Americans now fly for just $10 on Skybus Airlines

1 May, 2007: Faster air travel for peanuts. This is exactly what the new the US Columbus-based Skybus Airlines has on its itinerary.

The airline says that with enough planning and a little luck, one could travel from Port Columbus International Airport to Burbank, California, for as little as $10 each way on the start-up airline. Reports added that the the $10 fares are on a first-come-first-serve basis using the yield management method of enticing customers. This method, it may be recalled, was first introduced by American Airlines where the earliest bookers get cheap fares and those who reserve at the last-minute pay the highest.

Reiterating that the $10 fares are not promotional rates, Skybus Air said that even normal fares will be about 65 per cent less than the major carriers and 20 to 25 percent less than low-cost carriers like Southwest Airlines and JetBlue.

Skybus' service is a no-frill carrier and all searching, booking and rearranging of flights is done online. The airline does not even have a customer service phone number. The customer queries are answered via the e-mail mode. A passenger gets to carry two onboard for free and if he needs to check a bag, it would cost him five dollars each. Additional bags would be charged $50 apiece.

There would be no in-flight entertainment, no assigned seating and no gate agents to talk to passengers until right before the flight leaves. There arenít refunds either.

These apart, the Skybus carriers would also double up as flying billboards. The company recently unveiled a plane whose exterior featured an ad from Columbus-based Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. On the interior too are ads making Skybus planes branded aircraft.

Significantly, the industry has seen big airlines learning to streamline their services, saving money and testing fliers' attitudes on things like charging for movies and cutting back on meal service. The smaller ones and the start-ups have figured out how to capitalize on that knowledge. Airline companies like Skybus Airlines is one example, said a report. It added that major airlines, who had gone through bankruptcy to right themselves, don't have the money anymore to run startups out of business.

Realizing this, no-frills airlines like Skybus have stepped up to what they see as opportunity. They now offer low fares and if a flight is not selling they can drop fares for a particular flight. This practice is seen by analysts as very clever .




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