Monday, 23 June 2014

The Return of People Express

I remember the jumbos coming in to land at Gatwick during the 80's, a distinctive brown livery and wavy line faces on the tail cut a dash at the satellite pier. Nicknamed 'Pony Express' the American airline People Express was perhaps one of the first real budget carriers in the world, they sold really cheap tickets, I mean really really cheap! 
People Express 747 at Gatwick

And now, this 80's airline is set to sore into the skies above again. Using the retro name designed to appeal to those of us who are old enough to remember the 80's and kindle a little nostalgic for an old iconic old brand.

People Express was first launched in 1981, it was, I believe the first in the world to charge extra for things like putting bags into the hold,drinks and snacks and not having free meals like all the other airlines of the time.  

People Express took phone bookings and also accepted on-board payments, making it appear to many as working just like a bus service. During the height of its popularity and success, you could travel from New York to London on an old 747 for less than £90! or $149 one way.
Glorified bus service: Back in the Eighties, People Express took phone bookings and then accepted on-board payments

The airline also offered staff stocks so that they were invested in the company and therefore offered better customer service.  However, despite this passion many of the staff would jokingly call company People Distress or Pony Express. It over stretched itself with ambitions expansions was soon in finacial bother. So much so that it was eventually sold to Continental Airlines during 1987.

Now, the name is set to soar again! Promising a return to 'the joy of flying' with similarly bargain-basement prices as the forerunner.  Based in Newport, Virginia, the airline plans to run US national flights, covering routes that currently under serviced by other airlines.

Glory days: People Express was known as one of the world's first budget airlines - but still had cheery customer service

The first flights, costing from $76 /£45 will take off on June 30, travelling to New York's Newark Airport as well as Boston and Pittsburgh, before expanding into Florida and New Orleans. 

There are no plans to make a return to London Gatwick, or any other European destination at the moment, but you never know, the airline industry has a habit of causing a few surprises! 

'With the advent of no-frills pricing, flying became more affordable. Unfortunately, something was lost in the process. The joy of flying.  -   We're not OK with that. You shouldn't be either. You should demand better. Low fares and better treatment.'  claims the new website.  'We're going to treat you like we actually want your business. Because we do. And not just for the low fares, either. You'll see. 'It's time to fly smart. Again.'

Welcome back People Express.