Surf Air Expands in Europe — Could It Benefit From Shutdown of Monarch Airlines?

When Surf Air launched service in Europe with its first flight on Friday, June 23, 2017 from London Luton Airport to Ibiza Airport, Monarch Airlines — which was based at London Luton Airport — was still in business…

Surf Air Expands in Europe — Could It Benefit From Shutdown of Monarch Airlines?

…but as Monarch Airlines ceased operations yesterday, Monday, October 2, 2017, Surf Air has its eyes on expansion in Europe: flights between London and both Cannes and Zürich are already in operation; and sometime next year, the airline expects to serve a total of 15 destinations — including Berlin, Milan, Brussels, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Luxembourg, Munich, and Paris while using London Luton Airport as its base.

To be certain, the business models of Surf Air and Monarch Airlines — as well as the destinations served by both airlines — are completely different: while Monarch Airlines offered scheduled commercial airline service along with charter services and vacation packages, Surf Air uses the “all-you-can-fly” business model through which its members use private terminals without having to wait in lines; and they could arrive at the airport in as few as 15 minutes prior to takeoff.

Cost of Membership With Surf Air

Two different types of memberships are available: you can enjoy unlimited flights every month for a single recurring subscription fee of either £3,150.00 per month for all flight routes in both Europe and the United States; or £1,750.00 per month for routes in Europe which are fewer than 600 kilometers in distance — equivalent to approximately $4,170.00 and $2,317.00 in United States currency respectively…

…or you can enjoy flexible private travel for yourself, your friends and your family by buying single seat leisure flights with an Escapes Membership for £1,300.00 per seat each way — equivalent to approximately $1,721.00 in United States currency.

Compared to its operations in California, Nevada and Texas — the expansion in Texas was chiefly due to the acquisition of former competitor RISE earlier this year — membership starts at a cost of $1,950.00 per month — or you can instead book a flexible flight package starting at $600.00 per flight. With both offers, the caveat is that a minimum of ten round-trip flights — distributed as 20 one-way flights — must be purchased upon activation.

In the United States for a limited time, you can purchase one-time trial flights for $1,000.00 per round-trip itinerary.

Expansion over the next 18 months is expected in the United States as well into such markets as Bentonville, Midland, New Orleans, Scottsdale, and Taos — with certain membership levels offering weekend service to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, Aspen, and Sun Valley.


The “all-you-can-fly” model based on membership subscriptions is not exactly an affordable model for everyone; but I do like the concept of flying as a passenger free of hassles in general: no having to go through an airport security checkpoint; showing up only minutes prior to departure; and fewer crowds are three of the benefits realized — but disadvantages also include increased chances of cancelled or delayed flights due to inclement weather and decreased services at smaller airports.

Also — unless you are truly a frequent flier — memberships can be rather expensive; and the choice of destinations is still rather limited.

Unfortunately, these smaller airlines still have a long way to go before they are able to significantly disrupt the commercial aviation model currently practiced in both the United States and Europe — possibly resulting in more choices for consumers in terms of air travel.

As to whether or not Surf Air will benefit from the downfall of Monarch Airlines either directly or indirectly, that remains to be seen. One factor which could have an adverse impact has been the proliferation of ultra-low-cost airlines throughout Europe in recent years — but again, that is a completely different business model than the one employed by Surf Air.

The list of airlines in this article is somewhat outdated; so I am thinking of updating it for 2017 or 2018. If you know of any airlines which should be added to the list, please let me know in the Comments section below. Thank you in advance.

Source: Surf Air.

2 thoughts on “Surf Air Expands in Europe — Could It Benefit From Shutdown of Monarch Airlines?”

  1. Raffles says:

    Hi Brian. By coincidence, we ran a Surf Air piece today as we were on the Zurich inaugural last week:

    I am still not convinced that the concept works in Europe.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I always enjoy you posting links to your articles here, Raffles.

      That was a good read, in my opinion; and it sounded like a great experience for Anika.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.