|“ I think it is a pity to lose the romantic side of flying and simply to accept it as a common means of transport. ” - Amy Johnson (1903-1941)|
PEOPLExpress™ to take off June 30
Iconic brand returns with low-fare flights from Newport News to Boston, Newark and Pittsburgh
Service to West Palm Beach, Atlanta, St. Petersburg and New Orleans also planned; introductory fares start as low as $76 each way
NEWPORT NEWS, Va., (May 30, 2014) – PEOPLExpress™, the iconic brand that made air travel affordable and accessible, returns to the skies June 30 with low-fare service from Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport to three cities: Boston, Newark, N.J., and Pittsburgh.
PEOPLExpress™ today announced its inaugural schedule at a kick-off event with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, local dignitaries, airport officials and new employees. The schedule includes four additional destinations: West Palm Beach, Fla. (July 15), Atlanta (Aug. 1), and St. Petersburg, Fla., and New Orleans (Aug. 28).
Vision Airlines, dba PEOPLExpress™, will fly Boeing 737-400 aircraft operated by Vision Airlines bearing the logo of the popular 1980s carrier of the same name but with a fresh, green livery.
“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,” said Jeff Erickson, a long-time airline executive on behalf of the carrier. “PEOPLExpress™ is restoring the concepts of respect, value and excitement to the air travel experience.”
The PEOPLExpress™ management team identified opportunities in underserved markets from Newport News while developing a service model built on a great experience at a great price.
“Air travel had become an unpleasant, difficult and costly experience for many travelers – and in response to that need the new PEOPLExpress™ was born with a name that left an indelible mark on aviation history,” Erickson said.
Vision Airlines will operate all PEOPLExpress™ scheduled flights from its base at Newport News with an initial fleet of three 737-400 aircraft, each with 150 seats – 138 with coach seating and 12 Living Large™ seats featuring more personal space for a fee. Both seating options will feature the same level of in-flight service.
Fares start as low as $76 each way.
PEOPLExpress™ has developed a low-cost, a la carte service model that enables customers to create a customized travel product reflecting their individual wishes and budgets. Customers can choose to fly at an ultra-low price with friendly and attentive service but minimal frills or they can opt to purchase extras they want to make their trip more enjoyable, such as priority boarding, pre-assigned seating or an upgrade to a Living Large seat.
Fees for checked bags are lower than that of major carriers, at $20 for the first bag and $25 for the second. Living Large seats are available at $59 per flight segment, exit row seats are $25 each way, advance seat assignments are $15 each way while carry-on bags in overhead bins are $25 for each bag per segment. Beverages are available for purchase to accompany complimentary snacks.
“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. “It’s the service and level of personal attention that makes a difference. People want to be treated with respect and know that they are heard. That’s the PEOPLExpress™ difference.”
Summer of expansion
PEOPLExpress™ takes off June 30 with two daily round-trip flights between Newport News and Newark and one daily round-trip flight to both Boston and Pittsburgh.
On July 15, West Palm Beach is added with one daily round-trip.
On Aug. 1, PEOPLExpress™ will add one daily roundtrip to Atlanta (except Tuesdays), followed on Aug. 28 by three weekly roundtrips to St. Petersburg and three weekly flights to New Orleans. PEOPLExpress™ will operate from two gates on Concourse A at Newport News.
“PEOPLExpress™ has been looking at market opportunities to replace service Newport News lost to places like Boston and New York and other underserved markets that have seen service declines with consolidation of the airline industry,” Erickson said.
Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, June 4 at www.flypex.com. On the website customers will find schedules, fares and other details. All fares are per customer and include the base fare plus any applicable government-imposed taxes and fees. Some fees may be per segment while others may apply to connecting flights. Fares are subject to change until the flight has been purchased.
The toll-free phone number, (844) 435-9739 or (844-4FLYPEX), opens beginning today from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, Eastern time, to answer questions before reservations begin.
The launch of the new PEOPLExpress™ will create more than 100 new local jobs initially, growing to 200 by the end of the summer.
“I am delighted that PEOPLExpress™ will be flying in and out of Newport News,” McAuliffe said. “One of the keys to economic development and creating jobs in the Commonwealth is the ability of the state to connect people and enterprises from other parts of the country and the world to our communities and vice versa. The launch of PEOPLExpress™ will be another asset strengthening Virginia’s first-in-class business environment.”
“This is a great day for the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF), the City of Newport News and the State of Virginia. We are proud and excited to be a part of the launch of PEOPLExpress™. We urge everyone in our community to support this service so that we can continue to offer low fares, excellent customer service and growth to meet the demands of our community,” stated LaDonna Finch, Chair, Peninsula Airport Commission.
Focused on success
While the airline’s initial plans have changed to adapt to a more consolidated airline industry, the focus remains on creating the right experience for passengers.
“PEOPLExpress™ has taken the time to explore options that enable us to provide high-quality, reliable service at competitive pricing and a mandate to make air travel more accessible,” Erickson said.
While reviving an iconic aviation brand is a part of the new PEOPLExpress™, it’s not about looking to the past to find success.
“Today’s PEOPLExpress™ is about delivering a new approach to air travel with a customer experience unlike any other where personal attention and technology each play a role to surprise customers and surpass their expectations,” Erickson said. “It's time to Fly Smart!™
From its base at Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport, Vision Airlines dba PEOPLExpress™, with a fleet of three Boeing 737-400 aircraft , will serve Boston, Newark, Pittsburgh, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, St. Petersburg and New Orleans. Built on the platform of an iconic brand, the new PEOPLExpress™ is committed to restoring the concepts of respect, value and excitement to the air travel experience with a focus on safety, comfort and quality service at a great price. For more information, please visit www.flypex.com.
Thomas Becher, APR
Neathawk Dubuque & Packett