Friday, May 29, 2009

JetAmerica $9 Ticket Sales Soar

/PRNewswire / -- The following is being issued by Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority:

JetAmerica, the nation's newest air service, which is offering one-way non-stop fares for as low as $9, reports that 48 hours after its e-commerce website - - went active at 12:01 a.m. May 27, 2009 that ticket sales reached 12,000 just after midnight May 29, 2009.

JetAmerica spokesperson Bryan Glazer said, "The seat sales surge was sparked in the eleventh hour by NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno's Thursday night monologue wisecrack, "A new airline, JetAmerica, announced they're gonna be in operations with ticket prices as low as $9 on flights from Toledo to Newark. Nine bucks to fly from Toledo to Newark. The bad news is you wind up in Toledo or Newark."

Apparently the joke was sparked by a recent story by New York Post reporter Jeremy Olshan about JetAmerica's $9 fares. Olshan jibed that the cost of a flight from Toledo was less expensive than a ride across the Verazzano Narrows Bridge. The tabloid journalist also poked fun at JetAmerica's medium-sized Midwestern metro area markets. He joked that they are "hot spot" destinations.

"Toledoans invite Mr. Leno to fly JetAmerica from Toledo Express Airport to New York where we will take him on a $9 shopping spree through the trendiest retail districts of Manhattan and see how far nine greenbacks go -- probably not as far as a one-way flight on JetAmerica from the 'Glass City' to 'The Big Apple,' which is 438 nautical miles," said, with tongue-in-cheek, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Stolarczyk.

"Since Mr. Leno has probably not been to Toledo since his days as a traveling stand-up comedian, we'd also like to give him a $9 shopping spree along the shores of the mighty Maumee River."

Stolarczyk recommends that the retiring King of Late Night, soon to become Prince of Primetime television, spends his $9 at Toledo's beloved Tony Packo's Hungarian Hot Dog House. It was made famous by the cross-dressing character corporal Max Klinger in the classic 1970's TV sit-com M*A*S*H. Stolarczyk said, "The world-renowned hot doggery has catered to celebrities and royalty from around the globe, all of whom autograph their buns and display them on the eatery's walls."

Owner Tony Packo III whose grandfather started selling the famous franks in 1932 said, "I've got autographed buns from presidents, athletes and celebrities including Leno's predecessor Johnny Carson and former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen -- but not from Jay."

When asked for suggestions on how Leno might wisely spend $9 at one of his five Toledo gourmet wieneries, the 36-year-old Packo said, "I recommend the popular 'Mother Dog.' It is one foot long, weighs one pound, is cradled in a 12-inch bun and smothered with onions and mustard. The price is $8.99, tax included. If he wants to wash it down with a soft drink he'll blow his budget."

JetAmerica's $9 seats don't include taxes and surcharges and sodas cost $2 a can. Despite these extra fees, which are also charged by most other air carriers, JetAmerica is selling seats like "hot cakes" since its announcement earlier this week.

Glazer said, "We are forecasting at least 20,000 confirmed reservations by next week once television commercials hit the air in our focus markets of Toledo, Ohio; Lansing, Michigan; Melbourne, Florida; and South Bend, Indiana. The most recent sales figures show that people living within 75 miles of Toledo Express Airport led the way with the most online reservations because JetAmerica has more flights in and out of that airport," said Stolarczyk.

Those flights include six weekly roundtrip non-stops from Toledo to New York/Newark Liberty International. JetAmerica is also flying roundtrips several times per week from Toledo to Florida's Space Coast and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.

"Jet America is also selling a slew of roundtrip seats from Newark to South Bend, Lansing and Toledo so that Notre Dame University, Michigan State University and University of Michigan alumni living in the New York metropolitan area can catch non-stop flights close to their respective alma maters for the upcoming collegiate football season, which starts September 5, 2009 and ends November 28, 2009," said Glazer.

The Alumni Associations of all three Big 10 conference schools report that more than a half million of their graduates reside in the Tri-State Area (NY/NJ/CT). Approximately 75,000 of them fly back to the Midwest to attend home football games.

"Toledo-bound flights are selling quickly because University of Michigan faithful football fans flying to Ann Arbor for The Wolverines' 11 home games are tired of dealing with delays at Detroit Metro Airport," said Glazer. "When you factor in the mileage to the Michigan campus, along with traffic snarls, it's a whole lot quicker to fly from New York to Toledo and then drive to Ann Arbor, Michigan."

"It appears that business travelers are also booking online knowing they can depart Toledo at 6 a.m. and be at their Midtown Manhattan meetings by 9 a.m. and then fly back home in time to sit down for a late dinner," said Stolarczyk.

JetAmerica is offering from nine to 19 seats at a cost of $9 one-way on every flight. On average, most seats range in price from $49 to $79 one-way. The most expensive fares top-off at about $199. Taxes and surcharges are additional.

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