Airlines Using Buses To Replace Short Hops


American Airlines is addressing its pilot shortage by hiring bus drivers. The company announced last week that it had signed a deal with Landline, which offers ground transportation that is an extension of air travel. On Thursday, American announced that it was resuming regional service to Allentown and Atlantic City from Philadelphia using Landline’s 35-seat buses with leather seats, Wi-Fi and power outlets at each seat. No bus stations are involved. Bus segments begin or end at the airport. 

Customers book through the airline and check in at the airport. If they’re heading to Philadelphia, they clear security at the airport and board the bus for the 90-minute drive (the previous regional flights were about 30 minutes gate to gate). In Philly, the bus drops them off on the air side and they head directly to their gates while their baggage is routed with them. Passengers heading to the smaller airports catch the bus from the secure side and are driven directly there where their checked bag should be waiting. 

It’s American’s first use of the service. United buses passengers from Denver to and from nearby cities and resorts and Sun Country Airlines has a deal with Landline to ship passengers to and from seven airports in Wisconsin and Minnesota from Minneapolis. Regional airlines have been hardest hit by the pilot shortage, but there are also some cost savings for the main lines in using ground transportation if their customers accept it.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. I’ve always thought that an integrated transportation system would be ideal. Trains, Planes, and Busses, and, apparently, a significant segment is thinking that eVTOL’s will be added to the mix.

    • eVTOL and drone delivery lack airspace design… it is going to be dangerous for a while until they figure this out.

  2. I remember my old friend Ed Beauvais (founder of America West Airlines) telling me that back in the 80’s they offered a similar service. They referred to those buses as their “Wingless Widebodies”. 😊

  3. Don’t look now but the airlines may have hit on a system that could set back eAutonomous e(inter)Urban eMobility by 100 years or so while keeping at least one union happy. Do they waive security bottlenecks for ground passengers?

  4. I would be pissed if I paid to fly and was sent by bus.
    Next they will issue walking shoes.

    • What if it gets you to your destination quicker than changing planes to a regional airline.
      It’s not like you are riding with all the illegals and meth heads on Greyhound.

  5. I find the security aspect of this service very troubling. I think they should pass through TSA when the arrive at PHL.

  6. This is great! Now go to the airport, pay outrageous parking fees, deal with security bottlenecks and then…get on bus and pay airline fares for that privilege? One step lower than the old days of PSA, Hughes Air West and America Worst. No thank you.