Since its beginnings in 2007 as a regional air taxi in Georgia, ImagineAir has grown to offer service to some 900 airports along the entire east coast. President and CEO Ben Hamilton says that the company plans further growth in 2016 with the introduction of services in Southern California.
Hamilton and his partner Aaron Sohaki founded ImagineAir after they realized that there was a demand for door-to-door transportation, and that they could meet this need using the Cirrus SR-22. According to Hamilton, “With our on-demand business model, we’re able to provide safe, affordable, and reliable service throughout the Eastern United States”.
The Cirrus SR-22 is the world’s bestselling single-engine piston aircraft, and has impressed fliers since its introduction to the market in 2001 with its combination of high performance, comfort, efficiency, and safety. ImagineAir likens it to sitting in a Mercedes or Lexus “but cruising at 200 mph”. The 4-seater may be small but it is not lacking in comfort or safety. In addition to a leather interior with ergonomic seating, XM radio, and Bose noise-cancelling headsets, the aircraft is equipped with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. This unique whole aircraft parachute can bring the plane safely to the ground in the event of an emergency.
The Cirrus also provides ImagineAir customers with access to far more destinations than does a regular airline. Because of the plane’s size, the company can use major hubs and small, regional airfields alike, and the access to smaller airfields can mean less travel time at either end of the journey. The SR22 has a range of a little over 1,000 miles, and most ImageineAir flights are between 1 to 2 hours in duration. The company now does roughly 5,000 flights per year.
ImagineAir offers a number of additional benefits to customers, including direct pricing, car service to and from the airport, easy booking systems, and immediate boarding. Hamilton stresses that customers should be able to “book flights according to their schedule, not the airlines”.
Several pricing and membership programs are available. Customers can book a specific flight directly, choosing the dates and times that work for them, and paying the fee for that one trip. We used the pricing engine on their site to come up with some sample round trip fares:
- Lexington, KY (LEX) to Dalton, GA (DNN) $1,884
- Bedford, MA (BED) to Teterboro, NJ (TEB) $1,695
- Lawrenceville, GA (LZU) to Jacksonville, FL (CRG) $1,937
Fees vary according to day and time. Fees are for the entire aircraft, meaning space for up to three passengers, with all taxes and fees included.
Customers can also join the ImagineAir Membership Program. Available at several different levels, the program offers a FlightCard for a one-off fee, which then provides an additional discount on all flights. A Silver Membership currently costs $12,500 and offers a 7% discount on flights. Gold Membership costs $25,000 with a 15% discount on each flight. Members also receive priority on days that are particularly busy or wait-listed. An additional option is the Platinum Membership, offering actual investment and ownership of an aircraft. Platinum Membership provides more than $200,000 of flight credit and all the tax benefits that come with ownership.
If you can fly at short notice, there's a standby program with prices starting at $49 for a one way flight. That's certainly a great deal.
Editors Note: ImagineAir suspended operations in May 2018.