First-Ever Flight Subscription Service Launched — But Comes with Stipulations
As airfare prices rise, travelers are looking for affordable alternatives to expensive flights. Alaska Airlines has introduced a possible solution with Flight Pass, the first flight subscription service for West Coast travel.
As subscription services for everything from clothing to seafood grow in popularity, Alaska Airlines’ offering, which allows members to fly up to 24 round-trip flights a year between 16 select cities in the western U.S., feels long overdue.
But what can travelers expect from the service? And is it a bargain?
The Costs and Limits
Alaska Airlines’ standard Flight Pass plan starts at $49 per month and requires flyers to book at least 14 days before travel. The upgraded Pro plan allows same-day booking up to two hours before departure, starts at $199 monthly, FoxBusiness.com reported. Flights cover 16 cities in California, Nevada, and Arizona.
With every monthly payment, subscribers receive credits for their flights. Those credits are deposited monthly or every other month. They can be redeemed for six, 12 or 24 nonstop trips per year.
Customers should know that credits expire once the new batch of credits are issued on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. However, you don’t have to fly every month or every other month; you can book travel up to 90 days in advance of your trip, according to the AlaskaAir.com FAQ page.
Most flights on the eligible routes are available, with your credits, plus $.01 and $14.60 in taxes and fees, AlaskaAir.com said.
If you are a frequently flyer and plan ahead, you’re likely to reap the rewards of $49 round trip flights with the standard plan. And if you frequently like to fly spur-of-the-moment, you will probably still save money with the Pro subscription.
Let’s say you wanted to fly out of Los Angeles for a weekend trip to Las Vegas at the last moment. A roundtrip Alaska Airlines flight for President’s Day weekend, leaving Friday and returning Monday, would cost $487.60. You can see from this example that you’d save more than 50% off your flight using the Flight Pass Pro subscription.
The Alaska Airlines website points out that fares are not guaranteed to always be less than published fares. But, based on rising flight costs, if you fly a lot and make sure to use all your credits, you could experience substantial savings on average throughout the year.
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