Charlotte Gets a Taste of America’s Ryanair Copycat

Charlotte County Airport officials will announce today that Skybus, the Ohio-based, ultra-low cost airline, will soon begin service from Punta Gorda to its hub in Columbus. This is the airline that has taken a page out of Ryanair’s book to become America’s cheapest airline…and they charge passengers for each bag, each drink and sell ads on the sides of their planes.

The carrier serves 11 airports: Fort Lauderdale; St. Augustine; Bellingham, Wash.; Burbank, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; Chicopee, Mass.; Greensboro, N.C.; Kansas City, Mo; Portsmouth, N.H.; Richmond, Va.; and San Diego. They fly one type of plane, an Airbus A319.

In October, Skybus received government permission to begin international flights to places such as Nassau, Bahamas, and Cancun, Mexico.

Claim to fame: Promotes fares that are purportedly 25 percent less than Southwest Airlines, with some tickets as low as $10. Skybus guarantees that a minimum of 10 of those tickets will be offered for each flight.

Gimmick: Skybus is a so-called “a la carte” airline, where passengers pay separately for such things as seat selection, checked luggage, blankets or a soda.