Air Freelandia : The Non-Profit Airline
In 1974, there was a “Not-For-Profit” airline named Freelandia that served organic food and had waterbeds.
Freelandia Air Travel Club (1973-74). The brainchild of Ken Moss, a 31-year-old Syracuse dropout, Freelandia enticed passengers with promises of low-cost travel, natural food, an in-flight waterbed, and a hopeful slogan (“Not-For-Profit”).
Freelandia also functioned as a travel club, for an initial fee of $25 club members were eligible for fares as low as $87 to fly between Newark and Los Angeles. It flew two aircraft, an ex-United DC-8-21 which was painted entirely in a semi-dark yellow with a waving hand as its logo on the tail and a Convair 880. Their philosophy expressed itself in their slogan “Not-For-Profit” and its in-flight service which offered natural food and a waterbed. Operations ended within a year of its creation amid the 1973 oil crisis.
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For an initial membership fee of $50, you were eligible for too-good-to-be-true fares. After Moss appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, membership quadrupled, to 8,000. The members grew frustrated by Freelandia’s staggering performance record: 85% of flights were canceled. And they only ever had two planes. The Air Travel Club was grounded for good before its first birthday.
Voyages around this shrunken planet are not all they are cut out to be. “The friendly skies” are anything but nowadays, as people claw for dwindling seats on jets, ticket prices soar, and the plastic fantastic atmosphere on board commercial airliners distinctly resembles that of a swingles bar.
An alternative to this needless American madness emerged last August in the form of a legitimate and remarkably inexpensive air travel club called Freelandia. Started from the personal pocket of a longhaired ex-Wall Street millionaire, the California-based club donates its profits to charity, serves organic foods, offers bargain-priced crosscountry and trans-Atlantic flights, and promises a safe landing.
After paying an initial $25 membership fee, Freelandians can fly from Newark, N.J., to Los Angeles for $87, about $90 less than a coach seat on a commercial airliner. Flying Freelandia roundtrip from Newark to Miami, Fla., saves members about $70; to New Orleans, La., $74; and to Hawaii, $212.
Freelandia flies several times monthly to Acapulco, Chicago, Brussels, San Francisco, and Mazatlan, among other cities. A spring flight involving Boston is also planned.