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Dear Northeast flight schoolDear Northeast flight school

Dear Northeast flight school,

You told a potential customer that flying lessons cost $250 each. You said that price included one hour of flight time in a Cessna 152, and 30 minutes of ground time.

Apparently, that was the end of the phone call for you. But not for this potential customer. He ran straight to his friends on Reddit’s Flying subreddit, and they didn’t hesitate to tell him what they thought.

They told him that $250 per lesson in a Cessna 152 sounded ridiculous. Was he sure that the flight school wasn’t quoting him the going rate for an introductory flight? Yes, he was. He said he’d talked to one of your employees. His Reddit friends did the math for him using varying instructor rates and varying hourly rates for a Cessna 152. None of it added up to $250. They agreed that it seemed feasible for a lesson in a Cessna 172, but not a 152.

He named your website, and they investigated that, too. They noted that you don’t list hourly rental prices on your website. That seemed suspicious to them, and another reason not to trust you.

Some of the Reddit friends had heard of you. (There are two sides to every story, so I’m not naming the flight school or including the URL to the Reddit thread here.) One said you have a reputation as a good school, but another said you are known to be very expensive. And they gave him names of other flight schools to check out. He said he would do that. He said he wasn’t planning to give you his business.

It doesn’t seem as though the representative of your flight school took much time to discuss the cost of flight training, and perhaps go into some specifics about block time, or other ways to save money on training, with this potential customer. As a result, he went elsewhere to confirm his suspicions.

Perhaps this is just the way you handle cold calls at your flight school. Just know that customers aren’t as apt to take things at face value as they used to—especially when you’re talking about something like the cost of recreational flying. Everyone has an “expert” just a few clicks away. Even if those experts aren’t flight school owners who understand what it costs to operate a business, they have a lot of influence on your potential clients.

Jill W. Tallman is editor of Flight School Business.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.

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