PEOPLExpress Takes Off June 30th

People Express 737

People Express to Take off with 737 Fleet

Remember the old green livery? Yes, that livery! After a couple years of planning, People Express is slated to return with the same name and fresh green livery.

Vision Airlines will be doing business as PEOPLExpress, a budget carrier based out of the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) which will take to the skies on June 30, 2014. Initial destinations include Boston (BOS), Newark (EWR), and Pittsburgh (PIT).

Four additional cities will be added to the schedule including West Palm Beach (PBI) on July 15th, Atlanta (ATL) on August 1st, and St. Petersburg, Florida (PIE) along with New Orleans (MSY) on August 28th.

All PEOPLExpress scheduled flights will be operated by Vision Airlines with Boeing 737-400 aircraft. The Boeing 737 will be configured with 150 seats, 138 in coach and 12 “Living Large” seats with additional space. In-flight service will be the same whether you’re “Living Large” or confined to coach with 138 of your best friends.

Jeff Erickson, an airline executive associated with the carrier proclaimed, “From the very beginning, PEOPLExpress™ was designed to provide a fun, creative and innovative approach to air travel to dispel the myth that low air fares have to mean low service or an impersonal experience.” Per Erickson, “PEOPLExpress™ is restoring the concepts of respect, value and excitement to the air travel experience.”

The People Express Concept

In a statement, the airline states it’ll operate a “low-cost, a la carte service model” allowing passengers to customize their trip based on their budget. Like other a la carte carriers, you only pay for what you need. When you purchase your flight it’s up to you whether you’d like priority boarding, an assigned seat, or a seat with additional space.

As a result of consolidation in the US airline industry, fares have increased while capacity has decreased. PEOPLExpress is expected to decrease fares in the markets they operate providing price relief and well needed competition to consumers.

The business plan is an interesting with a large catchment area in the Newport News & Hampton Roads area. PEOPLExpress views the market as underserved and ripe for new service. Competing airlines at Newport News include Allegiant Airlines to Orlando Sanford (SFB), Delta Connection to Atlanta (ATL), Frontier to Denver (DEN), and US Airways Express to Charlotte (CLT) and Philadelphia (PHL).

Both Allegiant and Frontier are low cost carriers and don’t fly to Newport News daily. While Delta Connection operates daily flights to their Atlanta hub, they’re on small, cramped Canadair Regional Jets whereas US Airways Express also uses the Canadair Regional Jet to their hub in Charlotte. Flights to their Philadelphia hub are on Dash-8-200 turbo-props. Not a great deal of service or choice compared to several years ago. People Express may have just found a niche here.

PEOPLExpress Add-on Fees

As an a la carte carrier, “Add-on fees let customers decide what they want to pay for. While this is common in the industry, our difference will be in the level of service we provide and can-do attitude from check-in to arrival,” Erickson said.

A look at the published fees reveals checked luggage starts at $20 for the first bag and $25 for the second checked bag while advance seat assignments are $15 each way. If you’re looking for more space, Living Large seats are $59 additional per flight segment and exit row seats $25 each way. Similar to other ultra low cost carriers, there’s also a fee for a carry-on occupying space in the overhead bin at $25 per bag for each flight segment.

Thirsty? Beverages will also be available for purchase but the snacks are on the house.

PEOPLExpress Schedule and Ticketing

Seats will go on sale this upcoming Wednesday, June 4th.

The inaugural flights are slated to operate June 30 with two daily return flights between Newport News’s “Patrick Henry Field” (PHF) and Newark (EWR) and one daily round-trip flight to both Boston (BOS) and Pittsburgh (PIT). PEOPLExpress will occupy two gates in Concourse A at Newport News.

West Palm Beach (PBI) will operate as one daily round-trip on July 15th while Atlanta (ATL) begins with a daily round-trip (except Tuesdays) on the 1st of August. Three weekly round-trip flights to St. Petersburg/Clearwater (PIE), a secondary airport in the Tampa area, and three weekly flights to New Orleans (MSY) will kick-off August 28th.

Tickets may be purchased online atwww.flypex.comstarting June 4th or tickets may be booked toll-free at 1-844-435-9739 (1-844-4FLYPEX).

Schedules, fares and other details will be located online starting June 4th and all published fares include the base fare plus any applicable government-imposed taxes and fees.

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