Supreme Court Declines to Hear Flytenow’s Case Against the FAA

Flight-sharing website vows to pursue its cause through legislation.

Flytenow FAA
Flight ridesharing website Flytenow says it will continue to pursue its cause through legislation.Flytenow

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear flight-sharing website Flytenow’s case against the FAA.

It's the latest development in a lengthy legal battle between the Uber-like service and the federal agency whose regulations prohibit private pilots advertising to the general public for shared flights in exchange for flight expenses, such as fuel and fees. The website was shut down in 2015, when a Washington, D.C., appeals court ruled Flytenow does in fact violate those regulations.

Flytenow, for its part, contends that its service is private — users have to sign up online — and really no different from pilots finding passengers with a common destination through word-of-mouth or bulletin boards, a longstanding practice.

Flytenow says it will continue to address the FAA's rule through legislation. The company has been working with U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford to draft legislation authorizing online flight ridesharing. Language allowing private pilots to communicate with the public "in any manner the person determines appropriate" to share flight operating expenses was offered in an amendment to last year's failed FAA reauthorization bill. Flytenow expects it to be introduced into this year's bill as well.

“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision this morning and we will be continuing our efforts in Congress to overturn the FAA’s ban on online flight sharing,” Flytenow co-founder Matt Voska said in a prepared statement.