Everybody wants a deal. Americans love a bargain, and their thirst for cheap or cheaper airfares is so deep and so ingrained that anyone promising an el cheapo airfares gets lots of attention. That’s certainly the case with Skybus, a start-up that
promises ‘ultra-low-fares’ when it begin flights in late May from its Columbus, Ohio, base. The airline’s strategy is that makes money on extras or ancillaries (drinks, pillows, seat assignments, etc.) after it unbundled its base fares. Skybus says its fares are low because it serves alternative airports, but that’s where the questions come in.
The airline has announced its routes from Columbus–Oakland, near San Francisco, the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, not that far from Los Angeles, Portsmouth N.H., not that far from (or close to) Boston, Bellingham, Washington, near the Canadian border and not that far from (or close to) Seattle, or Richmond, Va., Greensboro, N.C., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., or Kansas City, Mo. No question that the fares are indeed low, starting at $10 one way, are sold only as one-ways and multiple segments aren’t sold as such, so if you want to fly coast-to-coast you’ll book two tickets, from Portsmouth, some 50 north of Boston near the Maine border, to Columbus and then from Ohio’s capital city to Bellingham, 80 miles from Seattle. Papers and radio stations cross the country were full of the news when Skybus announced its routes, which it starts by the third week in May. A few sceptics raised questions, some of them pointedly, while the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious university, denounced Skybus as another polluter. And Airline Business chimed in, with the Americas editor, David Field, taking the airwaves of National Public Radio’s ‘All Things Considered’ to chat somewhat sceptically about Skybus. All Things Considered is the radio network’s afternoon and drive time show. You can listen here.