Amid a reported pilot shortage and high fuel prices, American Airlines has announced a regional plan where connecting flights will be replaced by buses. While the media is calling it fancy names like ‘on-ground alternatives’, or ‘buses-as-flights’, but people on social media are reminding them that buses are, well, just buses, not planes.
As per a report in Airline Weekly, American Airlines has decided to operate buses on the ‘connecting’ routes from Philadelphia to Leigh valley airport in Allentown and the Atlantic City airport in New Jersey. So basically, while the tickets will be sold by the AA as flight tickets, passengers will check-in in Allentown or New Jersey airports and travel to Philadelphia by bus, provided by the airline.
American Airlines has signed a deal with a bus company named Landline for this purpose.
Landline reportedly operates similar bus services in partnership with United Airlines in Denver and Sun Country Airlines in 7 cities around Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The article also notes that key airports do not have rail connectivity to nearby cities and buses are their only option. Darren Betters, director of business development at the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority was quoted in the article stating the obvious, “It works. Buses provide connectivity where it would be tough to provide it by air.”
While the article praises the ‘buses as flights’ business model and explains how it will help passengers, many on social media have pointed out the obvious problem, how come cities are not connected by rail network?
One user recalled how recently China had recently showcased a ‘train that can run on roads’, and people have trolled them saying ‘they are called buses’.
Remember when China made the train of the future and it was just a bus?— Jagha (@KhaganJagha) April 8, 2022
Sily chinese. Bus clearly useful as plane too! https://t.co/tFSWzQzJN4
An Indian user wrote, “We call this just a ‘bus’ in India, in some, you can travel lying down flat on your back all the way. Ok on your side if you are a side sleeper.”
We call this just a “bus” in India, in some you can travel lying down flat on your back all the way. Ok on your side if you are a side sleeper https://t.co/AazMwKYLPS— 𑀓𑀼𑀦𑁆𑀢𑀯𑁃 இளைய பிராட்டி 卐 (@kunthavi05) April 8, 2022
“Buses-as-flights”— Dr. Matt Walsh, Women’s Studies Scholar (@MattWalshBlog) April 7, 2022
No they’re just buses. And I can’t imagine why anyone would want to endure the hassle of an airport just to take a bus. https://t.co/CTelOFHGcL
Another Twitter user wrote that airlines have spent billions of dollars over decades lobbying against advances in rail travel and the development of a good rail network, and now they are offering buses to passengers in place of planes.
Good thing these airlines spent billions of dollars over decades lobbying against advances in rail travel… To give us the "not-a-plane and totally not-a-bus" form of travel. https://t.co/66MSXUNCTr— Aaron Duran🏵️Season of the Bruja #2 on April 27! (@GeekintheCity) April 7, 2022
could we please god just get some proper high speed rail in this country https://t.co/VZXwwQyhRr— Caroline Grego (@CarolineEGrego) April 7, 2022
The article mentioned that American Airlines has suspended dozens of flight routes in recent months due to pilot shortages and other issues.