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Skybus Flight Reviews: Ten Dollar High Life Or Headache?

May 30, 2007 at 4:54 PM | by | ()

Jaunted member VA Gator flew the Skybus as well, his unedited flight review is here. We have made reviewing Skybus flights an open thread here at Jaunted. To add your Skybus review just become a Jaunted member and leave your rants and raves in the comments below.

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SkyBus from RIC to CMH - Worth the $10 and not a penny more.

My wife and I recently flew from Richmond, VA to Columbus for business. While we were optimistic that the experience would be pleasurable, we quickly realized that we got what we paid for.

We checked in on-line 23 hours and 5 minutes prior to our departure - and were placed in boarding group 3. For those of you who have flown Southwest Airlines, Skybus' groups 1-3 are identical to that of SW's A, B, and C groups. I'm assuming that boarding groups were assigned on a first come, first served basis - which means that the other 156 passengers must have been even more eager than I to check in on-line well in advance. I paid for our two bags during the on-line check in experience and printed the boarding passes...everything seemed to be, well, normal.

We arrived at RIC some 90+ minutes prior to departure and proceeded to the SkyBus counter, decorated with orange and yellow balloons. There were two lines - one for passengers who had already printed boarding passes, and one for those who had not yet done so. We stood in line with others who had already checked in and immediately felt that sinking feeling in our stomachs. After ten minutes, our line had not moved an inch. Four counter agents, dressed in their t-shirts, appeared to be receiving the epitome of 'on the job training.' Blank stares, numerous "hrmmmmm's", and lots of questions, but enough about the desk clerks! After standing in our spot in line for 15 minutes (we were numbers 9 and 10 in our line), we began to wonder if it would have been quicker to check in at the airport - to our dismay, the answer was a resounding 'yes.' In the 28 minutes it us to move from spots 9 and 10 to the actual counter, THIRTEEN customers had walked to the kiosks, checked in on the touch-screen, paid for their luggage (which can ONLY be paid AT THE KIOSK!!! Counter staff was directing customers who had yet to pay for baggage BACK to the kiosk to pay as "they could not accept payment individually) checked their luggage with a clerk, and proceeded to gate B-15. One of the counter clerks left her computer monitor, and approached the folks in our line. Expecting to hear something like, "Good morning!!! Welcome to SkyBus! Be patient with us, please, we have a, uh, computer glitch this morning," we became increasingly perturbed when she came to us with a handful of skybus luggage tags and asked, with a scornful tone, "Need one?"

After finally getting to the counter, the clerk (not the before-mentioned tag lady) made us feel even more unsure as she took our boarding passes and drivers licenses, matched them up incorrectly (my license with wife's pass, and vice versa), smiled, and said "Ok, you're all set." She kept my driver's license - which I had to ask for to get back.

We went to gate B-15 and noticed the roped-off isles for groups 1, 2, and 3. About 5 minutes before the incoming flight landed, the gate clerk (the tag lady from before, who was now stationed at the gate) announced that boarding would begin shortly. Just like with Southwest, hordes of people moved to the three lanes, some trying to nudge out others to get a better spot. 22 minutes after this announcement, the plane had landed, de-boarded, and was ready for new passengers. Not too bad, as you can easily stand in a similar line on Southwest for upwards of 35 minutes or more.

We boarded the plane and took our seats which were EXTREMELY narrow..and legroom!?!?! Can we say "non-existent"? I still have the words "fasten seat-belt at all times" implanted on my femur..ok, a slight exaggeration there..sorry. Fortunately we had an empty seat between us for the 45 min flight and were able to stretch out a bit...I could not imagine sitting in these seats for a 5-hour cross-country flight.

We departed RIC 45 minutes behind schedule because the head-count made by the flight attendants did not match the count in the computer. Soo.....an attendant announced over the PA system that they were going to follow an FAA procedure to see who was there and who was not - they called roll!!!!! I felt like I was on a high-school band trip..What was even more confusing was that the attendant did not call the names of every passenger. He called the name of my wife, but did not call mine. He said later that he did not call the names of all passengers - only the names of primary people in traveling parties. Is that really safe!!!!?!?!?! If you want to know who is on the plane and who is not, wouldn't you want to call the names of ALL OF THE PASSENGERS!?!?! Especially post 9/11????

