Looks like Southern Californians could have the chance to avoid that well-known Los Angeles traffic, if they're willing to pay the price.
FLOAT, which stands for Fly Over All Traffic, is an air taxi service that has agreements to operate their aircraft at 40 small airports throughout Southern California. KTLA got a close-up look at what the services are like and how fast it is to fly over rush hour traffic.
KTLA's Christina Pascucci took a ride from La Verne's Brackett Airfield with wheels up at 10:20 a.m., arriving in Santa Monica just 20 minutes later. FLOAT claims they can take your hour and a half commute down to 15 minutes.
Rob McKinney, president and co-founder of FLOAT, believes this will not only save people time, but it will save the environment as well.
“It stands for Fly Over All Traffic and I was instantly drawn to it,” McKinney said. “Every plane we put in the air for 15 minutes, we’re taking nine cars off the road that are sitting in traffic for hours, pumping green house gases.” According to FLOAT, the fleet reduce each passengers carbon footprint by 4.4 tons each year.
Tom Hsieh, co-founder and chairman of FLOAT, recalled the “ah-ha” moment he had about making air commuting services available to the average person.
“Arnel (FLOAT's CEO) and I were having lunch. Arnel mentioned that he needed to get to this meeting in Santa Monica later that day and just bemoaning the drive,” Hsieh said.
Arnel Guiang, CEO and co-founder of FLOAT, chimed in to say the amount of time spent in traffic was long and the frustration is felt in most Southern Californians.
“How I was commuting from here to El Segundo every single day and there was two hours of traffic or more each way,” Guiang said. That’s when Hsieh said he thought of flying to work instead of dealing with the grueling drive.
“‘Hey you know what, I’ve always had this dream, this idea, about flying people to work in a plane.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, how come no one’s done that yet,’” Hsieh asked Arnel. That’s when both Hsieh and Guiang reached out to McKinney with their idea to bring this service to commuters.
A base membership will cost $1,250 per month for flights five days a week, he said. That means each leg of the commute will cost about $30.
FLOAT will begin operations next month and they are offering free demo flights this weekend. For more information, visit floatshuttle.com.