World’s first all-you-can-fly subscription airline lands in the UK


An airline that offers business travellers unlimited flights for a monthly subscription fee will launch European routes in May, it announced today.

Surf Air launched in the US in 2013 and has since grown to more than 3,000 subscribers, who get unlimited flights for $1,950 per month plus a $1,000 signup fee.

Surf Air Europe, a sister company to Surf Air, will be headquartered in London, where it will offer flights to Zurich and Ibiza before adding routes to Cannes, Munich and Milan.

The monthly fee for the service in Europe will be £1,750. Surf Air, which plans to serve longer-distance routes later this year, has ordered 45 Pilatus eight-set jets for the European launch.

>See also: The airline industry has been ripe for disruption for decades, with customers demanding greater autonomy and control over their experiences

As well as offering business flyers a more cost-effective travel option, Surf Air claims to cut waiting times by using private terminals and much smaller planes.

Simon Talling-Smith, CEO at Surf Air Europe, believes his company can better what Surf Air has done in the US, where it has grown from one route and three aircrafts to a fleet of 12 aircrafts flying to 12 destinations.

“We are bringing Surf Air to the European market as a result of three successful years in the US built on our member-first strategy to disrupt the airline industry,” said Talling-Smith. “The airline industry has been ripe for disruption for decades, with customers demanding greater autonomy and control over their experiences.

“There are 180 million worldwide frequent flyers, and as customer preferences shift, every one of them is up for grabs. By embracing the subscription economy, Surf Air is well positioned to continue its rapid global growth as it expands around the world.”

Subscription economy

From entertainment via Netflix and Spotify to food from Graze and Deliveroo, the subscription economy has gained enormous traction. Uber and Deliveroo recently introduced subscription models to boost user numbers.

The airline industry has so far remained unaffected by the subscription economy, but Surf Air hopes its private jet service will change that.

However, it’s not just the subscriptions model in itself that has driven the growth of companies like Netflix and Spotify. At the heart of their services is a seamless user experience that trumps traditional ways of buying movies and music.

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In its attempts to offer a customer experience superior to legacy air carriers, Surf Air uses a subscription relationship management platform from software firm Zuora.

The platform allows Surf Air to experiment with pricing, tailor offers based on member insights, ease the complexity of electronic payments, and automate high volumes of transactions.

“Zuora is essential to the success of our subscriber-centric model as the agility we gain from their subscription management solution is critical to scaling our international operation effectively,” said Talling-Smith.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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