view transcript

If you thought flying private was for billionaires, Blackbird says it doesn't have to be that way.

It's an app that lets anyone book private flights through charters, scheduled routes and now, an option that lets you hitch a ride on a plane already headed where you want to go.

It's for short trips that one that I took between the Bay Area and Monterey - about 100 miles.

And CEO Rudd Davis says that with traffic getting worse, the app can help take the pain out of travel, at a relatively low cost.

the Hitch option matches you with a private pilot like ours, Ian, who has extra seats on their personal plane, or one that they share.

How does it work? Passengers split the trip cost with the pilot - including fuel costs and airport fees. And Blackbird says that model can mean private flights as little as $50, if you split with friends. Or, a bit more if you fly by yourself.

Similar to Airbnb or Uber, Blackbird says they can leverage unused capacity on private planes -- to build a marketplace that anybody can access, anywhere. There are 250,000 regional airports in the US, and about 2,500 pilots signed up for the hitch option.

So for Blackbird, the challenge is matching supply with demand. Catching a flight is still a lot harder than catching a car...... but if you can, the view sure beats sitting in traffic.

If you thought flying private was only for the 1%, a startup called Blackbird is trying to change that. 

CEO Rudd Davis said that frustration with increasingly horrible traffic in California was part of what led him to build Blackbird, an app that lets anyone hop a privately-owned plane for short distances—between about 50 and 400 miles. 

Blackbird's app includes three options: charter, reserve seats on pre-schedule flights, and an option called Hitch that the company likens to the "carpool of the skies." 

The Hitch option matches passengers with private pilots, who fly either self-owned or shared small planes, who are already headed where passenger want to go, and have seats to spare. 

Passengers simply split the trip expenses—including fuel fees, landing and airport fees—with the pilot, and that can mean flights as low as $50 if you split with friends.

Blackbird says that by leveraging unused capacity on private planes and the 250,000 regional airports across the U.S—plus a network of passionate licensed pilots—they can make private, short flights accessible to anyone. But like any "sharing economy" business, their challenge will be balancing supply with demand. Davis said that Blackbird has more than 100,000 monthly active users so far, and about 2,500 pilots that have signed up for the Hitch option. 

"Our goal is to make flying as cheap and as convenient as driving," he said. 

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel for more videos ' Listen our latest Podcasts on Soundcloud

Want to Buy $1 Worth of Stock for 90 Cents or Less? Click here to register for a free online video in which TheStreet's retirement expert Robert Powell and an all-star panel. The webinar is sponsored by Nuveen.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.