Welcome, JetAmerica and flydubai

Travel Blog  •  Rob Verger  •  06.03.09 | 10:07 AM ET

Photo of Dubai’s airport by joiseyshowaa, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The list of lost-cost carriers now has two new names: JetAmerica and flydubai.

JetAmerica, a charter company with a home base in Toledo, Ohio, will fly to five cities. They are advertising $9 fares, with a “convenience fee” of $5, thus selling some seats (before taxes and fees) for $14.

Over at The Cranky Flier, Brett Snyder isn’t optimistic. “I honestly couldn’t make this sound any worse if I tried,” Snyder writes. “The CEO is John Weikle, one of the original founders of Skybus.”

Meanwhile, in the U.A.E., flydubai has been born, with initial routes beginning this week between Dubai and Beirut and Amman. They plan to expand from there. “You’ll soon be able to flydubai to other cities in the Middle East, GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and India,” their website states. “And eventually, the network will extend to Iran, Eastern Europe and North & East Africa.”

One aspect of these new carriers that I’m interested in is how they’ve branded themselves. A recent story in the New York Times looks at how corporations are softening their logos to appear friendlier in the economic downturn. “Behold the new breed of corporate logo—non-threatening, reassuring, playful, even child-like,” Bill Marsh writes. “Not emblems of distant behemoths, but faces of friends.”

Viewed through this lens, JetAmerica’s logo looks more like the old-style, all-caps logo that the Times article says is passe—and in that respect, it’s reminiscent of Wal-Mart’s old logo. “Bold, block capital letters are out,” the Times article proclaims. “Their replacements are mostly or entirely lower case, softening the stern voice of corporate authority to something more like an informal chat.”

Meanwhile, flydubai, with its all low-caps logo and elegant curved lines, seems newer—they’re definitely going for that “informal chat” feel—and at the same time, reminds me of Delta’s old brand, Song.

Regardless, here’s wishing luck to both of them.


Rob Verger

Rob Verger is a frequent contributor to World Hum and the site's former air travel blogger. His articles and photographs have appeared in the Boston Globe and other publications, and he's a former undergraduate writing instructor at Columbia University. If you like, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter.

3 Comments for Welcome, JetAmerica and flydubai

US Flight 06.03.09 | 1:12 PM ET

I found this on the main page of yahoo saying Jet America will offer $9 plane tickets.

Say i want to fly from Newark NJ to Melbourne FL. the ticket booking thing says $59.

the fine print says that its $9 + $5 convenience fee + random govt fees. so the ticket wouldn’t be more than about $25, still really good.

is there any other fine print they are not showing?

Todd 06.03.09 | 2:01 PM ET

If you want to fly from Newark to Melbourne FL the lowest fare is $9 for the base fare.  The breakdown is as follows: $8.37 for the fare, $5 for the booking fee and $11.23 for taxes/airport security fees for a total of $24.60 one way.  If you saw a fare of $59 then the lower $9 fares must be sold out.  The website clearly states that only 9 seats on each flight are good for the $9 fare.  The others would be more expensive.

Former Skybus Employee 06.03.09 | 2:05 PM ET

As a former Skybus employee, I feel that Weikle is on to something.  If an airline can turn profit with a price of $70 a seat with 80% load capacity then why not drop prices.  Eliminate all the bells and whistles that are usually for free and let you decide if you want to spend the money on such things as inflight sodas, meals, that eye liner your wife forgot to pack.  If the average family can get “no-frills” round trip airfare for all four, that the average airline charges for one round trip seat, why wouldn’t they fly on it. 
Jet America and Fly Dubai are not airlines for the assumed everyday flyer, the guy sitting next to you on his laptop checking e-mails, or reading Forbes magazine.  These airlines are opening a door for affordable travel for those who don’t. 
If these airlines can stay aflot the first few years, not grow too rapidly, and make smart decisions on choosing destinations, hopefully the public will take a new look at traveling.

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