photography & article by David Christopher Lee
A typical airport experience is not the same as it used to be. Going through security has become such a hassle which everyone dreads. Surf Air has an incredible west coast private air travel membership. Founded in 2013, the growing membership club offers all-you-can-fly-service that goes to Burbank, Carlsbad, Hawthorne (near LAX), Las Vegas, Monterey, Napa, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Carlos (near San Francisco), San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Truckee (Lake Tahoe).
With a current fleet of 12 private planes, it has nearly 3000 members and 80 – 90 daily scheduled flights (around 50 on the weekends). Our favorite part about the service is that there is no security checkpoint to board your flight, since all travelers go through a background check beforehand. We arrived to the Hawthorne Airport which is a few miles from LAX. With complimentary valet service, we parked our car with ease and entered the Surf Air lounge. We checked in with the concierge, gave her our luggage and waited for our flight to board. It was so simple.
You are allowed to bring 30 pounds of luggage with you. Surf Air has a luggage delivery service that they work with that will deliver your baggage to your final destination if you want to bring more than 30 pounds. At your final destination the concierge will hand you keys to any pre-arranged car rentals or assist with any ground transportation needs.
The lounge is comfortable, quiet and spacious. We enjoyed snacks in the lounge: coffee, tea, protein bars, Pellegrino, sodas, or other refreshments are available to members. We arrived to the airport and there were only 2 people waiting for the flight. Our plane was scheduled to take off at 11:30 am. We arrived a half hour before takeoff to get the full experience and it is recommended that you arrive just 15 minutes before your flight time to board your plane.
The planes seat eight people comfortably. The seats are plush with soft leather and a headrest. If you want more room, you can rotate your seat so that you can extend your legs into the aisle.
The Surf Air planes fly 20,000 to 25,000 feet in the air which is lower than a typical commercial flight. As a result, you will see stunning views of the pristine California coastline. We recommend taking a flight during the daytime so that you can enjoy these spectacular views during takeoff.
The booking process is simple and you can get on a flight the same day. Surf air west coast private air travel memberships starts at $1950 and $4000 for a shared plan. There is no fee or penalty to change your flights as much as you like. If you need to cancel a flight within 24 hours of a full flight a penalty is placed on the use of one of your reservation passes for 2 weeks.
Beyond a one-time initiation fee of $1,000 per member, there are no other costs. There are no baggage fees, booking fees, cancellations fees, taxes or surcharges.
For more information, visit Surf Air.