Anyone else book a trip simply to have a chance to fly? I know I do. From the occasional mileage run to a specific experience I want to enjoy, I’m always game to take to the skies. There is travel to see new places, which I enjoy immensely. Then there is travel just to enjoy flying. This past week was one of the latter moments.

New low-cost startup Avelo Airlines took me by surprise several weeks ago. Double surprise was the fact they are flying to my tiny home airport of Arcata-Eureka (ACV). Triple surprise was the introductory price of $19 for a one way ticket from Arcata-Eureka to Burbank. Yes, I booked the very first flight out. 

First Impressions

While I didn’t make the actual inaugural flight for the airline, their first flight out of our little regional airport was certainly treated somewhat like an inaugural. Local media was there, and there were special mementos for both departing and arriving passengers. While I’ve yet to put together my trip report, I can say that Avelo impressed, even as a low-cost airline. There were some first day hiccups, for sure. But all things considered, it was a great flight.

After spending a night at the Holiday Inn Burbank (on points, of course), I flew Avelo again back to Northern California. This time it was to Santa Rosa. My ticket cost: $19, again.

Food? Or a Flight?

Lunch at Burbank Airport put the amazing ticket cost in even better perspective. After being dismayed at the high food prices at one vendor, I grabbed a salad and water from a cooler. Prices weren’t provided. But I figured it’d ring in around $17.

I was (sorta) amused when the items rang up at $24. Are they gouging me? You bet. But I ended up having a good laugh as I realized I was about to pay more for lunch than for my airfare. It’s crazy how easy it is to plunk down $20 on stuff you really don’t need. Also crazy is being able to fly 500 miles for a single Jackson.

I know Ryanair has some crazy deals in Europe. I’ve seen €9 fares and the like. But this is by far the cheapest I’ve paid for a ticket in the U.S. Well…I tried to take advantage of a crazy cross-country Spirit deal last year. But that fell through, sadly. For the distance, there may never be another deal that sweet. 

Final Thoughts

I don’t know if Avelo will be able to keep their prices down at $19, but how I hope they do. There will certainly be traffic headed both directions between Northern California and the Los Angeles area with fares like these! Passengers were so excited at the new option, and the ACV-BUR flight was a crazy 70% full on the first day. Demand is there. Let’s hope it keeps up!

What’s the cheapest flight you’ve ever booked? Has your lunch or bar tab ever exceeded your ticket cost?