October 8, 2013
Tech companies who receive funding from Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project all commit to giving back to the community in some way. For Surf Air, their contribution is luxury air service from Los Angeles to Las Vegas – opening up a first-class pipeline between the two cities.
“Airlines are historically a great facilitator of economic impact,” says cofounder Wade Eyerly.
Surf Air is waiting on approval from the Department of Transportation, so he can’t legally say when the route will be available. “Sooner rather than later,” he claims.
Surf Air is already flying 16 flights a day within California, covering San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. It’s an all-you-can-fly, luxury airline: for $1,650 per month, travelers get up to four reservations at a time. Surf Air flies out of private airports, luggage and snacks are free, and you don’t have to get there two hours early.
Last December, the Downtown Project’s VegasTechFund participated in Surf Air’s Series B round. Eyerly had visited Vegas in 2012, and it became clear they were a fit.
Like Hsieh’s Zappos, Surf Air believes in outstanding service, which starts when you book a ticket and continues with cushy planes and friendly pilots. And like the Downtown Project, Surf Air puts an emphasis on culture. At the beginning of every meeting, the team reviews their four key values: safety, simplicity, community, and “first class” (which has the lovely additional meaning of “being first-class people”). Decisions are judged on these four parameters.
Surf Air has added about 60 employees this year, sold out its flights, and is looking to buy new aircraft to satisfy all the demand. In the meantime, Eyerly continues to take trips to downtown Vegas and looks forward to flying there via Surf Air.
“There’s just this palpable sense of we’re doing something together and what’s being done is bigger than me,” he says.
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