You can book a seat on a plane, not a car, with flight-sharing startup Blackbird.
The California-based company's newest service, Hitch, could be the UberPool for planes, since it pairs passengers on the Blackbird app with pilots that are headed to the same destination for as little as $50 a seat.
I gave a Blackbird flight a whirl to experience what could be a travel option of the future.
Imagine logging onto an app and hailing, not a car, but a plane to take you where you need to go.
That's what flight-sharing startup Blackbird lets you do. Its goal? To fill the void in a travel market that leaves passengers limited when it comes to short regional flights.
Its newly-launched service, Hitch, could be the UberPool for planes.
The same way that Uber and Lyft offer lower-cost fares that match you with riders going your same direction, Blackbird matches passengers on the Blackbird app with pilots that are already flying toward their desired destination.
No long airport lines or crowded terminals included — just show up 15 minutes beforehand and walk across the tarmac onto the plane.
Pilots then file operating costs (fuel, oil, rental, and airport fees) and split them with the passengers that they shuttled.
Blackbird pilots fly out of a number of smaller airports on the West Coast. In California, that includes airports in Palo Alto and Burbank. I flew out of San Carlos, California, a small airport about ten miles south of San Francisco International Airport...
...which is where I met the private plane — a single-engine Pilatus PC-12 — that would take me and my fellow passengers to Monterey. Due to its larger size, you could book this particular plane using Blackbird's Reserve and Charter services, which are comparable to Uber's more luxe services, like Uber XL.
Blackbird's Reserve service has been around the longest, offering seats priced around $300 on scheduled flights, from Oakland to Burbank, California, for example. Charter allows you to rent out an entire plane for your party and book a trip entirely on your watch.
The prices are right up front on Reserve flights as well since these routes are on a fixed schedule.