New low-cost airline Skybus plans May launch and $10 fares

Budget travelers in the U.S. will have another option in less than a month, as Skybus has announced its intention to take to the skies on May 22. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the new carrier plans to launch with nine destinations across the country. At first glance, Skybus seems promising, but as with all new business ventures, particularly in the competitive airline industry, the proof will be in the pudding.

What looks good from a potential passenger's perspective is the diverse route map, with flights to cities as spread out as Bellingham (Washington), Burbank, and Portsmouth (New Hampshire). These smaller airports will help keep costs low for the startup airline while remaining within short drives of major population centers. Bellingham gives travelers access to Seattle and Vancouver, Burbank is in the L.A. area, and Portsmouth is just north of Boston. Another big plus is Skybus' guarantee of at least 10 seats priced at $10 one-way on each of its flights. If this promotion sticks, it will certainly be enticing for those lucky enough to snag one of the cheap seats.

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As the Dispatch points out, the flip side of this pricing structure is Skybus' plans to make like European discounter Ryanair and charge passengers extra for checking bags, onboard snacks, and better seats. On top of the chintzy factor, there's also the very real possibility that Skybus won't be around long. More than a few startup airlines have failed in recent years. Just ask the folks at Independence Air.

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