After 18 months of planning, new airline Surf Air finally took off on Wednesday from Burbank's Bob Hope Airport, beginning flights to San Carlos Airport on the San Francisco Peninsula.
But no one bought tickets for the flights. That's not how Surf Air works.
Instead, fliers bought subscriptions. For a $500 initiation fee and around $1,650 a month, passengers can now fly all they want on the airline's fleet of Pilatus PC-12 single engine turboprops, each of which is outfitted with six leather seats. The flights are meant to attract business passengers, especially those who work in the technology industry.
For now, though, that "unlimited" model is curbed only by the fact that the airline has relatively few options. It's launching with just four flights in both directions between Burbank and San Carlos, which is also near Silicon Valley. In July, Surf Air will begin serving Santa Barbara with two daily flights from both San Carlos and Burbank. More destinations are expected later.
Airline chief executive Wade Eyerly said Surf Air has 150 members, with more than 4,000 people on a waiting list. It will be difficult to add more members until the airline grows, Eyerly said.
"If you are an all-you-can-eat buffet and you run out of food, that's not good," he said. "We are trying to control the number of people that get in."