In Texas, new luxury coach service is an alternative to flying

By Jeri Clausing

*logoNothing says luxury like -- a bus?

A Texas company called Vonlane next month is launching what it says is just that: an executive coach service between Dallas and Austin offering 16 roomy leather seats, noise-cancelling headsets, WiFi, satellite television. Even a conference room.
The service starts next week between Dallas and Austin, and company officials say they hope to expand the service to Houston and San Antonio.
On its website, Vonlane calls itself a “a first-of-its-kind luxury motorcoach service for business travelers,” founded “to eliminate the hassles and lost productivity associated with short-haul commercial flights or self driving.”
Jeri ClausingA one-way ticket is $100, about half that of a Southwest Airlines ticket. It’s also refundable, and there are no baggage fees.
Initially, the bus will make four trips daily between Dallas and Austin five days a week. The coaches depart from Austin at a Hyatt Regency between the First Street and Congress Street bridges; in Dallas it's from a Wyndham Hotel on the edge of Southern Methodist University. The trip will take three hours -- the same amount of time as an airplane flight when you factor in security lines and parking.
The service is meant for professionals who are often traveling, Vonlane said.
“We created, in Vonlane, a more dignified way to travel that helps business people reclaim the productive hours that are typically lost when flying or driving between Texas cities,” said Alex Danza, Vonlane's founder and president.
It’s certainly a new option for Texas travelers, who have no rail alternatives like Amtrak's Northeast Coast service for relatively short jaunts. Bus service between major cities has previously been of the budget variety.
And it seems like a viable one for both business and pleasure. After all, given the choice between a spacious, luxury coach or dealing with Transportation Security Administration and the cattle-call of Southwest Airlines’ boarding procedures or with a cramped, uncomfortable commuter plane, who wouldn’t opt for the bus?
Best of all, there are no middle seats.

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