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Nostalgia Air: People Express Brings 1980s Style to Smaller Markets

Boarding a People Express flight in 1986
Boarding a People Express flight in 1986Photograph by James Marshall/Corbis

Few airlines were a better fit for the 1980s than People Express, the high-flying upstart with cheery customer service and ardent fans at a time when Southwest Airlines was still just a baby. Some veterans of the old airline believe passengers with fond memories of traveling in the era will return to the relaunched People Express, which plans to start selling tickets Wednesday for debut flights on June 30. Introductory fares start at $76.

The original airline “really was embraced by their travelers because they not only did low fares, but they did low fares with excellent customer service and really developed a passion for—and respect and caring for—their travelers,” says People Express Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Erickson, an industry veteran who founded Reno Air in 1990 and later served as chief executive of TWA. “And we would like to do the same thing 25 years later.”