Why #Memphis Needs Southern Airways Express
May 30th, 2013
Post contributed by Kiersten Bagley
I had the honor of participating in the internal proving flight for new Memphis-based airline, and our client, Southern Airways Express. It was my first time aboard that small of an aircraft, so I can give you a “first-timer’s” view of the experience.
I parked my car at the Olive Branch Airport, locked it up and walked approximately 50 feet to the airport door. I didn’t pull a ticket and wont have to pay a dime to leave my car there. A few passengers arrived about fifteen minutes before takeoff—no problem. No one patted me down or invaded my space before I boarded; they weighed my bags and that was it. The pilot shook my hand, introduced himself and welcomed me aboard.
So, here I sit… there are Bose headphones to my right and an iPad loaded with movies (but, I’m working—so none of that today). The best way that I can explain the flying experience is like riding in a luxury cargo van 10,000 feet up. I have plenty of legroom (more than I need), I’m typing this post as I fly and I am checking and sending emails on my phone.
More notably than the extreme amount of comforts and conveniences offered on this flight, I think it is important to share the reasons why the Southern Airways Express concept is good for the city of Memphis (not to mention the destination cities it will fly to):
- Memphis means business. We have appointments to be at, partners to meet, current and potential clients to greet. When these things need to happen out of town OR we need to bring business into town, it’s not always convenient to drive there. Sometimes you need to get in and get home in a day and that’s not possible if you’re relying on rental cars or highway traffic. We’re trying to bring economic development into Memphis, aren’t we? We need to have the option to go out and get it or bring it to us a little easier than what we’re used to.
- On the other hand, we all have to get away. The summer travel routes will be an asset to all of the 30-A’ers, southern condo owners and families who just want to step onto the beach and off of the 240 loop for a week or so. If you have made the drive to Destin, Gulf Shores or Panama City Beach, you know it’s a long haul. On the Southern Airways Express flight, I was in Downtown Destin in two hours, fifteen minutes. I left Olive Branch after lunch, made it to my destination for business and was back home, in my own bed, the very same evening.
- We all need reasonable fares. We’re getting gouged at the ticket counter or bused to another city (and giving them our business) to get to where we need to go. Not every destination is possible for the business model of Southern Airways—they want to stay small enough to fly in and out of regional airports and offer the ease that they currently are able to. However, the destination list will grow and business as well as leisure travel will become easier and more accessible than relying on larger carriers or extensive drive time.
- Southern Airways Express is owned and operated locally. They came to us to serve them as a local contractor. The business occupies office space in One Commerce Square and operates out of DeWitt Spain and Olive Branch airports. They’re employing Mid-Southerners and investing in something so unique and positive for Memphis. It’s always nice to see Memphians supporting Memphians.
It is my opinion that this business venture is a solid one. The model has been tested and is working in other markets and, for such a market as ours that is in need of additional options for travel, this is a welcome addition to the long list of what is good in Memphis.
Take a look of some shots I got from the air and ground in the gallery below! #iFlySouthern… will you?
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