Defunct budget airline Skybus plans to issue full refunds to all ticket holders. The airline announced last night that they were done flying less than two weeks after former CEO Bill Diffenderffer quit to pursue a book-writing career. While everyone who hasn’t yet traveled will soon be reunited with their cash, what about passengers who are in the middle of a trip? Let’s ask Air Force Sergeant Gary Patterson.
Skybus has just announced that it will stop flying starting tomorrow, Saturday April 5th. “Skybus struggled to overcome the combination of rising jet fuel costs and a slowing economic environment. These two issues proved to be insurmountable for a new carrier…Our financial condition is such that our Board of Directors felt it had no choice but to cease operations,” said the company in the tombstone posted on its website. The dream of ultra-low-budget air travel was too beautiful to let live…
This past July, I decided to try out Skybus on their run from the “Seattle are”, where I live, to Columbus, Ohio, their hub and (as it just so happens) a place I visit several times a year. Now don’t get me wrong – I travel a LOT, so I’m used to delays, gruff employees and all manner of shenanigans, and trying out a brand-new airline that had only been flying for two weeks was a bit daunting. But I figured what he hell, I got a great price on two one-way tickets (the only way you CAN buy tickets on Skybust) so I threw in and figured I’d give them a shot.
The airline was offering refunds for flights that were canceled and was making efforts to rebook travelers on later Skybus flights. But Skybus was unable to transfer passengers to flights on other airlines because it does not have agreements with other carriers, Tenenbaum said.
Travler’s friend site Elliot.org has these great customer service “cheat sheets” to help you if you have a dispute with your airline. CEO contact info, how to hack their phone trees, email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, it’s all there.
A member of the Jaunted travel blog flew Skybus, the new ultra-no-frills airline where you can get a $10 ticket, and said it was, “[w]orth the $10 and not a penny more.“
Skybus Will Try To Mimic Some Other Ultra-Low-Cost Carriers, Just Without The Whole Imploding Aspect
The first thing that comes to mind when reading about the super duper low cost, and low amenity, airlines service offered by Skybus, is Ryanair. They pioneered low-fare short-hauls in Europe, and also levied surcharges luggage, preferential seating and food. The second are People Express and Laker Airways, low-cost carriers that hit big, only to overextend themselves and dissolve. Skybus plans to hold out thanks to $160 million in startup kitty. The airline only has four planes right now, will get four more at the end of the year, and get 65 more delivered by 2012. Maybe by keeping an even keel on a more moderate growth strategy will spare Skybus the fate of its antecedents. — BEN POPKEN
Skybus is a new airline launched today boasting $10 tickets, but you get what you pay for.