The Ride-Share Economy Isn't Expanding To The Skies Anytime Soon

No Uber for planes. Not yet anyway.

Uber is just six years old, but already it's an incredible success, having grown into a global force in ride-sharing worth somewhere around $50 billion. What's even crazier than the numbers surrounding it is its goals for the future, which if all goes according to plan should see the company expand from on-demand car rides to on-demand just about everything. For now, though, that future doesn't look like it'll include planes, because a Washington, D.C. court has ruled that pilots need commercial licenses to transport passengers in such a service.

The Federal Aviation Administration officially declared that services such as Airpooler and Flytenow were illegal last year, but the latter tried to argue for some time that it was merely fostering a community for amateur pilots to find riders who would be willing to split the gas fees on a given trip. Now the hammer has come down again, with the court saying that for this type of travel to occur, the pilot must have a commercial license, or, in other words, the "experience and credentials" necessary to fly passengers. Of course, if you're on either side of this transaction, you can still do it by word of mouth, just not via an Uber-like app.

As much of an extremely insignificant bummer the ruling may be, it makes sense — flying a plane is a little more complicated that driving a car, and as such it goes without saying that shuttling about random people in the air would be much dangerous than doing so on land. That means the ridiculous sing-a-longs and free ride promotions of Uber and Lyft fame are unlikely to extend to the skies anytime soon. Uber's probably fine with it, because they have enough money to extend their tentacles into much more lucrative opportunities. If you were holding out hope for an alternative to the security line at airports, sorry. Time to find a friend that flies.

Cover image: Wikimedia

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