America’s very own Alaska airlines has recently launched a new ‘flight pass’. What’s a flight pass you ask? Well, it essentially does what it says on the tin. This service provides users subscription-based flights with pay-as-you-go access within three US states. Namely, California, Arizona and Nevada.

In all honesty, the term pay-as-you-go feels a little misleading for this service. While technically not wrong, typical connotations of this term allude to having a greater sense of control over your subscription plan. However, in actuality, this is very much a pay-as-you-go contract. Meaning, yes, when you sign up, you are tied in for an agreed amount of time.

So how does it work?

You choose your subscription-based flights plan, you’re free to choose between six, twelve or twenty-four flights a year. You pay a monthly rate depending on the plan you choose, and then they allocate you credits over the course of the year accordingly.

For example, if you pick the twelve flights a year plan, you’ll receive one credit every month of the year. This credit is then redeemable for booking one round trip within three of the aforementioned states.

However, your credits reset every month, so if you fail to redeem a credit before the next month’s renewal, you can’t get it back. Credits can be used to book a flight for up to 90 days in advance.

How much does it cost?

For the standard subscription package, rates start at $49 a month. You also must book your flight at least 14 days ahead of departure for it to meet the terms of the subscription package.

Comparatively, if you select the flight pass pro, you can book a flight right up to the wire, up to only two hours before a flight. But this package will set you back at the minimum $199 a month. And at the most expensive, $749 a month for twenty-four flights a year.

Why it’s probably not a great idea

Flight costs are a tricky conversation. On the one hand, cheap flights are great for low-income families and individuals who want to go on holidays or visit family members across the world. Travel is a luxury everyone should be able to enjoy from time to time. Even if reality dictates that still isn’t possible for lots of people.

On the other hand, cheap flights naturally lead to an increase in regular flyers, because they become more affordable to a larger portion of people. As with anything, an increased demand necessitates an increased supply. And I think it’s safe to say an increased supply of flights probably isn’t what the world needs right now.

In fact, in an ideal world, we’d be looking towards more sustainable methods of travel where possible. Including alternatives to flying, or just being mindful to travel in moderation, for the planet’s sake.

However, by launching a subscription-based flights package, Alaska airline not only encourages regular travellers to opt for planet-poisoning flights but also encourages other airlines to develop their own subscription system. Sure, if electric flying vehicles were already a commercially viable venture, then there would be less concern. But unfortunately, that’s just not where we’re at.

Flight Pass & Subscription-based Flights | Thoughts

Currently, experts have warned this decade may be our last chance to slow climate change before it becomes irreversible. So before companies contemplate rolling out their own flight passes, they should stop and reconsider. Is short-term profit really worth it if it means unavoidable disaster later down the line?


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