Skybus – New Zero-Frills Airline With $10 Tickets

Skybus is a new airline launched today boasting $10 tickets, but you get what you pay for.

Taxes and fees apply: add on about another $10 per leg.
Limited amount of $10 seats. Others may be $25, $50, or $75.
Want to check luggage? First two backs are $5 each. Next one is $50.
Outside food and drink are prohibited (good luck enforcing that one. I’m sorry sir, we’re going to have to turn this plane around if you don’t dispose of your sandwich).
Inflight entertainment: “Bring a book.”
Customer service: “We don’t have a phone number. Seriously. We’d love to chat, but those phone banks are expensive. And a good website like is even more convenient.”
Gate staffing: “You probably won’t see any agents at the gate until boarding time.”
Seating: Choose your own, but jump to the head of the line for $10.

Right now all flights route through the hub of Columbus, OH. If that isn’t your origin or destination point, you’ll have to buy an extra ticket for the second leg.

Sounds like an interesting concept. Pay only for the services and accommodations you actually want and use. We’ll see whether the Ryanair style approach to air travel “takes off” (we know, shoot us now) with consumers. — BEN POPKEN

Skybus [via Upgrade: Travel Better]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Slytherin says:

    I am fine with everything except the outside food or drink thing. They are going to have a heck of a time enforcing that one!

  2. roche says:

    “10 seats for $10 each – on every flight! That’s right, each and every Skybus flight has a minimum of ten seats available for just ten dollars. It’s for real – but these seats go quickly, so be sure to book early and book often!”

    That doesn’t sound like every seat is 10 bucks to me.

  3. tvh2k says:

    FYI — taxes and fees are about another $10/ticket. Even so, $20/leg isn’t half bad.

  4. iMike says:

    No phone sounds like a great cost cutting measure until the first time you’re caught in irregular operations.

    How’d you like your flight to be cancelled with no one to call to rebook? Send an email and wait? Stand in line with 125 other people to get rebooked?

    No thanks.

  5. kara70 says:

    I dont’ think they’ll have a hard time enforcing the “no food, no drink” rule. They won’t let you on the plane with it. Period. No exceptions, no kidding!

    I witnessesed many a screaming match at the counter of RyanAir, and I imagine they’ll do the same here. The customer may always be right, but you don’t get ANY sympathy, or rule bending, with your $10 fare.

  6. Are they kidding? They don’t fly out of anywhere in NY? Any flight from here to Boston, Columbus or Richmond will more than likely screw me out of any money I would have saved on a no-frills flight.

  7. Spider Jerusalem says:

    I tried to go through the booking function, but its not quite working, and getting a return trip is about 5x as expensive as flying out.

    Although I have no problem with the “hub” idea as long as they’re going to work on it more, I have a problem with the fact that it doesn’t let you book multiple legs of the journey at the moment. It looks like you have to book each leg separately.

  8. Youngman says:

    $10 for first choice of seat? What happens when everyone decides to pay $10 to be first to choose their seat?

  9. MeOhMy says:

    If I could bring a bottle of water, I’d even be fine with “no food and drink.”

  10. kracer22 says:

    Doesn’t seem to bad if you have friends/relatives near one of those remote airports. I recently flew down to Richmond to visit family on Jet Blue, only cost me $80 round trip.

  11. RandomHookup says:

    “Sorry, ma’am, but you can’t nurse that baby. No outside beverages.”

  12. amalgamator says:

    so, uh, if I’m a hypoglycemic, diabetic, vegan, with celiac’s disease and a multitube of food alergies….I can’t bring on my own food that won’t kill me?

  13. golgiapparatus says:

    Uh, so if I want to fly from L.A. to Seattle I have to go to Ohio first? That sounds not-so-fun. If you’re actually traveling across country sounds like a decent deal, though. Is there anything good to do in Columbus, OH? Seriously. Because I might be able to afford to visit Seattle friends with this, but I wouldn’t want to waste an opportunity to do awesome things in OH. If there are any.

  14. FLConsumer says:

    Screw that shit…I want an airline which will provide QUALITY SERVICE and RELIABILITY, just like the ol’ regulation days. Oh yeah, I’m willing to PAY for it too! C’mon airlines, I’m not the only person who’s looking for quality out there. We’re a highly profitable sector if you’d just open your eyes and look for us…instead of ass-raping us for crap service and even crappier reliability.

