I think it's safe to say I'm the only 18-year-old in Britain with his own airline
April 15, 2005 5:37 PM   Subscribe

Introducing alphaOne Airways: Probably the world's first budget airline with a Geocities website.

The brainchild of British teenager Martin Halstead, alphaOne will offer twice-daily shuttle flights between Oxford and Cambridge - that's only 70 miles as the crow flies.

Is Martin a pimply megalomaniac, the next Richard Branson, or just another harmless flight sim fanatic? No doubt Stelios is on the case...
posted by runkelfinker (9 comments total)
It's pretty well thought out... however I don't think it's possible to have a route that short actually be profitable.
posted by clevershark at 6:07 PM on April 15, 2005

So let's see:

Distance is about 120 Km shortest route (not necessarily fastest) and no direct highway, so my wild not local not experienced in the area extimate is about 90 minutes driving.
Maybe 2 hours in a bad day ? I don't see much demand at the current price which seems high for a whole lotta people.

Anyway that's an aerotaxi service, imho. Calling it as an airline seems too much of a sensationalistic angle to me..much like calling a lot of people Project Manager...it means nothing unless there's a billion money behind it.

Anyway I wish him well, I love flightsimulator :)
posted by elpapacito at 6:39 PM on April 15, 2005

"From April 18 there will be two flights a day between Oxford and Cambridge, which, as academics and business people know, happen to be only 65 miles (105km) apart, but are separated by 118 miles of road and an even sillier train journey that goes through London. So for £49 a journey that takes between two-and-a-half and four hours will be possible in 18 minutes’ flying time, or 70 minutes when you add in a free shuttle service that deposits passengers in the city centres."
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:50 PM on April 15, 2005

elpapacito, yeah, it should take about an hour and a half or so. Unfortunately, the most direct route (which isn't very direct anyway) involves driving about 30 miles along the A14.

The A14, for those of you who've never had the pleasure of its company, is a British Road that was sent from God as a Punishment for our Wickedness.
posted by flashboy at 6:59 PM on April 15, 2005

It is insanely inconvenient to get between Oxford and Cambridge and, for students at least, driving is not usually an option. Most of my friends went into London (an hour by train from Cambridge) and back out (an hour by bus to Oxford). There used to be a direct train between the two, I think, but the line is defunct. If this actually came off, I'd bet there be take up.
posted by szechuan at 7:49 PM on April 15, 2005

Heh - read the airport sim review: It's obvious which one he's had development involvement in. He does things like comparing the "inferior" sim to features that haven't yet been implemented in the new sim
posted by crocos at 4:59 AM on April 16, 2005

crocos: How do you know that he has had development involvement in one of the games? And saying that the company has promised to fix something in the product is done all the time in all kinds of reviews.
posted by lazy-ville at 10:49 AM on April 16, 2005

As others have said, the Oxford-Cambridge road journey is fucking horrendous. The reason people go via London (and pay through the arse to do so) is that the 'direct' coach service takes four hours. I once got very badly travel-sick at High Wycombe doing it. Not pleasant. (It's doable by car in about two hours, but only if you travel at 3am when the roads are empty, and break the speed limit.)

Anyway, day-trips between Oxford and Cambridge are more or less impossible right now, and having an up-and-down air shuttle would make it a heck of a lot easier to hold one-day conferences with faculty or students from the Other Place. Fifty quid is pretty damn reasonable, too; so I hope the little bugger makes a go of it.
posted by holgate at 4:09 PM on April 16, 2005

A Standard Day Single on the train between Cambridge-Oxford costs £39.80. Now this is the most expensive ticket you can get, but if you had to get one of those, £49 would seem very attractive by comparison.

Decent accommodation in Oxford and Cambridge is fairly expensive as well, so taking the plane would probably be cheaper than staying overnight if you were going to a conference or something.

Students going for fun would probably still take the bus though, since we're poor, and it's cheap, though nausea-inducing.
posted by grouse at 6:50 AM on April 17, 2005

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