Topic of the Week: Betting on PEOPLExpress

People Express

Well they’ve done it. The folks behind the long-delayed PEOPLExpress start up have now started selling tickets. They gave up on trying to operate their own airplanes, at least initially, so Vision will be operating for them. Boston, Newark, and Pittsburgh get flights from the mighty Newport News hub starting June 30. West Palm starts July 15, Atlanta comes on August 1, and New Orleans and St Pete start up on August 28. Sounds like a winning plan to me. Sure. Now, it’s your turn. Will the airline get off the ground on June 30? If so, how long will it fly before it folds? Or are you optimistic that the airline will succeed? Hit the comments with your thoughts.

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37 comments on “Topic of the Week: Betting on PEOPLExpress

  1. No flights to Orlando but you can fly to Pittsburgh, yeah that sounds like a winning business plan. :)

  2. I’ll just be hopeful. I’d fly them, mainly to support the competition of Delta and Southwest in VA market. Southwest has been the worst addition to ATL, and their fares to VA have doubled. My only comment would be in comparison to Spirit, their fares don’t seem to be as low, but they have the same add on fees. So after the flight, and having a bag, either carry on or checked, it’s the same price as flying to RIC or ORF. That may need to be adjusted. If the carry on was free, I’d skip SW and Delta.

  3. I just read that Allegiant is pulling out of Newport News so maybe Peoplexpress not offering Orlando flights makes sense but if the airport won’t support Orlando flights what kind of success can be expected in offering flights to St. Pete and West Palm?

  4. There are no connections. So it’s only Newport News or bust. Reminds me of Skybus – Columbus, OH and no connections. I wish them luck but it seems kind of random. Are there that many people going to and from Newport News/Wiliamsburg to sustain an airline?

    1. That kind of makes sense – load’em up with salty snacks and watch the $2 sodas fly off the cart.

  5. Wondered how long it would take Cranky to have a word on this airline.

    Seems like a bust waiting to happen. Very random flights…Pittsburgh? West Palm? Doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think there is room for competition and more airlines, but this model doesn’t seem to work. PHF is, I guess, close enough to draw from a large population base, including the Richmond and Norfolk areas, but it’s far enough away from both that there would have be a good reason to drive there.

    For those who haven’t been there, it’s kind of a pain in the rear to get from Norfolk to the Hampton peninsula where Newport News is located. There are two tunnels that bottleneck traffic and traffic typically is backed up for miles during the day. People on the Norfolk side aren’t going to want to sit in traffic for an hour plus to get to PHF.

    Less than a year and it’s gone, or at least somewhere else.

    1. I agree about Norfolk, but from RIC, I’d drive the 45 minutes. Again, their has to be a price advantage. I hope the scheduling gets better as they get more planes. Southwest changed the flight times, so their first flight to RIC will be within an hour of PEX. Both terrible for business travelers. Leaves it to Delta, I guess, to take that business.

  6. Good luck to them.
    Does anyone know anything about the reservations system SysAIO they are using? Do any other airlines use it? SysAIO site does not list customers.

  7. Vision as in the Destin, Florida failure airline? That’s who I would hire to fly the airplanes under my old People Express name to an odd ball combo of cities from my little city hub. Is Newport News the new Destin?

  8. Why no connections? Is it that much more expensive to configure your reservations systems and airport operations to allow for connections? I’m in New Olreans and wouldn’t mind connecting to some Northeast destinations.

    1. Probably not that much more expensive to configure your reservation system to sell connections.

      However, it is more expensive to sell them, because if your customers misconnect you’ve got to put them up for the night, or figure out how to get them to their destination on your dime.

  9. They will hang in there until they are bought out by Family/Avatar Airlines, which will then have a mega-hub on both sides of the country!

  10. I could be confused … it has happened before … I thought they bought Xcel so they would have a certificate and fly, so why do the deal with Vision? As far as the hub location – I have never bought off on that idea…seriously confused about that. And the name … Okay, there are some people younger than 40 that might recognize the name from the History or Discovery channel documentary – but I don’t think they will fly them because of that. Not sure that the name brings value, but as I said I could be confused.

    1. “Okay, there are some people younger than 40 that might recognize the name from the History or Discovery channel documentary – but I don’t think they will fly them because of that. Not sure that the name brings value, but as I said I could be confused.”

      Even those old enough to have done a lot of flying in the 80s might or might not be see much value in the name. They didn’t call it “People Distress” for nothing, after all.

    2. Their purchase of Xtra Airways never was finalized:

      “Although a formal purchase agreement was completed, PEOPLExpress never closed its previously reported acquisition of Xtra Airways due to issues that were discovered during the due diligence process.”

      “The first launch date for the new PEOPLExpress came and went, and in 2013 it outlined plans to purchase charter carrier XTRA Airways. But PEOPLExpress CEO Jeffery Erikson (who joined the carrier in late 2013) told a local news outlet those plans were on a back burner. “

  11. I worked for First Data Resources, in the middle 80s when PE outsourced reservations to us. Ended up being a Customer Service Manager. I remember using Schedule Flight Books (GIANT 3 Ring Binders) to look up schedules, making reservations on the old Bunker Ramo 5 in green screen computer…Brownies were the big hit on the flights, $3 each! And when we had OT offered we all knew the $99 one way to London Sale was on, those were the days…..As to the new PE making it, hey if they can provide a solid product (clearly explaining fees) and the public purchases, good on em. Now days I am Delta Loyalist, Diamond for the last 4 years….but everyone starts somewhere.

