Lonely Planet Writer

Fancy flying somewhere in a private plane for just a share of the costs? This app can arrange it

If you’re looking for a cheap flight and enjoy the idea of flying in a private plane, an app called Wingly might be right up your street. It’s a flight-sharing platform that allows passengers to obtain cheap flights by pairing them with pilots who are offering seats on their own planes. It currently offers thousands of flights throughout Europe, and is also opening up routes in the Caribbean.

The Wingly app lets passengers fly in a private plane for just a share of the costs. Image: Graham Oliver
The Wingly app lets passengers fly in a private plane for just a share of the costs. Image: Graham Oliver

How it works is that pilots post their planned route, amount of seats available and cost-sharing price on the app. Passengers book if interested and depart from a private airfield on the day. Potential passengers can also request trips that are not currently listed, and if a pilot sees a proposed route that works for them, they can get in contact and arrange it. Wingly also offers sightseeing flights that allow passengers to enjoy a beautiful landscape from the sky, or excursion flights for a day trip or weekend away.

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While some pilots using the app already fly commercial aircraft, others are hobby pilots who enjoy sharing their passion for flying, with most flying two to six-seater propeller planes. Private pilots are allowed to carry up to six cost-sharing passengers in a light aircraft providing no profit is made. While the flight costs are shared by the passengers, the Civil Aviation Authority insists that the pilots also make a contribution. When it comes to flight safety, Wingly provides pilots with checklists and best safety practice tutorials, but advises passengers that safety rules for cost-shared flights are not as strict as they are for commercial flights.

While the advantages for passengers using the service include cheaper flights and spectacular views, there are many advantages to this scheme for pilots. They usually need to fly for a minimum number of hours each year to keep their licences, so it gives them an opportunity to put in the hours and carry people willing to share their costs. Many enjoy getting the opportunity to fly to new destinations, while others simply enjoy sharing their enthusiasm for flying.

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Pilots have to have their licences verified before being allowed to join the app, and passengers are required to provide their passport information to ensure that they are eligible to fly to the destinations. Both pilots and passengers have the option to review each other and the experience once the flight is over. Pets are permitted as long as the pilot you’re flying with allows them, and flights can be cancelled or rescheduled in poor weather conditions.

For further information, see Wingly’s website.