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JetAmerica, new Ohio-based budget airline launched today
When Skybus folded last year, there were rumblings that it might resurrect but in another form. JetAmerica, a new budget airlines has just launched in Toledo. Is Skybus rising like a phoenix from the ashes? Like Skybus, JetAmerica is borrowing some of Ryanair's strategies but unlike Columbus's defunct airline that left behind a hole in airline service and oodles of bills is hoping to avoid Skybus's folly.
From the description in this article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there is a similarity that is close to what we've heard before except one number has been switched for another. Instead of ten $10 one-way seats on each flight, a hallmark of Skybus's glory days, JetAmerica flights will have nine seats for $9. I hope 9 is a luckier number.
Instead of looking to Columbus for its start, Toledo was picked as a hub because the airport is no longer served by a major carrier ever since Continental pulled the plug on Toledo service last fall.
The addition of JetAmerica to the Toledo skies is welcome news. First off, people won't have to go to Cleveland to catch a plane and the hope is that the airlines will attract more business which will help perk up Toledo's economy.
People who live in Lansing, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana and Melbourne, Florida will also benefit from JetAmerica's venture since they are part of the initial route set-up, as is Newark, New Jersey.
The only way I see JetAmerica working is if there is a real person on the phone for customer service questions, the flights aren't canceled due to aircraft troubles, thus leaving people stranded because the airline doesn't have a relationship with any others, and if the other seats' costs are not as low or as high as Skybus's were.
As a person who rode on Skybus once, but had plans for future flights, particularly to Newburgh, New York until the airline dissed me, buying tickets felt like some sort of strange game show. Like if I wait, will I get those $10 seats?
On a note that makes me feel hopeful that this time a budget airline launched in Ohio will succeed, JetAmerica's first two airplanes, 737-800s are to be leased from Miami Air International until it's clear that the airline will be a success. The flight crew will also be provided. Also, non-stop service from smaller cities is something I do think people will pay for. Tom Barlow, my good friend over at Wallet Pop has his own opinions about JetAmerica and offers more details about the business end of how this airline will work. I have my fingers crossed since Columbus is on the list for future possibilities. I'm hoping for that inexpensive non-stop to Newburgh.
Flights don't begin until July 13, but you can book now.