We finally departed RIC and the actual flight was just like that on any other airline - smooth, some very minor turbulence, nice touch-down, etc. Pilots were friendly and courteous - although I was not impressed with the flight attendant's announcing of "Capt. Jimmy and his first officer, Tom." I felt like I was about to be served a meal at Shoney's with that sort of introduction.

We declined offers to buy food and beverage, although the food DID actually look and smell good. We were seated near the rear of the plane and there appeared to be many selections remaining for purchase. We arrived in CMH well behind schedule, but no worse for wear. When Jimmy parked the plane, the flight attendant announced that for some reason, 24 pieces of luggage were left at RIC. He blamed it on the TSA folks who had inadvertently "left those items sitting in a corner." While I'd like to believe that a government operation screwed up (shocker, I know!!) never before had I heard such an absurd statement. I felt like I was back teaching in elementary school (which I did for three years) - "Mr. Smith, Jimmy wanted me to tell you that he left our suitcases at home, but it wasn't his fault because the crossing guard told him to put  them down, and then there was a circus bus that came by and distracted him and he forgot to get the them, but then his puppy ran off and........." OYE - well, my wife's suitcase made it to CMH, buy mine was one of the lucky 24 which suffered the fate of the TSA. A SkyBus baggage agent (who was pleasurable and helpful, apologetic, etc) handed each of us who did not have our luggage, a blank piece of paper with the following items written in ball-point-pen:

Phone number:
Description of Suitcase:
Delivery Address:

To their credit, they WERE trying to help and I filled out the form and returned it to the agent. He informed me that the luggage would be in CMH by 4:30pm that afternoon (seven hours after our touch-down time). We returned to the airport around 6pm and my suitcase was indeed there!!! The agent was supposed to call me and notify me when it had arrived, but no call came to my cell phone. It didn't really matter at that point.

As I said before, we got what we paid for .... on THIS leg of our trip. Our tickets from RIC were 10 bucks each. Our return tickets were 135 each. Round trip with fees and taxes - 189.99 for each of us. My recommendation: if you can get the $10 fare, go for it!!! Be prepared to spend an equal amount on food and beverage if desired, and...oh yes...don't forget to budget money to CHECK YOUR SUITCASE(s). If the $10 fare is not available, spend your money with a different outfit - Delta, USAir, Airtran, Southwest, etc. ...or maybe give SkyBus another shot - if your experience is like mine, you'll have plenty to talk about!!

Related Stories:
· Skybus Coverage [Jaunted]

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Archived Comments:

Dear va gator

First off you are trailer trash you paid 10$ for a ticket to fly and your still complaining. That airline probably spent 150$ in fuel to get you to your destination, instead of saying thank you you come here and leave negative comments. SHAME ON YOU NEXT TIME HITCH UP YOUR TRAILER AND DRIVE.

@ ponyracer00

Ease up a bit, VA Gator was just giving his opinion.  That is what we are hoping to gather in the comments here--skybus flight reviews.

Of course, different people are going to have different opinions, but the hope is cobbling those together will help you and others determine if you want to fly Skybus and what price you are willing to pay to do so.

Personally, I had a different experience than VA Gator, you can read about other Jaunted Skybus experiences here.  And if you fly them, be sure to come back here and give us your review.

Whoa there ponyracer00

Seems to me va gator provided exactly what was "advertised".  That would be A REVIEW.  It was timely, informative and even a bit amusing...as "airline reviews" go.

As for your other comments...why the disparaging barrage.  
1)Since when does someone who smartly takes advantage of a bargain qualify as "trailer trash".  
2)Why should someone say "thank you" when the service the receive is sub-standard and potentially dangerous, just because they paid a discounted price.  Does this also apply to food service, education, health care or other "paid for" services.  Should some one who pays in state tuition be entitled to less of an education than someone who pays the out of state rate? Should one get slower response time for an ambulance call because they are on disability, Medicare (or Medicaid for that matter) or even have health insurance that has a co-pay?
3)Va gators comments were at least founded on experience.  What are yours based on?


