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Skybus Double Dip: The CEO Emails Us... and New Routes!

January 7, 2008 at 10:30 AM | by | Comment (1)

We talk a lot about Skybus around here, and we've even gone so far to name the low cost carrier Best Travel Newcomer of 2007. All of which prompted Skybus CEO Bill Diffenderffer (at right in the photo) to write in to say hello. We've been hard on the airline in the past, but we've got nothing but respect for a guy who will reach out to tell his side of the story:

I was flattered and surprised that you selected Skybus as Best Travel Newcomer--whatever that means! I was surprised because most bloggers still don't understand our model. They want us to have help desks and generally behave in a manner similar to what they are used to (even though that model doesn't work very well). It is not possible to do that at the fares that we charge.

What Diffenderffer didn't mention were rumors that Skybus could soon announce service to "Philadelphia" (actually Wilmington, Delaware), "Chicago" (Gary, Indiana) and "Toronto" (Niagara Falls, New York, 80 miles away and in a different country). The carrier's been scouting Niagara Falls for months, so something's definitely shaking on that front.

Officials at the airports are staying mum, as is the airline's spokesman. But all three destinations would fit well into Skybus' model of smaller airports in outlying areas serving passengers who wouldn't normally have access to commercial flights. Here's hoping Diffenderffer emails us as soon as he's ready to confirm all three of the new cities.

Post-click, the full email from the Skybus CEO.

Dear Jaunted,

As CEO of Skybus I read with interest your comments about us. I was flattered and surprised that you selected Skybus as Best Travel Newcomer--whatever that means! I was surprised because most bloggers still don't understand our model. They want us to have help desks and generally behave in a manner similar to what they are used to (even though that model doesn't work very well). It is not possible to do that at the fares that we charge.

The huge majority of the hundreds of thousands of passengers that we have already served love the trade-off. Some don't. And when things go wrong, there isn't much margin to do much more than give people their money back--and even that can sometimes take a little while.

But our fares are on average less than half of everyone else's. You should fly our flights [some time] and count all the kids and families who are flying when before Skybus they weren't. You should talk to all the passengers who flew for ten bucks! (That is well over a hundred thousand people.)

So from your comments, I believe you do sincerely want what is best for the travelling public--and so do we. We want to deliver affordable travel for everyone. And by the way, we do care about our customers. It hasn't bothered me at all that my cell phone went national--and none of us here changed our office numbers after they were first "outed". Lots of facts about us are similarly distorted because we threaten the established order. Anyway, Happy New Year!

Bill Diffenderffer

Related Stories:
· 2007 Awards: Best Travel Newcomer [Jaunted]
· New Skybus Routes [TheAirDB]
· We were on Skybus' Second Flight Ever [Jaunted]
· Skybus coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Greg Sailor for The New York Times]

Comment (1)

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I now live in Toronto!

Thanks Skybus...since I'm closer to Toronto than Niagara falls is, I'm proud to say I must live in Toronto.  Or maybe I live in Niagara falls now?  Am I still Canadian?

I'm not even sure how pleasant public transportation is between the two cities - even if Niagara Falls Ontario has decent options, how would you get there from Niagara falls NY?

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