The way we travel home was about to change though!
A couple of my co-workers were talking in late June about a new airline that is based out of Columbus Ohio (about seventy miles away) and has very affordable fares. They let me in on the greatest travel secret known as Skybus.com! When Skybus releases tickets for public purchase the first ten seats sell for $10! Two roundtrip tickets for my wife Ashley and I cost $81.60 after taxes and other fees.
Now I know what some people might be thinking, what kind of airline sells tickets for $10! Which is a great question, and believe me, had me concerned as well. I’m not one to take risk when flying with my wife but I assumed they had to be reasonably safe to operate under FAA guidelines!
Skybus keeps their fares low by cutting out several meaningless extras and automating the process of purchasing tickets, checking in, and keeping tabs on the status of the flight. Everything takes place online from the initial order to printing your boarding pass. There is no toll free number to talk to a customer service agent and you don’t see a Skybus employee at the airport until you check your baggage for your flight. I’m used to doing everything online from paying bills to purchasing items off eBay so buying a plane ticket and checking in is no big deal!
Another method for keeping costs low is charging for extras such as in flight drinks, snacks, blankets, pillows. I don’t mind paying a couple of dollars for a drink in flight to only pay $10 for my ticket. They also have a ‘trinket trolley (their name not mine!) which features items such as perfume, chocolate, jewelry and other novelty items but since our flight from Columbus, OH to Kansas City, MO is sort they opted to no bring it down the isle.
Our experiences were mixed at first but extremely pleased later!
We flew out of the Port of Columbus airport on September 18th at 9:22pm, or at least we were supposed too! After checking our bags and getting through TSA security we headed to our assigned gate and waited, and waited, and waited until about thirty minutes before our flight was scheduled to depart. A young man working for Skybus informed us that our flight would be delayed because the pilot scheduled to fly us to Kansas City was delayed on another flight. Around 10:30pm we were boarded and ready to take flight! During the flight the flight attendants were very kind and had great attitudes. My wife and I were interested in trying the in flight food but much to our dismay we were informed they were out of several items. My wife wanted to try the turkey wrap but the flight attendant informed us that they indeed had several available but didn’t feel comfortable severing them since they had been on the plane since 10am earlier that day. Hey I don’t mind missing a case of food poisoning right before our vacation starts! They did have a several refreshments such as pop, tea, water, beer, and alcohol and were reasonably priced from $2 (for pop and water) to $5 for alcoholic beverages. They flight attendants didn’t push any merchandise on us from the ‘trinket trolley’. We arrived in Kansas City around 11:15pm safe and sound and just a bit late.
Our return trip was on time and ran just as expected. They were again out of several snack items. I assume they only stock the planes in the morning before their first flight. One of the other ways I think they keep costs low is to only clean and stock the flights once a day to make a faster turn around on the air craft processing.
I’ve read several mixed reviews of Skybus on other web sites. One recurring theme is the young flight attendants. My experiences were excellent with them but I try not to ask too much of them. One review I noticed questioned their training at handling emergencies in the air. I’m sure the Skybus flight attendants are trained in first aid and CPR like any other airline would. If there was a catastrophic accident, such as a crash, I don’t think someone who is 40 is going to handle it any better than someone who is 25. Heck if I see someone who is calm, cool, and collected after a plane crash, I’m not following them, who knows what’s wrong with them!
Skybus really isn’t for business travelers, since their last minute fares seem to be on par with other budget airlines and lack of business class seating and features but I highly doubt the last minute business flyer is their target audience. Most other passengers were families trying to save money just like us.
My beef (or ham)
Wrapping it all up (without food poisoning!)
We’ll differently fly Skybus again for all of our trips home and maybe even when we take trips to other destinations that Skybus serves. It was a long audacious endeavor to travel home twice a year but flying makes it so much easier and cheaper now! Thank you Skybus!]]>
I was reading today on Ars Technica about BayTSP (a digital copyright protection firm) and how they were contracted by Viacom to find and eliminate pirated clips on video sharing sites like YouTube. This is a very interesting idea but could only happen on the west coast. Viacom supposedly pays $100k per month for their services which include paying individuals $11 per hour to sift through videos and send a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take down notice. On top of that BayTSP claims they have other corporations paying $500k per month for the same services. Now I can’t imagine many other corporations with the same size pirated portfolio as Viacom on sites like YouTube, so who really is paying those $500k per month fees?
