Saturday, January 07, 2006

Freedom is Dead

Well, Independence Air, that is. The once highly touted budget airline flew its last flight to White Plains, NY on Thursday. The Washington Post had a good article on the Dulles-based airline, chalking up its demise to rising fuel costs, rock-bottom, low-profit fares and increasing competition from the major carriers. In the short term, Independence Air's downfall might mean higher fares out of Dulles, though it appears JetBlue might move in to pick up the slack and further expand its successful service.

Fortunately, post-Sept. 11th rules ensure that passengers currently holding tickets for IA flights won't be left stranded. For a fifty dollar processing fee, they can be (must be) accommodated by other airlines. Of course, they will fly standby, but that's a lot better than swallowing the price of the ticket whole.

IA's disintegration teaches us that budget airlines aren't immune to the ills of the airline industry. By trying to undersell the major carriers, they can sometimes pull the rug out from under themselves. In related news, Delta recently announced that it will terminate Song in May and convert its airplanes into standard Delta flights with full first-class cabins. Too bad my upcoming trip to San Jose can't be aboard one of those planes! Ok, I'll stop pouting.


Blogger Phlip said...

We still have a Song billboard over here on Boylston St. I saw an interesting PBS documentary ["The Persuaders" on Frontline] on advertising that showed the development of the Song brand and ad campaign. In one scene, a male flight attendant says, "Oh, that's so Song, girl!"

8:18 AM  

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