If you’re a business traveler who sometimes flies down to the Bay Area, and back to Seattle, in a single day, this is a story for you. South Seattle’s King County Airport is home to a brand new members-only airline called Arrow.
“Personalized corporate jet travel, so it’s like having your own private jet,” explains Arrow’s CEO Russell Belden. “So when you come here it takes you about 30 seconds to board the airplane. You show up five minutes before the flight, hop on drinking your latte. The plane takes off just a couple minutes later. In the plane it’s nice, you have Wi-Fi, it’s a nice group of people. When you land there’s a car waiting for you on the tarmac, a rental car or a town car. It’s just totally different. It’s just the idea of simple, dignified travel without all the hassles.”
Russell says Arrow is designed for weary business travelers who waste a lot of time getting through Sea-Tac Airport.
“A lot of companies, they’ll say, we need you to go down to the Bay Area, catch the 7 a.m. flight. You have to wake up at four in the morning. It’s a real pain. You get there, you’re tired, you’re frustrated, you’re worn out. This way you’ll wake up at 6 o’clock and catch your flight at seven. You’ll be comfortable and productive and treated with dignity the whole time. You’ll find that you’ll be more effective also when you get there.”
The quick service is thanks to no lines, no scanners or x-ray machines.
“We do have to get government issued ID, and that has to be checked against a database. Make sure you’re not a wanted felon or terrorist or something like that.”
The walk from the parking lot to the plane takes as long as the walk from your drive way to your backyard.
“The time to get from parking your car to getting on the plane, it could be three minutes,” says Arrow client, Raazi Imam, CEO of Caiman Consulting. “Russell was kind enough to let me pilot this a few weeks back. I literally drove up here, parked my car and walked up on the runway in three minutes, which is unbelievable.”
Arrow is not flying quite yet, but Raazi joins a list of clients, anxious for service to begin.
“Membership is $500 a month, and that’s for your company, and then you can fly as often as you like,” Russell explains. “Tickets are $499 each way, which means a round trip ticket is around $1,000. But you’ll save around two hours each time you travel and there’s Wi-Fi the entire time, taxi, takeoff landing, so you’ll be more productive too.”
To a non business traveler like myself, who has never stepped foot in first class, it sounds expensive. But, Russell says it’s a third cheaper than a seat on Black Jet, a private jet charter that caters to corporations. And, time is money to a CEO like Raazi.
“Time is very, very valuable. Not just valuable to us but also very valuable to our clients. So if we’re able to spend more time on the client’s site, because we’re more efficient in how we travel and how we manage that time, then it’s a win-win for everybody.”
An airplane lover, who sometimes travels commercially with a small child, Russell says Arrow’s main focus is excellent customer service.
“We’re operating on the radical concept that we’re here to serve you. We’re you’re servants, we’re here to please you. My first job was at Nordstrom so I learned the value of customer service and helping people out. So the service we have, you know, we treat everybody nicely.”
Arrow will fly four flights a day, back and forth from Seattle to Oakland and San Jose. They plan to eventually add a flight to Los Angeles.