Airline management is a complex industry and many companies either join or merge with competitors in order to survive. Being an air passenger is not just a walk in the park, and anyone who has ever been to an airport can easily figure out a lot of reasons.
Four-year-old Fort Collins, West, a Colorado-based transportation startup, believes this is the way to create a better experience for both airlines and their passengers. big idea? Separating the check-in process by processing people in much smaller centers closer to their homes before they arrive at the gates.
If all goes according to plan, customers will end up only having to jump, jump, and jump out of the plane they were supposed to board.
Big ideas, of course, often start with smaller ones, and the fixed line, now founded by Stanford graduate David Sande, is basically a bus service that takes people from regional centers to major airports. This comes after Sunde spent almost four years with Surf Air, where he saw some of the challenges facing regional airlines, from their costly operations to a shortage of pilots.
However, landlines are already doing more than stamping tickets for passengers. It already works with American Airlines, United Airlines and Sun Country Airlines, whose passengers unknowingly book with West, which operates as a white label service. As for passengers, they will board an American Airlines bus—if it is the carrier—stuffed with AA programs and meetings, and the ride from the hub to the airport closest to their home will be included in the total cost of their ticket. ,
Meanwhile, thanks to this partnership, landlines can check both passengers and their luggage, so when they arrive at the airport, the final step is to go through airport security.
This last step is certainly not insignificant. The worst part that most travelers experience is the long lines for security checks. But landlines are also working on it. Sunde noted that it would indeed be a “game changer”, adding that Landline would not only be the first ground transportation company in the country to receive the blessing of the Transportation Security Administration, but also hope to receive its approval.
“There is already regulatory approval for regional airlines; It will be the first time for us if this happens and it’s really great,” Sunde said. “I’ve always wanted to respect the TSA and they take their time; We have been working with them for a long time. But I’m optimistic.” We have successfully taken on more complex things.”
Presumably, the startup that will eventually pick up passengers at the nearest gate will get some help from investor Tusk Ventures, an organization that positions itself as an expert at the intersection of technology and politics. (Business founder Bradley Tusk previously worked in politics and was an early adviser to Uber.)
Landline’s other backers include Upfront Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, Wildcat Capital, and Drive Capital, which led the company’s $28 million funding round that ended this week, bringing total funding to $38 million.
In the meantime, the company is doing its best to build infrastructure that will lay a solid foundation for the future. For example, while it has its own ground transportation certificate, it also has insurance requirements and a security team that a regional airline requires.
Now, with his newly accumulated capital, he can pedal all the way. While it operates in nine cities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Colorado, it will expand to them soon.
He will also use part of that $28 million to add to his team of 100 people, about a quarter of whom work in the operation. (Many of the rest are drivers and are considered company employees.) Sunde says the company’s main focus is building its own local software development team, which is currently an end-to-end landline network. .Door work on the product. Testing when passengers do not need to go to the nearest hub, but they can be picked up from home.
It’s not a very attractive thing, but it could be a missed opportunity, especially given the congested state of airports right now, as well as customer dissatisfaction with most airlines.
“The future of the bus business depends a lot on the fact that the airport no longer needs to be next to the runway,” says Sunde. “It could have been in the basement of a building or in a mall. And we can register and distribute the load from those places where it is really difficult to improve the infrastructure.
“I see that one day our future will be 100%,” he says.