleverly embraces technology to bring back the romance of flying … and at an accessible price.
French start up firm Wingly is using a sharing app that challenges the way we fly. If you think about it, the airline industry has changed dramatically over the years. Low cost carriers made flying attainable for many and were welcomed as a real turning point for fliers. Yet the upturn in passenger numbers has created a poor airport experience, not to mention an often equally woeful flying experience. Packed terminals, cramped seats, poor or no on-board catering. And worst of all many main carriers are feeling forced to follow suit. As a frequent traveller for our international work this is a subject close to my heart!
Matchmaking pilots and passengers
Wingly seems set to change that. Operational in the UK, France and Germany, this company has turned the low-cost paradigm on its head via the use of a flight sharing app. The app connects passengers with pilots to enable the former to take off on a private aircraft. You can either join the platform as a pilot or join as a passenger, creating a mutually beneficial arrangement. In fact, the Wingly owners regard themselves as a ‘matchmaking’ platform!
Clients contact the pilot directly, meaning flights can be booked at the last minute – providing a plane is available and technical checks are all clear. It offers the opportunity for travellers to choose select destinations that are off the beaten track and to completely personalise their own itinerary. Some passengers fly to France for lunch for a special celebration or just take a day trip to a less well-known airport on a journey of discovery. We think this brings the old school glamour of flying to small airfields at the drop of a hat.
No fees for pilots
This may be likened to Uber, but the platform goes way beyond that in our view. It is not about commoditising transport but bringing back exclusive travel to many passengers who would otherwise be unable to charter a private jet. It encapsulates style at an affordable price whilst fitting nicely in the experience economy which is so in vogue. At its heart sits the passion for flying. Pilots fly for no fee as they share the cost and their interest in flying. Yet if conditions are not right they are at liberty to postpone the flight – no set timetables but just a general respect for the vagaries of Mother Nature, just like flying used to be like.
We question if it may also challenge the aviation legislation at some point in the future. Flight sharing is permissible within the EU but currently banned in the States. We wonder if this may change if the proposition becomes embedded as part of standard flying culture. Watch this space.