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.