  15. MeOhMy says:

    The following items may not be carried in any baggage, checked or unchecked:

    Paints, Christmas crackers, items with internal combustion engines such as chainsaws, model aircraft, lawnmowers, motorized garden gnomes, etc.

    There goes my idea of using them in my motorized garden gnome smuggling operation.

  16. amalgamator says:

    From Wikipedia: “Starting pilot wages will also be well below average, starting at $65,000 annually. The average commercial airline pilot wage is approximately $135,000.”

    So we get the reject pilots and flight attendants with that can’t make it in other airlines?

  17. jblake1 says:

    Direct Number to Skybus Airlines: 614-246-8800

  18. flugangst says:

    Also note that (like Ryanair) many of the airports they service are not the traditional airports associated with the destination city. Flying to Oakland instead of SFO is not such a big deal, but getting from Portsmouth, NH to Boston or from Bellingham, WA to Seattle is quite a slog and adds considerably to the time/cost. Probably only worth it if you snag $10 seats on every leg of your journey or if your final destination is closer to the suburban airport than the major one.

  19. facted says:

    Is maintence on their planes optional as well? Maybe they’ll only fly with one pilot instead of two…just to save on some costs. Just a thought…

  20. parrott_b says:

    Acctually with the calander and listed prices you can see exactly how much your going to pay. Since this is a no frills start up right now they only service about 10 smaller (less congested areas). LA, San Fransico, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale. It looks to be a good idead and since Columbus is a pretty active hub it should do well. Also since all the flights are direct it will make the minor issues as paying more for extras less important.

  21. lewsmind says:

    Is anyone else as freaked out about how little they’re going to pay the pilots?
    Umm, you know they keep the plane from crashing, right?

    The $10 fare is intriguing, but I think I’ll let more adventerous souls try it first.

  22. minneapolisite says:

    At $65000 per year, it would take a lifetime for a pilot with a degree in commercial aviation to pay back his/her student loans… so as noted, these will likely be reject pilots, too. I wish there were a happy medium here–a safe, efficient airline that charged appropriately and provided an appropriate level of service.

  23. ironchef says:


    Flying a plane isn’t brain surgery. Most pilots average $65000 around the world. Even pilots on big 747’s doing international long hauls get paid less than domestic pilots doing short shuttle flights.

    I’ve known American and United pilots whinning that $200,000 isn’t enough.

  24. MeOhMy says:

    @ironchef: Maybe $200k+ is too high, but $65k for a job in which a single error can result in the deaths of a few hundred people seems a bit low. It may not be “brain surgery” (N.B. no matter how bad you screw up in brain surgery, you can only kill one person at a time) but you can’t plunk just anybody behind the yoke.

  25. Tallanvor says:

    @Troy F.: A starting salary of $65k, in just about any profession, isn’t bad at all. In fact, I’ll bet most pilots don’t start at that level.

    Lots of more important professions have low starting salaries. –Teachers, police, firefighters, just to name a few, and we should be much more worried about what they earn than what pilots earn.

  26. bedofnails says:

    Maybe Kareem and a blow up doll will be up front.

  27. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m shocked they don’t sell bottled air. They’re missing a GREAT revenue opportunity: oxygen auction at 30,000 ft.

  28. roamer1 says:

    @amalgamator: I would hope they’d be reasonable enough to respect special dietary needs. (Otherwise, they might be opening themselves up to ADA complaints, especially for those who are on restricted diets for medical reasons.)

    One thing I noticed is that if you fly through the CMH “hub” and change planes, you have to re-check bags, re-clear security, etc. That’s utter insanity — no other US airline requires that on domestic flights!

    I’ll keep flying FL and F9 (and DL on occasion), thankyouverymuch…

  29. kenposan says:

    @golgiapparatus: “Uh, so if I want to fly from L.A. to Seattle I have to go to Ohio first? That sounds not-so-fun. If you’re actually traveling across country sounds like a decent deal, though. Is there anything good to do in Columbus, OH?”

    Yes, there are plenty of good things to do in Columbus, Ohio. Just depends on what you want to do.

