Surf Air, the Southern California-based airline that offers unlimited flights for a monthly fee, has resumed flying in and out of San Carlos Airport on the Peninsula.
According to the company, a limited number of flights returned to San Carlos Oct. 22. As we reported in September, Surf Air suddenly stopped flying to the airport and transitioned many flights across the Bay to Oakland International Airport.
Surf Air continues to operate flights in and out of OAK as well, but as a company spokesperson told SFGate then, the intention was to always return to San Carlos, which is a much more convenient for the vast majority of the company’s Silicon Valley members.
The hiatus happened when Surf Air switched air charter operators over the summer, and the new company lacked enough eight-seat Pilatus PC-12 single-engine propellor planes to serve the Peninsula airport.
Out of San Carlos, Surf Air is currently offering flights to Santa Barbara, Hawthorne (not far from Los Angeles International Airport), and Truckee. FlightAware shows there were only three Surf Air arrivals into San Carlos on Tuesday, two flights from Santa Barbara and one flight from Hawthorne.
This week, the company also launched a new membership tier called Surf Air Express that executives believe is perfect for fliers who “desire a membership that is designed for the less frequent ‘per flight’ consumer.”
“It offers the ability to purchase flat-rate flights on an a la carte basis,” explained Surf Air Marketing Director Hudson Andrews. “It eliminates the need for a monthly subscription for fliers that don’t travel as frequently as our primary business commuter.”
The new tier officially launched October 23 through a Indiegogo fundraising campaign that’s offering some deeply discounted membership rates and pricing for flights.
With Surf Air Express, customers pay a $2,500 flat-rate annual membership fee. Then they can purchase one-way fares for $445.
Surf Air said the rates are comparable to “prices similar to business class and last-minute economy” on commercial airlines.
The company said Express members will have limited access to some of the most popular flights to preserve access to members who have subscribed to pricier tiers.
“All Surf Air routes are available on the Surf Air Express Route Network,” Andrews said. “However, not all flight times are available. We’ve reserved our peak flying to only be available to our All You Can Fly members.”
Surf Air’s standard membership offering involves a flat monthly fee of either $1,950, $2,450 or $2,950 depending on usage. Membership includes access to unlimited flights on Surf Air’s intra-California network.
The company began operating at San Carlos in 2013 with a fleet of eight-passenger Pilatus PC-12 single-engine propellor planes, each outfitted with leather seats and high-end interiors.
Surf Air is more of a marketing company and does not operate any airplanes — it partners with Hawthorne, Calif.-based charter airline Advanced Air to do the flying on the West Coast.
This summer, Surf Air cut ties with its former operator, Encompass Aviation LLC, triggering a bitter legal fight that is still not yet resolved. Surf Air is also in the process of paying down government tax liens of $2.4 million.
Have you flown Surf Air? Would you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
Chris McGinnis is the founder of TravelSkills.com.