Its funny that you people do not seem to live in the "real world". Lets say this guy had to drive from RIC TO Columbus 1. hes putting miles on his car 2. its 476 miles + which is about 7 hrs and 42 minutes How much gas would he waste + wear and tear on his car.  Gas prices are pretty outrageous. He will probably get hungry during those 8 hours of driving. So heres an airline giving him the opportunity to fly for $$$10$$$$$ WOW. And he comes here and complains. That my friend is Trailer TRASH behavior, and not a grateful traveler. I'm not sure where you live my friend but My healthcare costs about 1000$ a month. What do I get for my service you ask? 1 week wait for a doctor (I tried 3 different Mds all with the same waiting time) 15$ copay and 20% of the remaining part of the bill. Education you must not live in NYC or the tristate area because if you did your kids would be going to private school and not a dicount school. Your comparing apples and oranges.  This person should be on here telling us about his travel, but in the long run he should be on his HANDS AND KNEES thanking that airline for letting a piece of trash like him get onto their aircraft. And what all this comes down to is the freedom of speech he comes here and bitches for no reason and I feel he owes and apology to this airline and to the world for being born. If he wants first class service fly emirates first class for 10,000$ then he can come here and complain.

It was a review, duh?

So now when somebody does a review of a flight (regardless of price) any criticism is regarded as a complaint.  My god, get new health insurance and stop being an idiot.  

I liked it!

My husband and I flew Skybus to Richmond on June 1, 2007. It was a lovely experience. We checked in online for the outgoing and return trips and got to the airport an hour before the flight. We had to reprint our boarding passes, but there was no line at the kiosk. We were in Group 2 and got good seats. Boarding and deplaning from the front and back of the aircraft really speeded things up. Our first flight left on time; the second left 10 minutes late. The plane was clean and new. A previous reviewer thought the seats narrow and legroom short, but I thought it the seat fit was average, better than many planes I've been on. The plane wasn't too hot or cold, and I especially liked that it was quiet. My pet peeve is frequent loud announcements about altitude, weather and marketing pitches (blah, blah, blah). We have bought tickets to four more destinations this year and are looking forward to traveling Skybus again.


You obviously don't have a clue as to what a review is.  VAGator gave us the factual account of his flight and shared his opinions. He has absolutely no obligation to "get on his hands and knees" and most certainly he owes no one an apology.  If anything, Skybus should thank VAGator and EVERY other passenger.  Please understand that without customers, businesses usually don't last long.  And, you can bet that they are actually making money.  They didn't raise 160 million by promising investors that they would do nice things for people and hope to break even.  I'm flying Skybus in December, Columbus to Burbank.  I'm happy that I now know what to expect.  Additionally, I'll expect the folks at Skybus to thank me when the flight is over...although they can remain standing while doing it.


Deserted us in Columbus OH, couldn't offer us a refund at that time (system down), couldn't offer us a new flight for 4 days (over booked), couldn't help us get another flight elsewhere!!

Ended up costing is $900 to get home



our Skybus experience--August 2007

Since we live in Columbus and wanted to root for the hometown airline, we were eager to try Skybus. We paid $69 for CMH to Pease and back.  Pease was ideally located for us to drive to Maine for a college visit. We knew we might have to put up with a few things since this is a new airline and a discounter.

The ticket/kiosk area at CMH was a madhouse, but an employee quickly sorted everyone out.  However, the flight was delayed for hours due to a mechanical problem.  My husband, a pilot, had a chat with the Skybus pilot, who recommended that we switch to another airline. After getting a refund from Skybus, we did switch to Jet Blue (great experience but hundreds of dollars more and a 6 hour drive from Boston to Maine--but that's another story). We learned later that the Skybus flight was cancelled, and quite a few of the customers ended up with us on Jet Blue. During the hours before we switched airlines, we noticed that the gate employees were obviously getting that good old on-the-job training, but one was particularly unprofessional as she moved amongst the passengers asking to borrow hand cream, etc.

We kept the return flight out of Pease, which was delayed due to weather.  The gate employees and TSA people at Pease were very friendly and provided lots of updates. It was nice to be at a smaller airport without all of the parking hassle.  Once on the plane, we noticed immediate discomfort. My husband is 6' 2", and fortunately he got an aisle seat. It was very cramped.  The flight attendants told us that they'd run out of food on the previous flight (not good news for people trapped in an airport for hours with no more than a vending machine--that's the downside to the smaller airport).  They did run sort of an infomercial on merchandise they were selling, and judging from the grumbles around us, that did not go over well. Other than selling beverages and merchandise, we didn't see much of the attendants.  They sat up in the front and talked and seemed strangely disconnected from the flight.  They were young--gum-chewing, lip-smacking, really disconnected flight attendants.  Although this did not bother my husband, I got the feeling that in an emergency, these flight attendants might not be the best crew to help passengers.

