A new airline will soon set up shop at Lindbergh Field. Skybus promises cheap fares, courteous service, cheap fares, non-stop flights and cheap fares. Did we mention the cheap fares? A traveler with the right timing can get from San Diego to Columbus, Ohio, for just 10 bucks, one way.
So, cheap fares, check. How about non-stop flights? Non-stop to Columbus—check. Non-stop anywhere else? Nope. All Skybus flights originate from or depart to Columbus and nowhere else. So, when they say "non-stop,"they mean "one stop in Columbus,"right? No. Skybus won't book connecting flights, either. Travelers must self-book a second flight from Columbus to, say, Boston. A self-booked connection means picking up checked bags, checking bags again (and paying another $10 per bag fee) and then going back through security. There are no refunds for missed flights, so a missed connection is money lost.
Reports of good service abound, though travelers must bear in mind that everything is à la carte—blanket, pillow, sandwich, checked bags, these all cost an extra fee. Flight attendants get a commission on every sale.
Skybus spokesperson Bob Tenenbaum justified these policies with tales of travelers embracing the super-low fares. He told stories of people staying overnight in Columbus to make a connection, or the family described in the L.A. Times who flew to Columbus and then drove to Atlanta. He explained how Columbus is the 15th most populous city in the country and that 6.5 million people live within two hours' drive of the city. But he also said Skybus has no plans to add another hub city or add flights between its destinations (like San Diego to San Francisco, direct).
And if the traveler has the wrong timing, those prices aren't so cheap, either. The airline advertises super-cheap fares—$10, $30, really amazing fares. But those seats sell out fast. In San Diego, they're all sold through December. San Diego to Columbus goes for a minimum $50. Prices go up to $100 and $130 on weekends, which means that Boston flight could easily cost $300 or more, round trip. That doesn't sound so super-cheap anymore.
Its name comes from an expression that means you're perplexed-you just can't figure it out. Perhaps that's what owner Neal Wasserman was feeling when he opened The Wit's End in Hillcrest in 2004. At that point, the national political scene looked bleak (and would look even bleaker later that year). Wasserman, a lefty politics junkie, created a comfortable little strip-mall pub where fed-up fellow liberals could go to swill from a huge selection of imported beer, eat some tasty food, gripe about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and, if you were there at 8 p.m., laugh about it all with Jon Stewart and an early feed of The Daily Show. Several CityBeatniks have been regulars there.
Last Saturday, Wasserman held an informal good-bye party for his patrons. The kitchen, meaning the small corner of the bar on which Wasserman prepared meals, was closed, giving him the rare opportunity to mingle with his guests. The sheer effort of running a restaurant had started to wear on Wasserman, and on June 11, new owners will take over with an opening party. It's not confirmed, but Wasserman's looking at a new job managing food operations elsewhere in San Diego.
Wasserman says the new owners will keep much of the menu and will expand the beer selection, add a jukebox and stay open more days and later hours than he was able to. Whether or not that jukebox will be turned down at 8 p.m. on weeknights, however, remains to be seen.