After the success of RyanAir and other budget airlines in Europe, it was just a matter of time before a similar model washed ashore here in the US. Enter Skybus, a Columbus-based carrier, set to begin service May 22. Destinations include: Boston (actually, Portsmouth NH), Ft. Lauderdale, Greensboro NC, Kansas City, Burbank, Richmond VA, Oakland, and Bellingham WA. How low are the fares? Well, for starters, every flight has a minimum (a minimum) of 10 seats available for $10. Those are readily available on most flights we checked, but on flights from, say, Burbank to Columbus, fares range from $50 one-way to $125 one-way.
Want to book a trip from Burbank to Ft Lauderdale on Skybus? Well, be prepared to buy two separate tickets. One round-trip from Burbank to Columbus, and a second round-trip from Columbus to Boston. That means you'll have to comb over flight schedules and connection times yourself in order to make such a trip work. How hard can that be? Let's see here...Burbank to Columbus, June 13, $50, departing at 8:23 am, arriving at 3:33 pm. Returning from Columbus, June 20, $75, departing at 3:58 pm, arriving 5:26 pm. Next leg: Columbus to Boston, June 13, $10, departs 7:01 pm, arrives at 8:41 pm. Boston to Columbus, June 20, $30, departing at 9:05 am and arriving back in Columbus at 10:54 am, with plenty, plenty, of time to make that 3:58 pm flight back to Burbank. And the entire trip ends up costing us $202, including taxes. Is it worth it? The best price we found for this trip on Orbitz was $323 round-trip, including taxes, and that comes with a layover in Phoenix.
Remember folks, this airline has the word 'bus' in its name, so don't go expecting a lot of frills. Heck, don't expect any frills. At all. If you want a snack, you’ll have to buy it from the flight attendant. If you show up with your 300lb Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, expect to pay for the extra baggage weight. Budget airlines are good for fulfilling their most basic obligation, which is getting you from point A to point B, for mere peanuts, without actual peanuts.