My husband said he would fly with Skybus again if he got a $10 ticket on a short flight. I'm not so sure...  Neither of us would fly cross country with them for any price because we were just too uncomfortable.  We think Skybus needs to work hard to bring all of their flight attendants to a more professional standard--and maybe cut the sales of merchandise.

Great! Another Discount Airline that is clueless.

Skybus...Better Than Reveiwed

Fly Skybus!

My wife & I just returned from San Francisco.  We flew out of Columbus to Oakland on 8/26 & returned 9/1.  While we are not frequent fliers we do fly once to twice a year on average and have experience flying many different carriers.  We did NOT pay $10 per seat...and we don't feel slighted one bit.  We WILL fly Skybus again, especially in light of the terrible costs of flying out of Cincinnati (our closest major airport).

But we will fly Skybus again for reasons other than cost:  they do a great job!  Every member of the staff (in flight and on the ground) was polite, courteous, & friendly.  Our outgoing & incoming flights were either on-time or early.  The food we paid for was good (slightly overpriced BUT, considering the in flight staff is at the lower level of the pay scale...and is so darn pleasant...I don't mind...their service was better than most of the "pros" we've run into from Delta, AA, United, etc.!).  Yes..you also will get a sales pitch or two for the "trinkets, treats, and sparkly things" they sell during the flight...but it is NOT high-pressure or bothersome....unless you are one of those people who are annoyed at just about anything.  And...please...if you are that type of person, please find some other airline anyway!  In fact, the whole Skybus attitude & experience was quite refreshing.

The tips you've probably already read about checking in & printing your boarding passes on-line, getting there early, & standing in line are worth following and remembering.  If you can afford the extra $10 for priority seating...do it!  If you can't or you just don't care where you sit on a flight...pocket that $10 and enjoy the ride.  We don't have young children, so standing in line is no big deal but...if you have children...you'd be wise to bring some entertaining stuff to keep them occupied while you wait.

The planes are new or pretty darn near new.  The seats are quite comfortable...and we ought to know after flying 4 1/2 hours one way twice!  This is NOT some junky, bargain-basement carrier with crummy planes that may get you there alive.  Skybus is...for the average, everyday human being...a great way to get to and from their destinations comfortable and safely.

A few Oakland observations for you:  be ready for a different type of airport than Pt. Columbus or Cincy or Indy when you de-plane in Oakland.  In comparison, Oakland's airport is less clean, less organized, and generally less friendly than any of the previously mentioned airports.  If you take public transportation to get to San Francisco you will take the BART shuttle bus ($3.00 per person) to the Oakland Coliseum stop....change to one of the BART trains (catch the right one...not all of them go to San Fran!) which will vary in cost depending on where you plan to get off in S.F. (you will need to pay BEFORE you go up to the train platform).  I strongly suggest you acquaint yourself with both the BART and MUNI systems BEFORE you go and TAKE A COPY OF THE TRANSIT MAPS WITH YOU for reference sake as they are not always as conveniently posted for review as they are in other cities (like Chicago, for example).  Also, depending on the time of year you travel, be ready for a higher temperature in Oakland than in San Francisco...so don't just pack clothes for one season if you are weather-sensitive.

We gave Skybus a shot...and were pleasantly suprised.  We think you will be, too!

it's not worth it

skybus is a disaster.  there is nothing about my recent trip to recommend the experience.  i paid more for my next trip to avoid ever dealing with skybus again.  it's just not worth it.

the ticket agents clearly had no idea what they were doing, and they made no effort to hide this.  they also made no effort to be friendly. i would have given them a lot of slack if they had suggested that they were a new airline trying to work out the kinks, but instead they just told me to go online if i wanted answers.  (for the record, i did that, and have had no reply - three weeks later)

i was sent back and forth between kiosks, ended up paying to check my bag twice since it never showed up in the online system (at home or the kiosk) and then was told there was nothing they could do about it.  yet again, they told me to go online.  i asked for a refund for the error on their part, and you got it - have heard nothing.  it may seem like asking for a $10 baggage check refund is silly, but they charge for every little extra, so when they double charge, the flights start to get as expensive as a real airline.

i won't even go into the misery of the confusion at the gate, the late departure, the trouble getting our luggage, etc.  when i first found out about skybus i told everyone, but now i'm telling everyone to avoid them.  i didn't save that much money in the long run, and it certainly wasn't worth the misery of flying with them.

My experience...

