Flight-sharing service takes off in Austin

Private flight sharing takes off in Austin

AUSTIN -- Ride-sharing is a concept that is already becoming popular with services such as Uber and Lyft. Now, it's a concept that's taking off in Austin -- on private planes.

Dallas-based company, Rise, offers private flight sharing between Dallas, Houston, Midland and Austin. 

To most, flying by private plane is a luxury, but some Texas travelers say it's worth it. 

"I'm saving at least a couple hours a day," said Frank Renfro. 

Renfro lives in Dallas and works in the oil and gas industry. He travels every week for work. 

"I'll probably go to Houston tomorrow and maybe next week as well," he said. "When this option came about it was much easier, more efficient and the break-even point was about once a week for flying."

Passengers pay a one-time monthly fee as low as $1,650 per month and fly unlimited.

"So you fly four times a month, you know, it's basically $400 to $500 bucks round trip -- that's a last minute ticket on commercial airlines," said  Rise CEO Nicholas Kennedy. 

Kennedy started the company for business travelers who also want to spend time at home.

"You can have breakfast with your family in the morning, you can jump on Rise and fly down to Austin for lunch, be back in time for soccer practice or happy hour -- whatever you'd like to do," he said. 

Two licensed and professionally trained pilots are in control of the private flights and a thorough background check is done on each member.

"Safety is first priority for us always," Kennedy said. 

For business professionals it's also a chance to network. Kennedy said the service connects the cities and the industries. 

"You've got this tech scene here in Austin, you've got a lot of private equity up in Dallas, you've got energy in Houston. All of which need each other," he said. 

The company just announced it will be expanding to Europe with flights from London to Dublin, Paris and Brussels. They plan to take off in early 2016.


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