Saturday, June 30, 2007

Flying has changed so much it’s hard to picture how it was 10 years ago. I remember my first flight: I moved from Philadelphia to Salinas, California after receiving an invite from my Uncle Ralph Eugene Roberts; may he rest in peace. I flew on Continental Airlines, which for a while left such impression on me, that it was the only airline I flew by choice. The more I flew, the more I enjoyed it. I remember my first, first-class flight, it was also on Continental and I flew non-stop from Los Angeles International Airport to Philadelphia. They served rack of lamb with mint jelly and we actually used real knives and forks. Yes, there was a time when a plastic knife was a taboo.

That was then and this is now. With the rising cost of fuel and airline tickets, more and more discount airlines are popping up every where, but just as many are quickly vanishing. For example, Song Airlines, was quickly gobbled up by Delta Airlines. Now, if you log onto flysong.com you will be redirected to Delta’s website.
Discount airlines scare the big airline carriers because they sometimes offer last minute cheap tickets. In the past when you needed to take a last minute flight you were required to spend what was tantamount to a first class ticket. But now you can find a last minute ticket for less than three hundred dollars through many discount airlines. For example, I booked a last minute flight through Frontier Airlines from San Francisco to Atlanta, the day before my flight. In the past unless it was a bereavement flight, you still paid about 500 dollars . The cost of my last minute one-way flight was 190 dollars.

Now there is a new breed of discount airlines. Skybus Airlines offers self-service air service, which means you have to pay for any extras and I mean ANY extras. A pillow could cost you three dollars, and you have to check your own luggage. But a plane ticket will cost you only 10 dollars. Okay, only 10 seats are available at that price. Skybus does not have a phone number and is a completely no frill airline service based in Ohio. Some are calling it the Greyhound of the sky. I am curious to see how long this company will stay in business or if anyone else will follow suit.

But I guess as long as the air service gets me there without incident all is well. I just hope the no frills service does not include the maintenance or for that matter no frill pilots.

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