Cheap-seat airline comes to Milwaukee: Skybus will begin offering $10 fares to Columbus, Ohio

Sep. 20--A company that bills itself as "the $10 airline" will begin offering low-fare service between Milwaukee and Columbus, Ohio, starting in December.

Skybus Airlines, which is based in Columbus, begins selling tickets today for the non-stop flights, which begin Dec. 5. Skybus will have one flight daily from Milwaukee to Columbus, with departures at around 4:45 p.m. The only other airline offering non-stop flights from Milwaukee to Columbus is Midwest Connect, the regional carrier affiliated with Midwest Airlines.

Unfortunately for college football fans, the launch comes a month after the Wisconsin Badgers play Ohio State at Columbus.

Skybus currently offers service between Columbus and 11 other cities. That will expand to 15 destinations in December, when Skybus adds flights from Columbus to Milwaukee, as well as Gulfport/Biloxi, Miss., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Punta Gorda, Fla.

The new service from Mitchell International Airport to Columbus will likely attract travelers from throughout Wisconsin and northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, said Bill Diffenderffer, Skybus chief executive officer, in a statement.

Skybus' marketing strategy includes offering 10 seats for $10 fares on each one-way flight -- a price that doesn't include taxes and fees. Skybus uses Airbus A319 jets, which each have around 150 seats.

Skybus' other fares are low, too.

At, the carrier is offering round-trip flights from San Diego to Columbus, at fares ranging from $200 to $250, during October. Round-trip flights from Kansas City, Mo., to Columbus range from $60 to $220.

Skybus says it keeps its costs low by booking flights only through the Internet; flying new, fuel-efficient jets; and flying into smaller, regional airports. For example, Skybus flights to the Boston area land in Portsmouth, N.H., and flights bound for the Los Angeles area land in Burbank, Calif.

Skybus requires passengers to pay additional fees to board early, check their luggage (carry-on bags are free), and obtain on-board food and beverages. The airline also sells advertising on its fleet's exterior fuselages.

Skybus was founded in 2004, and it began flights in May.

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