A new tech startup is promising to introduce a flying taxi service that will get you from New York City to Boston in just 36 minutes.
The company is called Transcend Air, and they’re looking to revolutionize the way we get from city to city in North America.
Most short-haul flights in the United States take only minutes of airtime, but it can take way longer when it comes to the whole process of checking into your flight, going through security checkpoints, waiting to board, and taxiing to the runway. If you add in the time it takes to actually drive to and from the airport, a simple trip from Boston to New York can easily take more than 3 hours even though the flight itself barely took 40 minutes.
And let’s not even consider the horrors that await you during rush hour in either city. That 3-hour travel time can easily balloon up to 5 hours at the worst time of day.
Transcend Air is using technology to find efficiency in getting from point A to point B. Rather than going through a crowded airport with incredibly slow service, they want to have a flying taxi that skips the traffic and security checkpoints and just soars through the air until you reach your destination.
The plane itself is less revolutionary and more evolutionary. It’s a small, 6-seater, tilt-wing propeller plane that takes off and lands without the benefit of a runway. The technology was pioneered in the 1960s with the Canadair CL-84 but then shelved after two of the prototypes crashed due to mechanical failure.
Flash forward half a century later, and Transcend thinks they’ve perfected the technology and are willing to make an economic go of it.
The advantages to Transcend’s business model is clear: vastly less time spent waiting around, and a quick, easy flight to wherever you need to go. And owing to the vertical takeoff and landing properties of their prototype aircraft, you can technically land and take-off wherever you want.
There are a few downsides, however. The plane is small, so there’s no bathroom (not that you’d need it on a 36-minute flight). Also, the pricing is at a premium for high-volume routes. So far, Transcend has NYC to Boston priced at $283, while San Francisco to LA is estimated to be $315. However, they do have several lower-volume city flights priced under $100.
We’ll have to wait for Transcend to get closer to operational status before we know more. Right now they’re planning to open in 2024, but only if their aircraft receive FAA certification. We’ll have to endure the wait at the airport until then.