FlightCar considering Seattle expansion: Rent your car from airport parking lots

flightcar12Leaving your car in an airport parking lot can be a costly expenditure, but one startup founded by a couple 17-year-olds wants to change that.

FlightCar, based in the Bay Area and backed by people like Ashton Kutcher, Alexis Ohanian and Ryan Seacrest, is a peer-to-peer car sharing company that operates at airports.

The premise is somewhat similar to that of companies like Lyft, UberX and Sidecar, but with a focus on travelers. The startup pays you to leave your car at the airport and allows other travelers to zip around town in your vehicle while you’re away.

FlightCar, which has operations in Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco, today announced a new monthly program at LAX called FlightCar Monthly. With the service, already available at SFO and BOS, long-term travelers can make up to $300 per month and have free parking when they offer up their unused car to pre-screened travelers for at least 30 days.

flightcar12FlightCar already has 15,000 members since Kevin Petrovic and Rujul Zaparde started the company in 2012 when they were only 17. The co-founders, who have raised $6 million, have run into a few regulatory problems dealing with insurance coverage and avoiding airport fees that traditional rental companies like Avis and Hertz are required to pay.

FlightCar offers its renters free insurance, which includes liability and comprehensive collision coverage.

The company tell us that it wants to set up shop in Seattle by the end of this year. However, FlightCar is waiting to see how the city handles similar peer-to-peer transportation services like Lyft, UberX and Sidecar. Seattle City Council is set to enforce a cap on the number of vehicles that those companies can have on the road at a March 17 meeting.

“We hope Seattle helps lead the way in helping startups have the freedom to market new innovative sharing economy service models in the Pacific Northwest and even provides incentives for entrepreneurs to grow large companies that significantly benefit the local economy,” said Zaparde, the company’s CEO.

  • DividendsMakeMeRich

    So, I put up the capital of $20,000 for my own car, and pay my own insurance, and pay my own airfare, and then let a couple of 17 year-olds and Ashton Kutcher make $$$ millions from venture capitalists for earning me $15.00 for letting some total stranger drive my car while they’re visiting a strange city? Brilliant!!!

    • Slaggggg

      I know … who knows what happens in your car while you are away — drug use, sex, whatever. I imagine a reputation system will help … but really the idea of giving my car to strangers sounds crazy.

      • Like VRBO?

        What’s the difference between renting out my second home that I paid a
        lot of money for knowing that people will use everything from my bed, towels, and dishes to my hot tub, etc. It made me a little uncomfortable at first, but I got over once I got the first check. Sounds like this is basically VRBO, but for renting out an unused car at the airport while traveling? Also, drivers are pre-approved, insurance is free. Sounds good to me. Time to get up to speed with what’s happening in the sharing economy (surely you have seen the growth of Airbnb)?

        • Marty Block

          Car accidents are very common. Driving is still a very risky endeavor.

          Houses are rarely totaled on accident.

          Even if you assume most people are good at heart, it’s much riskier to give them your car than it is a place to stay.

        • Slaggggg

          That is a great point. Definitely something to think about.
          An issue I still can’t get over is traffic stops … maybe I’ve seen too much C.O.P.S. but it makes you worry about getting pulled over and having to explain “not sure what’s in my car, I rent it to strangers”.

  • Slaggggg

    The first rule of Flight Car is you don’t talk about Flight Car.

  • Viet Nguyen

    Love it. The more innovation we get in the transportation space, the better.

  • Marco

    Try Uber, an awesome on demand car service!

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    • Boner

      The problem with all of this are the paid trolls like Marco here who have an agenda to influence people who don’t. This is an opinion forum, not an ad page.

  • Ben Reeder

    This is brilliant. My Friends at http://www.winnerairportparking.net/ are forward thinker like this…