The FAA Says You Can't Share Your Airplane

The sharing economy runs into some trouble taking to the skies.

Ah, the sharing economy. You can share rides to the office. You can share apartments. You can even share boats. What you can't share, though, is your airplane, should you be lucky enough to own one.

TechCrunch reports that, per an FAA ruling released today, the new rules prohibit pilots "from publicly offering seats on their planes in exchange for gas money." This will affect startups like Flytenow (which matches people who want to fly small with pilots) and Airpooler (a company that describes itself as the Lyft of private planes).

The FAA addressed its statement to Airpooler, which requested legal clarification from the agency last month on whether it is running a legitimate business.



Why draw the line at private planes? The FAA says transporting passengers in exchange for fuel qualifies as being compensated for airfare, even if the pilot chooses the destination she wants to fly to. The language seems to suggest that because Airpooler pilots can list flights on the company's website (and wait until there is a demand), it's akin to allowing customers to buy their flight the old fashioned way--commercially.

Read the rest of the FAA's decision at TechCrunch
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[Image: Flickr user Rocking Cars]

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3 Comments

  • The headline is misleading. The FAA did not rule that you can't share your airplane. You can't share your FLIGHT, with strangers.

    Planesharing really should be called flightsharing, just like ridesharing is different than carsharing.

    I'm the co-founder at OpenAirplane. We help aircraft owners to rent their planes to well qualified pilots. That is 100% legal.

    It's important to understand that the FAA ruling doesn't make the existing rules any more restrictive.

    You'll find my post, "Sometimes Regulations Are Written In Blood" here: https://medium.com/@rodrakic/sometimes-regulations-are-written-in-blood-caf33a731dbc

    The argument against planesharing isn't easy to dismiss. Balancing private privileges with public safety is going to be an ongoing debate, but for now, the question is settled under current regulation.

  • This new peer to peer commerce is here to stay. This is just stalling the ability for the government to work together with the private sector. Eventually this market will become to big that the government will have to play nice.

  • David Fillmore

    Love how we can make up laws as we go... Pro Rata share was an acceptable method for allowing some compensation for a person's seat in the plane he was flying on.. has been around for decades. Now that mobile and social media can help those who want to defer costs by ride sharing are inhibited because the FAA is focusing in on 'Illegal' charters. This agency is so backasswards. They need to refocus their attention on real issues within aviation and not trying to crush the small aviator who is playing by the rules; rules that the agency set up in the first place.

    David Falcon 50 Pilot