New airline AURA offers private jet travel for economy prices

Aura will attempt to become a frequent flyer's go-to airline.

Aura airlines, launching next year, will offer good food (sushi, anyone?), no luggage fees, plenty of legroom, no overbooking of flights, free drinks, free WiFi, walk-up boarding 20 minutes before a flight rather than two-hour advance arrival, and more. It's a brand-new concept from a company called Presidential Aviation.

(Credit: Aura)

For those why fly frequently, such as business travelers and those commuting for their job who are tired of what air travel has become, it could be a welcome option.

For $100 a month subscription fee, passengers can become "Key Holders" and will fly on this airline at fares as low as $280 for First class and $600 for Wave class, which is an ultra-luxury tier. For those who don’t subscribe, the prices for both classes will be double. (Note that these prices are based on one-way travel.)

(Credit: Aura)

For either class, the experience is supposed to be like that of a small, private jet, the kind chartered for businesses and the wealthier set. For those who pay the $100 a month subscription, flights are largely less expensive than current first-class flights on commercial airlines (a quick spot check shows that advance purchase of a first-class, round trip ticket on major carriers with 45 days to spare is $600 to $800.). The planes are all redesigned CRJ800 Bombardier regional jets, which originally held 75 passengers. These now hold 29, so you can imagine the room increase. The company has not revealed just how many aircraft it will have in the fleet, but it plans to fly its main routes twice a day, and add special routes for vacation destinations and festivals during certain times of the year, such as Sundance and SXSW.

One addition that actually sounds pretty fascinating: VR headsets, where passengers can “see” in 360 degrees what’s happening outside the plane as if they were sitting on top of it. 

The plan is for no overselling of seats, and a strict limit of 29 seats total—21 in what it calls First class, and eight in the higher-class Wave seats, which can even lie down fully as reclinable, “zero-gravity” seats. Passengers in these seats will also get to order meals prepared by a chef.

(Credit: Aura)

Initial cities serviced will be New York City, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles, which, not coincidentally, match quite well with the hubs for all the major airlines.

And with a flight attendant to passenger ratio of 1 to 10, it really will feel like the old days of flying.

Finally, the airline claims it will be carbon-neutral, with fares helping to offset the carbon footprint that the planes create.

Will it get off the ground?

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Adam Gopnik on the rhinoceros of liberalism vs. the unicorns of everything else

Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
  • Intersectionality and civic discourse
  • How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Keep reading Show less

Why the south of Westeros is the north of Ireland

As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.

Image: YouTube / Doosh
Strange Maps
  • The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
  • But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
  • Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
Keep reading Show less

Fascism and conspiracy theories: The symptoms of broken communication

The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.

  • The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
  • Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
  • Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
Keep reading Show less