Skybus Gets Closer

The Skybus website has a map showing that it’s offering flights to Hartford, which it isn’t. But it’s getting a little closer. Starting July 16, the new airline will offer flights between Columbus, Ohio, and Westover Metropolitan Airport in Chicopee, Mass., and you can buy tickets now for as little as $10.

From Columbus you can fly Skybus to a dozen other cities, mainly on the West Coast and in the Southeast. And if you shop ahead, you may be able to snag another $10 fare for a second leg to one of those places. (There’s more from The Columbus Dispatch.)

But keep in mind that many of the airports that Skybus serves are not exactly where the airlines suggests they are. "Boston" is Portsmouth, N.H., "Seattle" is Bellingham, Wash., and "Jacksonville" is St. Augustine, Fla.

Even with definitions that loose, I’m not sure how Chicopee becomes Hartford. Westover Metropolitan Airport is 35 miles and at least 40 minutes by car from Hartford, which is served by the much closer Bradley International Airport.

I think Skybus would be much more honest to call the Westover airport Springfield, which is less than 10 miles away.

This business of saying a flight goes to a city when it goes into an outlying airport is not new. Bradley isn’t in Hartford, of course – it’s in Windsor Locks. The Cincinnati airport isn’t even in Ohio – it’s across the state line in Kentucky. But they are, in any case, the commercial airports that primarily serve those cities.

Skybus goes t0o far by suggesting that Portsmouth is Boston and Chicopee is Hartford. This is silly and deceptive. It may be worth it for someone from central Connecticut to drive to Chicopee for a super-low fare, but it’s pointless to try to make people think they won’t have to make the drive. Nobody’s going to fall for that, especially the savvy bargain-hunters who should be Skybus’ best customers.

The whole thing backfires, anyway, by undermining passengers’ trust. I was actually surprised to discover that, to Skybus, San Diego is really San Diego, Fort Lauderdale really is Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco is Oakland, which is close enough for me to give them a pass. I just figured they’d fib about those airports, too.

Anyway, if you want those $10 fares (plus taxes and fees, etc) best get going. They’ll be sold out fast.


3 thoughts on “Skybus Gets Closer

  1. Walker Evans

    Uhm… on their website as soon as you click on a destination it tells you what airport and city you’re flying into.
    I don’t think they’re trying to deceive anyone. For most people, a $10 ticket is worth the trip even if you’re 30 miles from your actual destination. Most people are going to rent a car regardless of which airport they fly into, right?

  2. Chris

    The long-standing definition of BDL has been ‘Hartford/Springfield,’ and perhaps Skybus would be better off by defining Westover as ‘Springfield/Hartford?’
    It will be interesting to see how successful the Westover service is. The $10 fare might be appealing (if you can get it) but it comes with one hefty string attached: the evening flight deposits passengers in Columbus with no way to fly onward until the next morning. That means a hotel room which would quickly negate whatever savings someone realized on the flight itself.

  3. jonzun

    Ms Leblanc
    You know as well as most that it is more economical (verbiage wise) for Skybus, flying into secondary and tertiary airports, to say the destination is Boston, then to say “Portsmouth, New Hampshire … you know, that city that’s about 53 or so miles from Boston.” EVERYONE does it. It’s all about finding that reference point that everyone knows. I don’t think Skybus is trying to be deceptive. Some may ask “Where is Bellingham?” – It’s between Seattle and Vancouver.” Oh, ok. I now have a better understanding of where Bellingham is in the State. “Where is Burbank?” – Just outside of LA. “Oh, I see. I always thought it was closer to San Diego.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *