Big news today for fans of commercial air service returning to the Salem airport: Avelo Airlines was revealed as the mystery company that the City of Salem has been negotiating with -- which included using $2.4 million in taxpayer dollars to get the airport ready for the airline.
Avelo is advertising Salem as the newest addition to the cities they serve. However, initially Avelo will only offer twice-weekly flights to Las Vegas and Burbank in southern California, as described in a Salem Reporter story.
Flights would begin Oct. 5 to Las Vegas, with twice-weekly flights on Thursdays and Sundays, according to a Thursday news release from Avelo. Flights to Los Angeles, landing at Hollywood Burbank Airport, would initially be on Fridays and Mondays beginning Oct. 6, before shifting to Thursdays and Sundays Nov. 2.
I'm going to try to be optimistic about this latest attempt to bring commercial air service back to Salem, though the cynicism I expressed in my January 2023 post, "City Council approves $2.4 million for airport in dumb move," is lurking not far beneath the surface of my optimism.
For a Statesman Journal story about Avelo coming to town points out what happened after United Airlines stopped offering flights to Salem in 1980.
Previous plans to connect Salem to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2005 failed to come to fruition.
For just more than a year from 2007 to 2008, Delta offered twice-daily flights between Salem and Salt Lake City. Archives said the service was dropped because of the price of oil and the impending recession.
SeaPort Airlines' commuter air service briefly had regular stops in Salem, but ended service after just three months in 2011.
But maybe the time is right for what the Statesman Journal story calls an "ultra-low-cost" airline to succeed in Salem. Of course, as this review of the airline says, the cost of an Avelo flight rises quite a bit if you want to take a decent-sized carry-on bag with you or you want to check luggage ($40 to $50 per bag or piece of luggage).
Pros and cons of Avelo Airlines
The best way to summarize whether or not Avelo Airlines is good or not is to list out all of the pros and cons. Then, (hopefully) that will help you decide for yourself whether or not they are worth flying.
- I don’t know how they do it, but it’s really easy to score some insanely cheap fares on Avelo Airlines. How I managed to pay just $59 for my ticket (which included the “extra legroom” upgrade and all taxes and fees) is beyond me.
- The extra legroom seat is just as roomy as domestic first class on any other US airline. I can’t say that I’m not tempted to add Avelo to my best domestic first class list…
- Although the food they serve isn’t substantial, it’s better than nothing. Spirit Airlines won’t even give you a complimentary cup of tap water, so this is a pretty big deal.
- Given the fact that Avelo Airlines is still in its infancy stage, expect a higher amount of delays and other issues as they work to perfect the system.
- Their limited flight network can be frustrating if you’re on a tight schedule and you really need to be somewhere at a very specific time. In other words, there aren’t as many flight options compared to other airlines.