    /Lives a mile from the airport.
    //Loves Columbus.

  30. amalgamator says:

    @ironchef: I sure want the best flying when conditions get bad. Check out these landings in crosswind.

  31. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    And before every flight, a gate agent gets to spin the ‘lucky wheel’ to see which one of the passengers gets to fly the plane (I mean, for $10, do you expect a professional plane-flying-guy?). Selling the 02 is a great idea…how about a quarter slot in the seatback. No quarter, no oxygen..that’s the rules.

    Oh, and only “first class” has seats..the rest of you, bring your lawn chairs. Or there’s always the “bleacher seating” option.

    They could solve the food thing by having vending machines. I mean, hey, if you don’t want the $10.00 Coke, you should have had something at the airport.

    How about pay toilets? Gotta go? That’ll cost you $20.00. Again, if you can’t hold it until we get to LA, it’s not our problem. Want to read a book? Pop another quarter into the slot for the reading light. Oh, and don’t forget to put a huge “tip jar” right up by the cabin…maybe the pilot or “passenger pilot” will be more motivated not to crash the thing if there’s a big jar of $1’s and $5’s in there by the end of the flight.

    And what the hell is the “jump the line for $10 thing…as if that weren’t going to cause knock-down drag-out fights (although it might provide some much needed entertainment).

  32. Amry says:

    Wow. I’m personally thrilled with this airline’s business model. I can’t be the only one, either; many flights as far in the future as August and September are already up to $125 one way (not sure how high they climb), meaning all the $10 and up levels are sold out.

    Maybe I’m biased because I live in Columbus and will be reaping the cheap flight benefits, but wouldn’t you rather pay $10 (Well, $72.60 total round trip for two adults, booked this morning) for an unknown level of service than $200+ (So at least $500 round trip for two people, probably more) for surly flight attendants, smelly old planes, and long delays?

  33. coreyander says:

    Okay, so besides the fact that an Ohio layover is a bit inconvenient for, say, an LA to Seattle trip, do note that by LA they mean Burbank and by Seattle they mean Bellingham. So you have to add in transportation to the out of the way airports as well. West LA to Burbank to Columbus to Bellingham to Seattle is not worth the bargain price to this surly traveler. But congrats to the people of the Columbus area, I hope you enjoy the cheap flights on top of your lower cost of food, housing, and gas, you midwestern bastards. Sigh…

  34. John Stracke says:


    Are they kidding? They don’t fly out of anywhere in NY?

    It’s a startup. They’ve got four planes. They have to start somewhere; and New York airports are probably too expensive.

  35. MeOhMy says:

    @Tallanvor: I’m not here to debate who should get paid what. Everytime I get on a plane I think about how I could completely blow off my job and the absolute worst-case would be that I get fired. Certainly no lives would be lost (unless you count my wife killing me, but that’s really an indirect consequence). How grateful I am that nobody’s life hinges on me doing my job!

    If it did, I’d be pulling for a little more than $65k. A big factor in salary is your level of responsibility and the lives of a few hundred people seems like a big responsibility to me.

  36. El_Fez says:


    Uh, so if I want to fly from L.A. to Seattle I have to go to Ohio first?

    Actually you’ll be flying to Bellingham – about 80-90 miles north of Seattle. Isnt that charming?

  37. southie says:

    As with RyanAir, if you bring on a Doctor’s Note, you can bring stuff for your celiac’s disease. And honestly, with an airline such as RyanAir, or whatever this is, do you really want to be on an airplane for 4 hours in a seat that does not recline, that doesn’t really have padding? No, I am not kidding. It’s great for say, London to Spain, or like I just did, London to Blackpool, but even the people that work there hate their jobs. Hate. Loathe. Imagine being both a Flight Attendant AND working at TGI Friday’s, and you have RyanAir. Oh, and working at an off-license, being forced to sell lotto tickets to people at 7 am. Talk about self-loathing. So, you’re getting cheap seats, eat beforehand, bring a book and your mp3 player, and feel sorry for their employees.

    (And arrive early. They close the gate about 15 minutes before they say they will. Driving across England on Good Friday in a Ford Fiesta wasn’t the best time I’ve ever had).

