Spending four-and-a-half years working with an intelligence agency and another six months serving in Iraq, Wade Eyerly knows all about risk. When this innate entrepreneurial spirit united with younger brother David Eyerly’s experience as a licensed pilot, the two made for a perfect landing to start their own business, which has taken off swiftly since its maiden flight in June 2013.
Founded in January 2012, the California airline Surf Air serves the San Francisco Bay area, Santa Barbara, Burbank and most recently Hawthorne to its routes. Its daily schedule consists of 18 flights; local flights originate from private terminals in Burbank and Hawthorne. Its three Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 executive aircrafts, lined with plush leather seat interior and much space to work or relax, accommodate two pilots and seven passengers. These single-engine turboprop aircraft, which utilize a lot less runway distance, first made their mark as rescue planes for the Swiss
military—qualifying it as more than reliable for Surf Air’s current 375 members and 31 pilots.
Wade’s experience traveling as many as 27 days a month at his former job made him realize he could do things more efficiently.
“I developed an acute understanding of the pain point that frequent flyers have,” 34-year-old Wade says. “Like any entrepreneur or innovator, it starts with a pain point and you think, ‘Gosh I’m going to fix that.’”
Simplicity is Surf Air’s solution. Members can book and cancel flights under 30 seconds and don’t have to stand in the long security or check-in lines. The “All-You-Can-Fly” promise lets travelers fly as often as they wish, “boxing out” four seats at a time – four one-ways or two roundtrips.
And for those who have a trip in mind to book, membership is a swift and easy proposition that can be done online. As Surf Air grows, so does its member list.
“People, I think, are naturally risk averse and scared of doing something so different, starting something that seems so daunting or so difficult,” Wade says. “But if you’re happy at work then its always the right idea.”