MANKATO — Landline, a startup business that last fall suspended its bus service from Mankato to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, is expanding its service of using vehicles to pick people up at their door instead.
“Mankato once again has Sun Country service,” said David Sunde, founder and CEO of Landline. “We’ve seen really positive momentum across Minnesota and our other markets with our Select service. People really like it when they take it.”
Landline partnered with Sun Country, allowing people to book a flight and a Landline ride at one time on Sun Country’s website. People get their airline tickets and Landline checks their bags on the Sun Country flights at the airport.
“It’s a seamless way to travel,” Sunde said.
The company now offers Landline Select rides that can seat up to four people to and from Mankato, Duluth, St. Cloud, Rochester, Brainerd, La Crosse and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in addition to continued bus service for Duluth.
Landline’s website shows two people booking a one-way ride to the Twin Cities airport from Mankato would pay $79 each. Four people making the trip would pay $49 each.
Sunde said they are still fine tuning the cost to try to get to the lowest profitable price point. He said as more cities are added and capacity picks up, fares should drop. “Having multiple markets improves the revenue stream.”
Landline is making up to nine trips to and from Mankato and the Minneapolis airport, leaving about every two hours. Sunde said the vehicle service is more flexible than the set schedule of the bus it operated from Mankato, meaning the company can adjust if airline business is up or declines in the near future.
Landline suspended its Mankato bus service in September because of low ridership during the pandemic.
“It’s encouraging to see travel tick back,” Sunde said. He hold hope that the bus service to Mankato will return.
“If the bookings continue to build and in the post-vaccine world demand continues to build, I think the bus will come back.”
He said Mankato has been booking well for the Landline Select service. “People have responded very positively to being picked up at home rather than worrying about where to take their car. Just come to the door and an hour later you’re in the Twin Cities.”
Landline launched in summer 2019 as a way to service mid-size communities that had lost commercial airline links.
Landline recently announced it has a partnership with United Airlines at the Denver airport, with Landline buses bringing passengers to and from Breckenridge and Fort Collins.