The Greyhound Bus of the Skies

On Skybus Airlines, a sandwich and soda cost more than the plane ticket.

ByABC News
May 21, 2007, 8:49 AM

May 23, 2007— -- For the cost of a burger and beer, I bought an airline ticket.

That's right. I flew 667 miles, and it cost me only $10.

I am always looking for a good travel deal, and when I heard aboutSkybus Airlines, which offers at least 10 seats on each of its flightsfor $10, I went online and booked a ticket.

And that's the only way to buy a ticket. Skybus takes no-frills flying to a new level.Self-service is the theme here. The airline has no phone number.Passengers are encouraged to check themselves in online or at airportkiosks. About the only thing I didn't have to do waspilot the plane.

I decided to fly on the airline's first day of service.The airline is based in Columbus, Ohio, and all flights go throughColumbus. I bought a ticket from Portsmouth, N.H., to Columbus, and thenback again the next morning.

Both flights were comfortable, but unfortunately, the first onewas not on time. The plane left 71 minutes late.Not a great start for a new airline.

Skybus' inaugural flight was a big event. Most of the airport staff came out onto the tarmac to watch the flight. Even some Transportation Security Administration screeners came up to the windows to watch.

The plane one of two new Airbus A319 jets leased from Virgin America was roomy and quiet.

Skybus plans to lease 15 planes by the end of the year as it addscapacity. The planes have 144 seats, a few more seats than the typicalAirbus A319. Skybus has a contract to buy 65 new jets from Airbus.Those planes will seat 156 passengers, making for an even tighter ride.

Before the plane even took off, Skybus was tempting me to open my wallet. Flight attendants passed out catalogs, offering watches, necklaces, pens, sunglasses, makeup, perfume.

Flight attendants told us about the merchandise long before anybody gave asafety lecture. It was like the Home Shopping Network at 35,000 feet.

Both flights were a little more than half full.Madeline Moreau, from Lewiston, Maine, was flying to Columbus to seeher granddaughter and great-granddaughters."With the price they were giving us, I couldn't refuse," she said.With taxes and fees, she paid $37, roundtrip.

Leslie Dillon, grew up in the Indianapolis. area, and is now agraduate student at the University of New Hampshire.