  38. Mad_Science says:

    Gotta love how they say SAN FRANCISCO (oakland)

    GO NINERS! (raiders)

  39. osujenny says:

    I love it that people are crying about an airline that is actually trying to do something good here. We are never satisfied are we? Although I can’t take advantage of the offers right now…I’m hoping they will expand, add other cities and pass the savings on. I, for one, am sick of paying too much on airfare. I’m still getting crappy service, crappy snacks and crappy seats…all for the low, low price of 300 bucks. I’d rather pay 1/3 of the price for the same damn thing.

  40. Derosa says:

    This new service out of Bellingham was discussed on a Vancouver BC morning TV news show this a.m. I think the Skybus folks also want to attract some business from the Vancouver/Lower Mainland market for whom a trip to Bellingham is not that big a deal. Flying out of Bellingham is also attractive to those Canadians who have not yet gotten the mandatory passport for air travel to the US. For now, Canadians can still cross the border by car with picture ID and birth certificate. Want to go to, say, Ft. Lauderdale but don’t have a passport yet? Drive to Bellingham and fly from there.

  41. seattlegirl says:

    @ amalgamator, et al:

    Wikipedia also claims “Salaries at regional airlines can be considerably less – according to the Bureau of Labor, median annual earnings of commercial pilots were $53,870, with the middle 50 percent earning between $37,170 and $79,390.”

    The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also notes that, “The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $110,070”

    So for a discount airline, man, $65k/year is actually a pretty rockin’ salary. . . if Wikipedia is right.

  42. factotum says:

    Want to check luggage? First two backs are $5 each.

    Thank god I only have one back. Is Consumerist’s speech recognition software on the fritz?

  43. Piewacket says:

    Can someone please pass the community barf bowl to seat #22 please? Handle with care, we have customers paying $75 for their own barf bag.

  44. silenuswise says:

    This question of how many lives your job can put in jeopardy–directly or indirectly–is an interesting one, but obviously not the most important factor in determining base salaries. If it were, bus drivers would be raking in 6-figure salaries (one slip of the hand and 30-100 people die in flames and mangled steel). Of course, the fact that the position is relatively unskilled and millions of Joe and Jenny Schomoes could do it kind of precludes the high salaries. Also, there’s that question of profitability: one wrong move and you can kill hundreds or thousands of people, but do your actions produce revenue? Pilots, y’all are important and stuff, but: A) your skill (vehicle manipulation) is not all that rare among the populace, and B) you’re not generating millions of $ in revenue annually.*

    One more funny example: unlike the CEO of Microsoft, the president of the United States has the power to destroy the world. Should we be paying him a multi-million dollar salary? Yikes.

    *Of course, that CEOs are often rarely held to this standard surely explains the rewarding of incompetence we see over and over–but that’s a different story.

  45. Nick says:

    @Amry and @osujenny: I completely agree. I don’t think my $200 or $300 ticket from a major airline is going to buy me a level of service that is substantially higher. I’m thrilled at the idea as well. The closest airport they fly into is Oakland, which is 750+ miles from me, but hey, it’s just a startup. I’m hoping they will grow as well.

  46. ingridc says:

    @coreyander: Burbank isn’t that out of the way. It’s about to the same distance from LA to LAX as LA to Burbank, and for many LA residents, the drive to Burbank is actually shorter. Yes, some of the kids in West LA will actually have to drive a few more miles to get the airport. But West LA is only a small part of the densest parts of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. The rest of us east of La Cienega and north of Wilshire are quite happy.

  47. CheapMomOf3 says:

    First of all as a widowed mom of 3 wonderful kids under 6. I am always looking for a good deal. I have been able to take my children and myself from Columbus (which is only an hour away from my house)to kansas city for less than a regular price air ticket. I did not have anything to complain about. The flight was late in the evening so my kids slept without making a peep. I read the note above about second rate pilots. How many of you take a bus or a cab and ask your driver for there dmv printout?? I have travels Skybus and will continue to use them in fact I just purchased round trip tix for three and including baggage was a grand total of……… 235.00 WOW now thats a deal. Let me know if any of you that are complaining but have never used Skybus can beat that price.

