So it seems the PEOPLExpress name which belonged to a low fare carrier that disappeared in 1987 has been revived. The new PEOPLExpress is selling tickets on its website  for flights starting June 30.

Their hub is Newport News in Virginia, a city of 180 000 people and the airline will offer one daily Boeing 737 service to the cities of Boston, Newark, Pittsburgh and West Palm Beach. 

pexRouteMap

New People Express flight map

PEOPLEexpress is billing itself as a Low Cost Carrier which will offer better treatment I am not sure what better treatment will look like because almost everything costs:

  • Check in Baggage starts at $20 for the first bag
  • Any Carry-on Bag that you want to put in the overhead locker will cost  $25.00 per Customer
  • Exit row seats cost $25 extra
  • drinks will cost $1 to $2 with free snacks

It sounds very like Spirit Airlines so far – and everyone hates them! Maybe PEOPLExpress will collect the money with a smile?

Flights can only be bought per segment. So if I want to fly from Newark to West Palm Beach, I have to buy two tickets and pay for two lots of luggage fees. United will get me there for $121 non stop and I can take my bag on as hand luggage for free. The same fare on PEOPLExpress will cost me $112 with the stop in Newport News and my hand luggage will cost $50 so the whole package would be a total of $162.

Their choice of hub seems odd. Does anyone remember Skybus, an ultra low cost carrier based in Columbus, Ohio? They didn’t make it to a year – and there are 800 000 people in that city.

Then the airline is called PEOPLExpress but the website is called  flypex.com. Not a very logical or easy connection. Why didn’t they just name the airline Flypex? And thats the clincher for me. Why have they revived the PEOPLExpress name?

PEOPLEpress flew from 1981 to 1987 offering ultra low fares which the staff collected on the plane. I was fascinated by them and they certainly captured public attention. Staff were cross functional. Pilots also collected fares and undertook administration. Flight attendants doubled as gate agents and check in clerks. The staff owned shares in the carrier. PEOPLExpress was based in Newark and flew into Europe, Canada and the UK. It became the fifth largest airline in the USA. 

Then they came unstuck. PEOPLExpress was universally nicknamed People’s distress as profits failed to follow growth.

It tried to go upscale by adding First Class and a frequent flyer program before being forcibly sold to Continental.

I don’t understand how or why the new PEOPLExpress want to bring back the old name. No one under 35 is going to connect the two. People over 40 will remember that it is a failed company. The Braniff airlines name has been revived twice as has Pan Am. All have failed.

In summary, PEOPLExpress will fly from one of the smallest metros on the east coast to four destinations once daily using a failed airline’s name. I give them nine months.

Good luck to all who fly with and work with them.

 

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  • Jack said,

    The city of Newport News is part of the Hampton Roads MSA with 1.7m people and the Richmond MSA which is an hour away has 1.2m people. So looking at just Newport News’ population is really not seeing the full potential local market area. And Peoples Express is actually restarting AirTran routes that were fairly full/active at the airport before AirTran merged with SW and decided to ending service. Separate from any issues with the name, if they can provide a similar level of service as AirTran on these routes, find other underserved routes which is their goal, and have decent funding, they might have a decent chance to grow beyond the startup phase.

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