  12. Looking at the website, this airline is doomed from the start. Besides that I would bet 90% of people will spell PeoplExpress incorrectly (although solvable with Google), their website is A far cry from,, or even or I looked at Newark to West Palm by using multicity (which is really just a round-trip or one way tool limited to 2 segments) and there is a logical flight leaving Newark in the morning, on the ground in Newport for 45 min and then on to West Palm. That makes sense, except most people, especially ones who do not book a lot of travel or obsess over these kinds of things will never figure out that this is the way to make connecting itineraries. Especially since the second leg is called “return.” And then there is the issue of checked bags. The West Palm leg is obviously a continuation of the Newark leg. Do they expect you to retrieve your bag, re-check and then re-board?

    The ticket price was $150o/w which isn’t bad, but then any bag you had to pay for 2x since it is 2 segments. If you only have 1 bag, that makes your one way $250. Too bad United flies nonstop for $182 one way.

    So add the hastle, the non-low prices and website confusion and this looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Perhaps it will never happen.

    1. You’re right Shane, their website is a mess. I am on a Mac using Safari, so it is probably my fault since it isn’t too mainstream for web site developers to build for; but I selected BOS to St. Pete on the multi-city (you are right, what a clustered up concept that is) and the Newport St. Pete display had a whole host of information smashed together on the right side of the screen.

      Now I know we should give them some leeway to work out the kinks of their selling site … because they have ONLY had 2+ years to get it right, test it, etc.

  13. Anyone else notice the “Vision Airlines, Inc. dba PEOPLExpress” did the PeoplExpress folks sell the kit and kaboodle to Vision who is now actually running the show?

    1. No. PEOPLExpress has no government approvals. It could have gotten an approval to operate as a Public Charter, using Vision as the Indirect Air Carrier (remember Direct Air?). But this way is easier…just register the trade name PEOPLExpress on Vision’s authorities and you have an instant airline. But this leaves Vision on the hook for anything that may go wrong.

  14. The PHF area doesn’t have a population base to support O&D service to these cities, especially on a 734… and if no connections are available, then it’s not going to work. Period. If the metro PHF area had sufficient demand for O&D service other than to hubs, some other carrier would have stepped in already. AirTran made it work because they had a ton of connections up and down the coast, and it supplemented ATL. This is PE’s ONLY “hub”. I don’t know how well they’re financed, but I give them 90 days max before they fold. I give ’em credit for following their hearts though. They’re probably a lot of airline geeks like us who just want to make something great. Unfortunately often times our passions get in the way of reality (i.e good business sense) and I think that’s the case here.

  15. They don’t accept AMEX as FOP.

    Fastest way to become a millionaire in the airline business is to have a trillion dollars and start up a new airline.

    SYSAYO is junk. Play around in the booking engine, it caps out more than my incontinent grandpa.


  16. Well, at least they’ve gotten to this stage.

    Me, I’m still waiting for Family to get going.

  17. Love the rebirth of a non stop from BOS-PHF after Southwest pulled the Airtran flights during the merger. However, It will be tough for this model to work, the capacity can’t support the routes.

  18. Hey, they will last at least twice as long as Roots Air, or the second incarnation of Western Airlines (also using Vision planes).

    But, they are already doing better than Family/Avatar/Insert Graphic Here Airlines.

  19. I do like how they kept the spirit of the old branding and typeface, and updated where appropriate.

    I suspect they’re still going to fail within 12 months, but will give them credit for plunging forward against all logic and odds.

  20. Well I Wish them luck, But I see Frontier, Spirit or Sun Country gobbling them up before long. I give them 2 years. I just don’t see Newport news attracting a lot of customers it’s not a big enough market. At least these guys will maybe fly in the near future unlike California Pacific Airlines & Florida Express Jet two other proposed start ups that haven’t made much of a splash. And it seems like they are flying routes that wouldn’t support a full plane in the winter and fall periods. This should be interesting to watch.

  21. I am a pilot and an old timer. I remember a lot of airline start ups from small single airplane operations to much larger ventures, and so many of them are gone now. The airline business is a tough business that can gobble up cash and people faster than you can say “Welcome Aboard!”

  22. One of the key reasons Allegiant (for example) succeeds is because it understands how it can provide a compelling value proposition to its target customers. It’s hard to discern such a proposition, let alone the company’s understanding of it, with PEOPLExpress redux.

  23. I could have sworn the whole time PEX was talking their startup on Facebook, they said they were not going to charge baggage fees.

    Here they are charging for everything under the sun. I don’t see how there is going to be any price difference when compared to the mainline or other LCC.

    I guess time will tell, but from what I can see, it isn’t worth it for me to fly them with this pricing structure.

    Also, Vision’s history does not give me any warm and fuzzy feelings either.

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