Living near a tiny regional airport means that one bears with the minimal air service provided. For years, the only airline flying into ACV has been United. The big news this year was American is starting service in June, flying to their Phoenix hub, which I think will be downright amazing. Hello to being able to use Avios for domestic flight like everyone else.
The news I completely missed was that we would be getting a third airline.
On Thursday I saw an ad for Avelo Airlines, a budget carrier that I had never heard mentioned anywhere. I’d followed the launch of very-short-lived California Pacific Airlines, which was years in the making. But Avelo? They weren’t on my radar until they were already selling tickets!
Avelo Airlines is a new budget carrier launching service from Burbank Airport to several smaller destinations across the west. I was floored when I saw our tiny airport included among the cities. Here are all the destinations the airline plans to serve.
Although the name Avelo is new, the airline itself actually isn’t. Their IATA code is “XP” with a “Casino Express” callsign. Not what I expected, but it turns out that this is more of a re-launch of Casino Express/Xtra Airways under a new name and model. Somehow this change flew under the radar. But I very much welcome it!
What Will Flying Avelo Be Like?
Avelo is offering your typical pay-for-everything-extra model used by budget carriers like Frontier, Spirit, and Allegiant. Their starting base fares are just $19 one-way on the routes and dates I checked. Everything else is more. You can expect:
- Seat selection starting at $5 per person for window or aisle, which is pretty reasonable
- Checked bag fee of $10 one-way
- Cabin bag fee of $35 (yikes!)
- Priority boarding for $10
The carrier will be operating a fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft. This means that many of their destinations will see less-than-daily flight service. Which is fine. This has been the model of Allegiant as well, another budget carrier. You’re looking at the standard 3-3 Boeing 737 layout with 29 inches of pitch for most of the aircraft’s 189 seats.
Service to ACV is currently 4x weekly, which is pretty common for most Avelo destinations. Some offer daily service (notably Santa Rosa, California and Mesa Gateway Airport near Phoenix).
I’m super excited by this. I booked the first flight out of ACV on Avelo Airlines simply because I can. I mean…what’s not to love when you’re only spending $19?? I’ll spend a night in Burbank, hopefully see some friends, and then head back north on another Avelo flight the next day.
The cool thing is knowing people who are so eager to use their service. I’ve already pointed multiple friends at Avelo, and some have booked. Given the cost of flying into Arcata with United, it’s downright amazing.
I do worry, though. We saw the flash-in-the-pan that was California Pacific Airlines. I’m hopeful that Avelo stands a much better chance of lasting. The model of flying from a smaller “big city” airport to a bunch of tiny regional airports could be a good one. Smaller airports are easier to navigate, and can save a ton of time. Burbank is close enough to Los Angeles (and even Anaheim) that it’s not all that much worse than flying into LAX. For some, it’s likely a much better choice.