Skybus made its first flight to Bradley International Airport a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t on purpose. Maybe that’s why there wasn’t much fanfare.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the flight from Columbus to Portsmouth, N.H., was diverted to Bradley on July 19 because of bad weather. After waiting for hours on the tarmac at Bradley, the flight took off again – back to Columbus.
The flight was supposed to take less than two hours. Instead, passengers spent nine hours on the plane, just to end up back in Columbus. Then the flight was canceled. The passengers were offered seats on another flight – 26 hours after their initial departure.
You can drive from Columbus to Portsmouth in 12 hours, according to Yahoo! Maps.
It didn’t help that Skybus’ electronic communications failed, so its self-service kiosks at the airport weren’t working for the stranded passengers and the Skybus Web site had no information about the flight for the people who were waiting on the other end. (Skybus has no customer service phone number.)
Plus all this happened just one day after CEO Bill Diffenderffer said Skybus had never canceled a flight.
What this story demonstrates is not that Skybus is a bad airline. It demonstrates that Skybus has no bench. Until it’s big enough to have extra crews, extra aircraft and reliable communication, Skybus will not deal well with relatively minor problems like this.
"They had no plan B," one passenger on the diverted flight told the Dispatch.
Naturally, passengers are delighted with Skybus when things go well, as this report from Jacksonville attests.
"You pays your money and you takes your chances," as the saying goes.