Skybus Airline: New Meaning to the Notion that Flying is More Like Traveling by Bus?
Bill Adler | April 27, 2007 at 06:44 amby
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According to The Travel Insider (www.thetravelinsider.info), written David Rowell, the new super discount airline may be a bargain when it comes to price, but you'll certainly pay a price in comfort and amenities.
Skybus' listed price for a round trip flight from Boston, which actually leaves from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, some 60 miles away, to Columbus, Ohio is indeed a bargain at $56.30, a price that includes taxes and fees. For the time being Skybus' routing is very limited: The eight other cities that Skybus flies to all begin and end in Columbus, Ohio.
If you're departing from or flying to Skybus' "Seattle" destination, you should know that Skybus actually uses the airport in Bellingham, Washington, some 90 miles away.
What caught my attention in the article in the Travel Insider's Newsletter is that while Skybus charges for food, like a number of airlines now do, in an industry first, Skybus prohibits passengers from bringing food or even water on board. Here's how Skybus explains this business decision on its website: "Skybus flights are very, very comfortable partly because you can buy delicious snacks and beverages you actually want during your flight. Or not. It's your choice...To keep everything tidy and organized, we do ask that you finish any snacks and drinks you purchase on your own before boarding, as you are not permitted to bring them on our aircraft."
The Travel Insider reports that one of the ways that Skybus, which flies the Airbus A319 (www.airliners.net/info/stats.main?id=22) is able to sell seats so cheaply is that "they've crammed so many seats onto their planes; 8 - 16 seats more than is commonly found on a A319, thereby allowing Skybus to give ten seats away for $10 and still have the equivalent of an empty plane to sell at normal fares." It's all a la cart on Skybus, according to The Travel Insider: "You'll even be charged if you want flight status messages sent to a pager or cell phone or email address, and if you want some entertainment during your flight, there are Sudoku puzzles available - but also for a charge rather than free."
A few dollars will let you enhance your flight experience in other ways, too. You can purchase blankets on board. Want to check luggage? Skybus charges a $5 fee per bag per flight segment. As perhaps another industry first, Skybus lets you purchase priority boarding for $10. As the airline explains, "Priority Boarding is an option you can purchase, that allows you to board the plane in the first boarding group immediately after pre-boarding. Since Skybus seating is first-come, first-served, Priority Boarding gives you a better chance of getting the seat you want. If it’s important to have your choice of an aisle or window seat, then Priority Boarding is for you."
As a cost-saving measure for the airline, you only can contact Skybus through their website at http://skybus.com/Home.aspx.
If you're looking to get from point A to point B, Skybus may be the least expensive way to do that. And while the airline doesn't offer any refunds, canceling a flight at $10 a ticket isn't nearly as painful as canceling a flight at $500 a ticket.
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