Pilots familiar with OpenAirplane, the service that created a universal rental-pilot system, will see FlyOtto, a new Web-based charter booking service, as a no-brainer. But FlyOtto creators Rod Rakic and Adam Fast wanted to focus FlyOtto on people who don’t know the first thing about chartering an airplane. Rakic told Flying, “People using FlyOtto may not even realize they have a GA airport nearby as an alternative departure point.” FlyOtto wants to make chartering as simple and information-driven as ordering an Uber car, Rakic said.
FlyOtto demands no customer sign-up or registration fees, only the need to create a customer profile. Customers visit the FlyOtto website, type in a departure and arrival city, as well as a potential departure time, and the system goes immediately to work. FlyOtto promises customers a yes or no answer within a maximum of 120 minutes, although Rakic said confirmation times have been working out to be much shorter.
Flying tested FlyOtto departing Chicago Executive airport (PWK) for Madison, Wisconsin. In a few seconds, FlyOtto offered a handful of possibilities to carry as many as three people. The first quote, using a Piper Arrow, cost $842 on a trip expected to take about an hour. Another operator offered a Cessna 310 for $1,467 but added the flexibility to carry five people, turning the fare into just under $300 per person. Top-end pricing for FlyOtto on the simulated trip used either a Pilatus PC-12 or a King Air 350 to carry as many as nine people. The high-end fare structure costs ran between $9,000 and $14,000 and of course delivered people in half the time of the least expensive aircraft.
FlyOtto offers charter operators a change from the traditional quoting system that sends the same email charter request to a dozen companies at the same time. FlyOtto quotes for a particular airplane are offered exclusively to a single operator that has 60 minutes maximum to respond. After 60 minutes, FlyOtto searches for additional options.
Like the Uber ride-sharing system, Rakic says, “We never leave a customer hanging for information on their requested flight.” FlyOtto hopes the exclusivity feature and the simple booking system will encourage other Part 135 operators to sign up, especially since there’s no cost for a charter company to register as a FlyOtto operator.