PEOPLE EXPRESS was an innovative airline. Founded in 1981, in the wake of industry deregulation, the company did just about everything differently. Its employees performed a variety of functions—pilots helped with baggage, and flight attendants checked passengers at the departure gates. All seats on a flight were the same price, and passengers could pay their fares while sitting in the plane en route to their destinations. The airline also charged for each checked bag as well as for food and beverages served on the flight—unheard-of during that time. As a result, the no-frills airline was able to discount its fares to unbelievably low prices, often comparable to bus or car transportation—just $23 from ...

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