June 11, 2014
Common Deskers are no strangers to the start-up world, and it’s exciting to see new ones take shape and grow. Recently Aaron King and I were able to take out a new Dallas start-up for a spin – literally.
Transportation venture, Vonlane, has recently started providing luxury bus rides back and forth to Austin and Dallas. After speaking with Carter Tamlyn and Alex Danza of Vonlane, one of the main goals with this new luxury line is to provide a comfortable, reliable, and work-friendly way to get back and forth between the two cities without having to deal with the logistics of air travel.
Riding In Style
We left from Dallas at the Wyndham Love Field location. Knowing the tight schedule that they need to keep, I arrived early and relaxed for a bit in the Wyndham lobby. The front desk clerk was cordial and knew quite a bit about the bus service. This was especially helpful for me since, as a first time rider, I wanted to make sure I was in the right place to board.
Upon boarding, we were checked in easily and were offered drinks and danishes (so yummy). Throughout the trip, our attendant was extremely helpful and checked on us often to make sure we had everything we needed to work or relax.
One of the best things about Vonlane was the amenities that are offered. Whether you’re on your way to a meeting, or just getting away for a couple days, they had just about anything you need to have a comfortable ride. The list of “extras” that they offer is huge:
- Leather seats
- Food and drink (danishes, sandwiches, chips, coffee, soda, OJ, etc) or you can even bring your own food
- Satellite TV and radio
- Outlets at every seat
- Headphone jacks at every seat
- Flash drive
- Lap desk for computer or eating
- Pillows and blankets
- Able to bring 3 bags plus a carry-on
- Extremely clean and relatively spacious restroom
- 6 person conference room
- Easy booking and cancellation (with an app on the way)
- Can arrange transportation for you (Hertz in Dallas, Avis in Austin)
Of course, not everyone is going to want to work. If that’s the case, grab a blanket and pillow (or a neck rest – yup, they’ve got those too) and recline the comfy leather seats to take a nap.
Just like in Dallas, Vonlane has partnered with a hotel – the Hyatt Regency in Austin as another arrival/departure station. The hotel staff there was helpful and courteous as well, and we were soon on our way to get on with the rest of our workday. Valet parking is available at both locations, and if you need them to, Vonlane will gladly help arrange a car for you upon arrival.
So what does it cost to take this luxury bus line? A one way ticket costs $100, which for a digital nomad like myself, is a huge win. That means I can get a solid 3 hours of work in (opposed to the 25 minutes in the air) during the trip.
The cancellation/change policy is generous as well. You are free to cancel up to 24 of the scheduled trip. For cancellations within 24 hours, there’s still no fees but your account will be credited for the full amount for future travel.
One of the ways Vonlane is similar to airlines is the existence of a reward program. With Vonlane, every mile equates to one point. Estimating the miles between Dallas and Austin at 200, it would only take 5 RT trips to receive a $20 travel credit. Alternatively, you can refer friends or colleagues and get an instant discount for both parties.
The group at Vonlane has big plans, as they should. They have their eyes on expanding to Houston and even San Antonio in the future, so stay tuned, the journey is just beginning.