Skybus has been having mechanical trouble with a couple of its planes over the past few days, and has canceled 18 flights so far. It’s another manifestation of Skybus’ biggest weakness: no bench.
Skybus has just nine A319s, two of which were just recently delivered and don’t seem to be in service yet. So two aircraft constitute more than 25 percent of the active fleet, and when they go out of service it creates a big problem.
When these things happen over Christmas, it creates a public relations mess, too.
This problem may resurface if Skybus continues to fly such an aggressive schedule with so few aircraft. Skybus is still a long way from reaching the critical mass of, say, Southwest Airlines, which has more than 500 aircraft, or even Ryanair in Europe, which has more than 150. When a Skybus jet goes out of service, there’s no spare. The flight is canceled.
This is tough on passengers because Skybus has no agreements to endorse its customers over to other airlines. They can take a refund or wait for Skybus to book them on a later flight. And with only one or two flights a day to most destinations, Skybus passengers may wait a long time for the next open seat.
We all have to roll with the punches when we fly. Passengers need to realize that they may save money with Skybus, but they may also have to roll a little farther.