New Airline Promises Low Fares and No Bag Fees

There's a new discount airline in town. PEOPLExpress recently announced plans to begin service in 2012, making its base of operations at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia. According to a press release on the airline's website, the carrier will serve cities including Pittsburgh, Providence, West Palm Beach, and Newark.

Does the name ring a bell? PEOPLExpress may sound familiar to travelers no longer in their twenties. The discount airline was plying the skies in the 1980s, until it was acquired by Continental in 1987. And now it's back—sort of.

The PEOPLExpress of the 21st-century is the "legacy namesake" of the original carrier, which means it's not the same airline. Since Continental didn't keep the PEOPLExpress name after swallowing up the airline, the new PEOPLExpress was at liberty to revive the moniker.

Why reuse an old carrier's name? According to the press release, "The original PEOPLExpress changed the face of the airline industry in the 1980s, and the revived brand vows to re-ignite the brand's unique spirit of innovation to address today's market needs."

Reports the Associated Press, PEOPLExpress version 1.0 "was known for offering fares for as low as $19 while turning a profit." In addition to dirt-cheap tickets, travelers can expect fewer superfluous charges from the revived carrier. Chief Operating Officer Mike Morisi offers good news for flyers fed up with fees in a statement on the PEOPLExpress website, promising not to charge for extra bags or special seat assignments.

To keep prices low, the airline will only operate one kind of plane, the 158-passenger Boeing 737-400; this will help reduce maintenance costs. In addition, PEOPLExpress hopes to beat the competition by flying planes that have more seats than most aircraft operated by regional airlines, thus affording a better pricing structure.

But it's not official yet. The airline has filed paperwork with the Federal Aviation Administration and is waiting for government approval before it can start service. We'll keep you posted.

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