(NEXSTAR) – It’s a service that might have been unthinkable for many at the height of the pandemic, but on Wednesday Alaska Airlines announced that it will be launching a flat fee-based subscription service.
While we gladly hand over money monthly to stream movies or buy clothes, will the business model work for flights? Alaska is banking on it, especially as omicron cases continue to fall.
The subscriptions, which start at $49 per month, allow people to fly to a number of airports in the western U.S. – most are in California but Reno, Las Vegas and Phoenix are also included.
Alaska Airlines said in a news release that it is banking on travel trend reports showing that Americans plan to take vacations domestically in 2022, especially to destinations with warm weather and beaches.
“After two years of staying close to home, guests are ready to travel again and with 100 daily flights from 16 airports throughout California and between California to Reno, Phoenix and Las Vegas, Flight Pass will take them there,” said Alex Corey, managing director of business development and products for Alaska Airlines.
Alaska is offering two types of memberships, Flight Pass, which starts at $49 per month and requires booking at least 14 days in advance, and Flight Pass Pro, which starts at $199 per month and allows same-day booking up to two hours before flying.
Once you choose your plan, you decided how many roundtrip flights you want to take in a year: 6, 12 or 24. Then you can redeem credits to book a trip on an eligible route, choosing from the 100 daily flights from 16 airports.
A closer look at the fine print shows that there will be costs beyond the subscription fee, but Alaska says most will amount to less than $15. Flyers still have to pay the government taxes and airport fees for each flight, as well as a nominal fare, which Alaska says is as low as $0.01 for “most flights.”
Other limitations are that the deal is only good for roundtrip flights, not one-way fares, and the credits expire if they aren’t used before the next set arrives.
It’s not clear if the subscription offer will work but the concept has been a great business model in other industries. Other airlines, such as JetBlue, have tried in the past – the company’s “All You Can Jet” pass allowed flyers unlimited travel for one month.