Ride-Sharing Site Flytenow Will Take FAA To Court

Startup wants D.C. judge to review FAA decision.




In the wake of an FAA ruling prohibiting the exchange of money through airplane ride-sharing websites, startup Flytenow has tweaked its business model to make all online flight arrangements free. In the meantime, the company plans to challenge the FAA's interpretation of the regulations in a Washington, D.C., district court.

The FAA issued letters to Flytenow and another ride-sharing site, AirPooler, telling both that their businesses run afoul of federal rules restricting commercial flight operations. The companies argue their services should be considered perfectly legal under FAA rules that allow private pilots and passengers to share flight-related costs.

There is nothing to prevent a pilot and passenger who meet through Flytenow to later decide to split the costs of a flight, but removing financial transactions from the web makes it harder for such sites to bring in revenue.

Flytenow's founders are hopeful that the court will review the FAA's ruling and overturn the decision based on the language now written into the FARs, which permits pro rata sharing of flight costs such as fuel, oil, tie down fees and aircraft rental charges.

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