Frankfurt The story begins like so many start-ups from the travel industry. “We wanted to spend the weekend in Spain at short notice and went to the airport with the belief that they would get last-minute tickets,” says Fabian Höhne. “We then found out: The airlines have stopped.” The 26-year-old and his fellow students did not want to accept that.
“We looked at the utilization of the jets and saw that on average it is very low at around 80 percent. That's when we came up with the idea of marketing the empty seats. “Flyla came out. About a year ago, the start-up company went on the market. The idea: Seating capacity that is still available is communicated to students via the Internet – at reasonable prices.
In order to make his business idea fly, Höhne has looked closely at the airlines' approach. “The airlines do not want all passengers to wait until the very end to book and race for the best bargains. That's why we chose a different approach. The vacancies go to a closed customer group: students, “explains Höhne the basic idea.
The advantage, which the airlines have through a cooperation with Flyla: The start-up ensures with a real-time authentication of the students that only really those book the ticket. “The name of the traveler goes to a central database with the current students. It reports the status back to us “, explains Höhne. Flyla, in turn, benefits from a booking fee of ten euros.
In the past months, Höhne has developed the first idea. In the meantime, every flight Flyla deals with includes climate compensation. And there is also a story about it. “The idea with the CO2 compensation arose early. I wanted to go to New York and had the opportunity to get a cheaper flight via a detour. But my father said that I should rather take the shorter direct flight for environmental reasons, “says Höhne.
The cost of the compensation takes Flyla, it is not about a lot of money, said Höhne. Because such compensation is usually the support of projects and thus very little tangible, Flyla even goes one step further: “We have said that we also plant a tree for each flight – as a symbol.”
Airlines recognize the potential
Currently, the young company has around 15,000 users. There are currently six employees working for the company, including three developers. Höhne does not name sales, instead referring to well-known partners from the airline sector. In addition to Etihad, the airline from Doha, Eurowings and, more recently, Lufthansa's core brand have joined the Lufthansa airline.
Although the volume contributed by Flyla is rather modest for such large airlines as Eurowings, the managers see a big advantage of the platform there. “We are successfully addressing new customer segments through digital channels. Thanks to our cooperation with Flyla, Eurowings can now address the exciting segment of students in a targeted manner, “says Oliver Schmitt, the sales director of Eurowings.
In May, Flyla completed the first round of financing, with the participation of Florian Herschke, former CFO of the sports and adventure group Jochen Schweizer, and other business angels. A sum does not call Höhne, but details, what he intends to do with the money.
“With the latest financing round, we want to expand in the region of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Then we look at the rest of Europe and the US market. “Asia and China are of course interesting, but they want to take one step at a time. In addition, Höhne wants to expand the offer, such as surfing lessons or other activities. “Everyone can then arrange this themselves,” says the founder of Flyla.
More: For 9.90 euros to Munich or Paris – at such prices, many get on the plane instead of perhaps on a train. That calls consumer advocates on the plan.