Air travel is about to offer a whole new option for travelers – the subscription service. One airline is pioneering this first-of-its-kind option – Alaska Airlines. We’re going to unpack what it is and whether you should try it!
What exactly is Alaska Airlines subscription service, Flight Pass?
Flight Pass charges travelers a flat fee in exchange for flexible, very low cost, frequent round-trip flights (no one-ways allowed). The service starts as low as $49/month. It allows travelers to pay a flat fee that gives them a select number of flights per month at a significant discount.
Alaska Airlines offers a few different options:
- $49/mo subscription: 1 round trip flight every 2 months
- $99/mo subscription: 1 round trip every month
- $199/mo subscription: 2 round trip flights every month
All flights must be booked 14 days in advance. Alaska Airlines also offers Flight Pass Pro, which gives travelers more booking flexibility, allowing much more last minute flights (up to 2 hours prior to departure) at a higher cost.
What is included with a Flight Pass ticket?
You can choose a seat in the Main Cabin for free, and tickets do not incur change fees. Flight Pass flights are booked on a clean, easy-to-use website, separate from the regular Alaska Airlines website, and you use credits that get deposited into your account to book flights.
Does the Flight Pass subscription service cover Alaska Airlines entire flight schedule?
No. Right now, this program is available just for flights within California, Nevada and Arizona. This means, it’s really only applicable for passengers who live in or travel frequently between these three states. We can assume the plan will get extended to other destinations if the program is a success.
Does this mean flights are free when I subscribe to Flight Pass?
Not exactly. Alaska Airlines has stated that “most” flights will be available for a penny (that’s right $0.01) plus the regular taxes and airport fees ( $14.60). Alaska Airlines does say that the more popular routes could cost “more,” though they refrain from quantifying what exactly “more” might equal. Travelers who have tried the service report that the vast majority of flights remain at the $0.01 price.
Still, when was the last time you saw a flight for $15? People who fall into that frequent flyer zone, could well find this service to be a great value (especially the “Flight Pass Pro” subscription that permits you to book flights up to 2 hours prior to departure). For the rest of us, maybe not so much. There’s no assurance that prices will stay this low, and if you don’t use the service, it’s just going to be money left on the table.
What’s the downside about Flight Pass?
The Flight Pass is only available to adults, 18+. So families can’t take advantage at the moment. If you don’t use your credits, you lose them. You have to book round-trip tickets – no breaking these up. Flights and destinations available right now. And finally, Flight Pass locks you in for 12 months. Better be darn sure you’ll use the service before signup.
This is likely to be just the first salvo in a big push for this kind of service. We’ll keep you posted as other airlines come online with their own offerings. Happy travels!