But Some Passengers Say They Won't Be Along For The Ride
Upstart ultra-low-cost carrier
Skybus still plans to expand service at North Carolina's Piedmont
Triad International Airport in coming weeks, despite the setback
caused by cancelled flights on Christmas Day.
Skybus stranded holiday travelers when it canceled eight
Christmas Day flights in and out of Columbus, OH due to mechanical
problems. Ten more flights were cancelled the next day, victims of
the domino effect to the fledgling airline's relatively small
operation, and minimalist approach.
"Clearly it was a very regrettable situation and made more
regrettable by the fact that it was Christmas Day," Skybus
spokesman Bob Tenenbaum told the News-Record. "The airplane doesn't
know it's Christmas Day, but the people do. Safety is the first
Aggravating the situation for the up-to-1,200 passengers
affected was the fact that Skybus handles customer service only
through its website, and has no reservation agents or even phone
The airline also has no cooperative agreements with other
airlines to find alternate flights for passengers. That miffed some
passengers, but Tenenbaum is unapologetic. He says the policies are
clear, and passengers need to know what they're buying.
"It's incumbent upon the airline to make sure that information's
available," Tenenbaum said. "And frankly I think it's incumbent
upon passengers to know what they're buying. Skybus may not be for
everybody. But people who are uncomfortable with that probably need
to look elsewhere."
One former Skybus passenger she intends to do exactly that from
now on, thank you very much.
"We'll never fly Skybus again. Things happen, but they have to
have a backup plan," said Amber Ankowski, whose Burbank-to-Columbus
flight was canceled. "It's unacceptable putting all those people
out." Ankowski later scored a flight on JetBlue, thanks to a family
Despite the problems, at least one analyst called Skybus's woes
relatively common for a new airline.
"I don't think it's a PR disaster," said Anthony Tangorra, an
airline consultant and chief executive officer of Latitude
Transport Advisory. "I think it's a step on the learning curve for
the public about Skybus and low-cost airlines like them and their