How can SkyBus be the best airline? Here’s how: it is the only airline that consistently delivers on its promise.
The SkyBus promise, as I understand it: SkyBus promises to be nothing more than a way to get there by air at the lowest cost. (Here‘s the difference, in their words.) In my experience, SkyBus delivers.
A Satisfied Customer’s Report
My first two SkyBus flights
were last week. Family business called me to the northern suburbs of
Chicago. The other airlines offered $900 round trip tickets; SkyBus was
$150 to Milwaukee.
Here’s some of what I learned:
- To understand SkyBus, you need to meditate on the "Bus," rather
than the "Sky." SkyBus is like taking the bus, back when taking the bus
could be clean and pleasant.
- Don’t ask, "When are we boarding?" The answer is, "When you see the
plane in the window, we are boarding." This is because the plane sits
at the gate for only 25 minutes. A full fueling takes 24 minutes, so
everything else is done in that time. If a flight runs three minutes
late in the morning, that airplane will be three minutes late all day.
There is no way for them to make up time.
- Everything is designed for speed. In Columbus, where most SkyBus
flights originate or terminate, passengers disembark from the front and
rear of the plane because it’s faster. Passengers leave by ramps rather
than steps, so it’s faster. There are no seat-back pockets, so the
cabin is clean when you disembark.
- Everything else is designed for selling. Passengers are prohibited
from bringing on food and drink and encouraged to buy tasty treats from
SkyBus. But more than that: the familiar get-to-your-seats announcement
— "Flight attendants please prepare cabin for landing and cross check."
— happens about 30 minutes early. That leaves time for the cabin
attendants to model and sell merchandise from a cart. From perfumes to
t-shirts, the SkyMall magazine comes to life. It’s like PEOPLExpress meets Home Shopping Network.
- And if there is anything else it is designed for lowest operating
cost. You want to call customer service? Go to a different airline.
SkyBus has no customer service hotline.
Is this good or bad?
You might read all that and think, "Sounds bad."
Au contraire, mon frere. SkyBus is my favorite airline. Here’s why:
- I used to get on airplanes wondering if I might get a hot
towel. Or fancy crudités. Thinking of air travel as a moment for me
to be luxuriated was dopey. Now other airlines consistently disappoint
me by producing no hot towels. SkyBus has told me, "This is not about
your luxury. This is about your safety, your wallet, and your portage.
Now shut up, smile and fly." I’m up with that.
- There are a dramatic lack of complainers on board. People who like
to complain don’t fly Skybus, because there is no one to receive the
complaint. So the 95% of us who don’t complain no longer pay for people
to receive the complaints of the 5% of society’s moaners, grumblers and
- SkyBus is run by Zen operatives. Everything is based on simplicity
and truth. For example, they measure their on-time performance by when
you get your bag at baggage claim, rather than the industry standards
(opening the door). After all, the Zen monk cares not when she steps
off the plane, if she must then wait 30 minutes for her trunk. (That’s
a monk trunk.)
The biggest worry is that the flight might be canceled, leaving you
with no way to get to your destination. Both of my flights flew, so I
didn’t experience failure. If my flights had been canceled, I would
have changed my plans. To me, that’s worth the cheaper fare. I’d be
happy spending an extra day in Milwaukee. There are breweries to visit.
And the Milwaukee Art Museum. I’m sorry my flight left on schedule. I would have like to have seen that.
You want luxury? Visit the Ritz. You want to fly cheap? Fly SkyBus.