On the ground, taxi companies across the country have become increasingly annoyed with the rise of companies like Lyft and Uber that allow "regular" drivers to pick up travelers at a moment's notice as an alternative to cabs. The Federal Aviation Administration has, however, stated that such a service will not apply to air travel, which just gives passengers more of a reason to charter a plane for a special occasion.
The organization released a ruling specifically targeting one startup company called AirPooler that attempts to apply the same approach as ride-sharing taxis to planes. However, the FAA points out that AirPooler's business model doesn't make sense, as it depends on how the pilots used for such a service are compensated. If they are, which was AirPooler's proposal, then they would be in violation of the law.
In response to this statement, the CEO of the company, Steve Lewis, told TechCrunch that he's disappointed in the decision and what it means for travel options and costs.
"While the FAA's decision is confusing, it's also stalling the opportunity for private enterprise and government to work together to foster innovation in the sharing economy," he said. "Pilots, who have always loved to ride-share but found it difficult to arrange, were looking forward to taking advantage of modern sharing technology to offer seats as a way of defraying costs."
This legal fight has the potential to continue if AirPooler appeals the decision. In the meantime, travelers need a private option that will stay within the law while still providing all of the customization of private service. Doing the research necessary to charter an airplane is an easy alternative.