I don’t even want to write another blog entry critical of Skybus. First, I’m hurt by people calling me an idiot who doesn’t appreciate low fares. I love low fares. And second, despite my doubts, I admire Skybus’ scrappy attitude.
But passengers need to understand that Skybus does not operate like one of the Big Six legacy airlines — or even like Southwest and other low-cost carriers. Some customers found that out the hard way recently.
When Skybus decided to stop serving Bellingham, Wash., it simply canceled flights after Jan. 6, even though it had already sold tickets through March 6. Customers who bought tickets for those canceled flights will get full refunds.
But they won’t get a rescheduled flight on another airline. Skybus has no inter-airline agreements. They won’t get a refund for any money they lose on hotel bookings or other charges if they paid in advance.
Traditional airlines simply don’t do this. Oh, they’ll cancel your flight, transfer you to another airline or rebook you on an inconvenient schedule any day. But one way or another they’re going to honor the ticket, eventually, as long as you show up on time.
Of course, traditional airlines don’t sell seats for $10 plus taxes and fees, either.
Caveat emptor? Sure, as long as the customer understands the caveat. So here it is: Skybus ain’t no ordinary airline, and that can be good (for prices) and bad (for reliability and customer service).