  48. jtmichaels says:

    The saying that “you get what you pay for” is mostly true. Sure, there are some exceptions…but that saying applies to these airline prices as well.

    I booked a flight to see a concert on August 19th and selected the dates of Aug 19st – Aug 21st. When I clicked purchase, I got an e-mail saying I was confirmed for departure date of August 21st – August 28th!!!

    What am I gonna do for an entire week?? I’m able to head out of town for the weekend, but I cannot take an entire week off work. I’ve already missed enough work as it is. So I thought since they dont have a customer service phone #, I could simply email them to let them know the error. LOL Yea right.

    I purchased these tickets online almost a month ago and I FINALLY get an email two weeks ago and its nothing but an auto-response form letter thing directing me to their website and of course it states changes require a “change fee” of $40 for EACH TICKET for EACH FLIGHT for EACH WAY!!!

    So what should have been a $10 flight is now going to cost me at least 8 times more!! I did NOT select the date of Aug 21st. Why would I? I knew then that the concert was on August 19th and it still is.

    The mistake is THEIRS and they have yet to correct it. I tried emailing them back, but I still keep getting the same auto-response email.

    Can this be fixed? I’ll let you know if it does, but it doesn’t look good right now. Beware folks…you get what you pay for.

  49. jtmichaels says:

    Just wanted to add that I really do hope they will fix my ticket dates without making me pay this extra money because its not my fault. SkyBus has left a bad taste in my mouth already and it would be sad for them

    I live in Columbus, OH and it’s great to have them based out of this major city. There are so many corporations that have Columbus as their home such as Wendy’s, Limited Stores, Donatos Pizza, Bob Evans, Victoria Secret, and many many more. Don’t forget that we also have the #1 university in the entire country. Check out this link for more info about Columbus, OH…


  50. PBPARADY says:

    Speaking as someone who has actually flown on Skybus, I have to say it was an excellent value and experience.

    I snagged 2 10 dollar tickets both ways to Richmond, VA and also managed to grab 4 10 dollar tickets to San Diego, but had to cancel as others could not fly on the date I had.

    I made an error on the Richmond Tickets, which was fixed via email, within a very short time by their customer service.

    The Flight to Richmond was short and sweet, In Columbus, they board on the Tarmack and use both the front and rear doors to board and disembark. The staff was friendly and very attentive, they did have a lil bit of a delay due to their count not matching the manafest, but that got resolved quickly. Based on the quality of the flight staff, either the supposed 9.00/hr salary, was incorrect or there are other perks, and so what if the pilots start at 65k, Neither the airline, nor the he FAA is not going to let just anyone fly these new, clean and comfortable planes. On the way back I had to add another piece of luggage, that went well and I still came out ahead on what I would pay for another airline to get me into Richmond, which always requires at lest on other stop.

    Also, I did see many flyers brining outside food and drink on, without being scolded or stopped by the staff.

    Bottom line: It was a great experience, much better then my experiences with Delta and United and as long as you are flexible, you can get some great deals as well.

  51. TimJPowell says:

    Does anyone know what time / Day they post the additonal seats?? By the time I look the cheapest seats are already gone…

  52. Anonymous says:

    skybus is a disaster. there is nothing about my recent trip to recommend the experience. i paid more for my next trip to avoid ever dealing with skybus again. it’s just not worth it.

    the ticket agents clearly had no idea what they were doing, and they made no effort to hide this. they also made no effort to be friendly. i would have given them a lot of slack if they had suggested that they were a new airline trying to work out the kinks, but instead they just told me to go online if i wanted answers. (for the record, i did that, and have had no reply – three weeks later)

    i was sent back and forth between kiosks, ended up paying to check my bag twice since it never showed up in the online system (at home or the kiosk) and then was told there was nothing they could do about it. yet again, they told me to go online. i asked for a refund for the error on their part, and you got it – have heard nothing. it may seem like asking for a $10 baggage check refund is silly, but they charge for every little extra, so when they double charge, the flights start to get as expensive as a real airline.

    i won’t even go into the misery of the confusion at the gate, the late departure, the trouble getting our luggage, etc. when i first found out about skybus i told everyone, but now i’m telling everyone to avoid them. i didn’t save that much money in the long run, and it certainly wasn’t worth the misery of flying with them.