There is no way to see inside the operations at BayTSP but from what I can imagine they have a numerous employees working in cube land and once they spot infringing content they can submit the URL for further investigation. The employees tasked with verifying the content of course would have more experience in these matters and more than likely use a standard DMCA notice which they just paste the offending content URLs into. I just can’t believe and entire industry has sprung up over the past ten years based just on watching online videos!
I think this just proves that DRM and that old media fighting new media is here to stay and prosper!]]>
It’s about time in my opinion that the government step in and create broadband networks and license their use just like a public utility. With today’s networking technology it is completely feasible for a new company to open shop and start offering Internet access on a municipal or state owned network. Unlike water and power works, consumers can have a choice on who they use for Internet access and how much they want to pay. I completely understand the fear that the powerful cable/DSL duopoly control could be undermined by such a offering but I’m certainly all for that! I love free markets but sometimes the government needs to step in so the free market doesn’t become closed due to mergers and acquisitions.]]>
So Microsoft plans on releasing software that retails for $39.95 for the low low price of free if you are willing to look at ads. I applaud Microsoft for venturing into Google’s playground of ad supported software but who actually uses Works any more? I haven’t seen it installed on a PC in years, and when I did see it I was uninstalling it for people! I think Microsoft needs to start out with some more serious software otherwise they are setting the whole program up for failure. Add on to the fact this program will only be available from OEMs like Dell, HP, Toshiba and it’s easy to see how this won’t work! You can get Works installed for free on most Dell PCs. So how do you get users to utilize ad supported software when it’s already available to them for free?
The Microsoft Expression development tools look great and I think a ‘lite’ version would be the perfect target for the ad supported software market! Once that is finished you would just need to make the software available to everyone and Microsoft would be making a great way to thousands of more developers attached to Microsoft products instead of Adobe’s!1f42 ]]>
Selling 3 billion songs in four years is impressive but if you put that number into perspective with 100 million iPods sold that only works out to be 30 purchased songs per iPod ever sold. That is a LOT of ‘ripped’ music on to the world’s iPods!]]>
In case any one is interested here are the original links in the image:
I am all for a user being able to use FasterFox to prefetch information, but it does come at a cost to the web site owner. The FasterFox authors knew that their plugin can and will lead to higher server loads, more bandwidth usage, and slower page loads for everyone else. That is why they put in the option to disable this plugin on a site by site basis! I cannot believe that someone would want to purposely disable this feature! They have the nerve to say ” I decided that people need faster speeds and the server shouldn’t be able to easily disable this :P”, it’s my server, it’s my web site, and it’s my decision to not let you abuse it!
This kind of attitude is what drives people to not share information and in the end hurts the Internet as a whole! It seems a lot of people think running a web site is cheap and that they can use all of the resources they can to make their seem experience better without thinking of anyone else!
Also if you administer a web site and wish to block the normal Fasterfox plugin just add this to your robotos.txt
BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) — A mother whose teenage daughter nearly died from an infection caused by a bellybutton piercing was convicted Tuesday of endangering the girl’s life by failing to seek medical attention until she was gravely ill.]]>
On the first day of my vacation while driving, I was greeted with a Cisco PIX that completely died. I worked with RackSpace from 10:21am EST till 5:07pm EST getting our entire cluster of sites back online. The new PIX did not have all of our previous rules from some reason which ended up blocking several services (DNS and Mail). After that incident things seemed to run fairly smoothly. I guess one major disaster and the cluster felt like I had suffered enough.
I love going home to see our families and getting to catch up on old times with friends from long ago, but I am always glad to come home. There was a reason I left little Joplin, Missouri, everyone knew your business and wanted to be a part of it some how.
iNET did well without me for 13 days which was great to hear. I am scared sometimes that if something happened to me what would happen to the company. I’m sure they would go on without me, but I certainly don’t want to make it hard on them if something every did.]]>