Good news for New Englanders: The super low-cost carrier Skybus announced yesterday it's adding new nonstop service between Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and St. Augustine and Punta Gordo, Florida, starting December 17. On its website, Skybus is calling the Portsmouth airport "Boston/Portsmouth," in effort to establish it as a less hectic alternative to Boston's Logan Airport, located about 54 miles south. Up until now, this new startup carrier has only offered flights to or from its hub in Columbus, Ohio.
In typical Skybus fashion, fares on its new route start at $10 each-way. As noted by SmarterTravel columnist Ed Perkins, Skybus is following in the footsteps of European low-cost airline Ryanair, which offers extremely low fares but charges extra for almost everything else. For example, on Skybus you'll pay $5 each for your first two checked bags ($50 for subsequent bags), $10 to board the plane early, and $2 to $10 each for any onboard food or drink item.
While these fees may annoy some, Skybus' cheap fares and nonstop service will likely make low-maintenance New England flyers very happy. With such low fares, I suspect many in the Boston area will be taking quick two- or three-day breaks to the Florida sunshine this winter. I'm one Bostonian hoping Skybus will expand at Portsmouth even further, adding cross-country flights to other cities it now serves from Columbus, like San Francisco and Seattle.