Flew from Columbus to Oakland.

Really it wasn't much different than any other plane I've been on. We spent about $26 (for 2 of us) on food & drinks, which was fine by me since our tickets were $50 each. One note though... they offer both sandwiches and wraps. Anne got a sandwich, and I got a wrap. Same price ($10) but my wrap was about half the size of her sandwich. Ugh. I was hungry too...

It was sort of nice to get to choose your own seat as well. The plane was about 90% full, so a few seats open sprinkled here and there. The attendants were nice. Never pushy with their food and merchandise.

The leg room seemed fine as well. I know some people were saying that they're herding people into these things like cattle, but it really wasn't any different than any other plane. Unless you normally fly first class or something?

I'll definitely fly Skybus again. If I can land tickets for less than 25% of what they'd cost through another airline, then paying $10 for a sandwich and $2 for a Diet Pepsi is fine with me.

Flew from Oakland to Columbus.

Returned home this evening. The return flight seemed a bit slower to take off, slower to serve food, and slower in general, but no more so than any other delayed flight we've been on. I think we arrived about 30 minutes late. No big deal.

My only complaint is that they must only stock food on the planes in the morning. Our flight home was the return flight of this plane for the day, and they had ran out of several of the menu items when we tried to order them and had to make substitutions. Bummer.

But again, I can't really complain too much because we were flying home for $10 per person, and you can't beat that.

A++++ for Skybus! Will fly again!

Better than a normal airline

I flew from Hartford (Chicopee, MA) to Columbus and could not be more pleased.  First of all, I am a college student in the pioneer valley area, and the Chicopee "airport" is actually closer to the five colleges than any major airport...someone told me that you can even get there (or very close by) for free/cheap on the extensive PVTA bus system from anywhere in the valley.  I believe the one Skybus flight that flies to Chicopee every day is currently the only flight at the airport, so it was not crowded at all, I didn't have to walk far (it is basically one room), and all of the staff were very friendly and helpful.  Even though I'd checked in online and printed my boarding pass, they had no problem printing me a new one when I left it in the car (and I remained in group 2).  As far as boarding and the flight itself goes...I've flown with Ryanair before and I guess I was expecting the experience to be comparable to that, but it wasn't at all.  With Ryanair, everyone basically sits around at the gate until one person gets in the boarding line.  Then the stampede happens.  I stood in one of those crowds for over two hours once.  With Skybus, it was nothing like that.  We only stood for about 15 minutes and only after we'd respectfully gotten in line when being told to do so by the gate agent.  The flight was on time and even though we had a full plane we managed to board in what seemed like about 10 minutes.  The seats were very comfortable (leather, wide) and seemed as far apart as any normal plane--I am a tall person and I had no problems.  It was nothing like the Ryanair planes where the seats are packed so close together that you can barely get in much less stand up.  Also, the inside of the plane was not plastered with advertisements like Ryanair planes are.  The flight was very pleasant...I especially enjoyed it when everyone clapped in appreciation of the low fares as we were taking off.  I bought a Snickers bar for $2 and watched a TV show on my laptop during the 1.5 hour flight.  When we landed in Columbus (early), I was able to basically stand up and walk off the plane within minutes.  My return flight was equally good, though it was delayed 20 minutes.  So not only did I find Skybus far better than Ryanair, but I actually enjoyed it more than a normal airline.  I didn't have to transfer or walk through a big airport, there was no waiting, and I paid $35 total for it!  And now that Greensboro (near where I live) is a hub, I can get nonstop flights home for practically nothing.  I don't think nearest major airport (Hartford) even has direct flights to North Carolina, and if it did, they'd cost about $400!

My Skybus Review - 2 THUMBS UP

1.) The Price....110.00 rt for two people, Columbus to Ft. Myer.
2.) The Schedule...15 min delay departure, on time return.
3.) The Staff....While the staff dresses in tshirts and are a younger crowd, they are pleasant and attentive.  It is clear they like working for Skybus.
4.) The Food....Wonderful...Cheaper than the airport.
5.) Ability to get Cheap Tickets...Just register ur email with them!  Along with my flight to Fl, I got a rt to NC for one person for 56.00 and two rt tickets to NY for 76.00!
6.) The Planes...The cleanest planes I have ever been one!
OVERALL - It was just as good, if not better than any other airline I have been on.  Just give it a chance!  Register your email and get that $10 flight somewhere!  What are you really losing if you dont like it???