Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines launched the first-ever flight subscription service in the United States, offering a certain number of flights for a flat fee. The airline has today not only expanded this to additional markets, but for a limited time you can also receive elite status if you sign-up for one of these plans.
How Alaska Airlines’ flight subscription service works
Alaska Airlines offers Flight Pass, a subscription-based travel plan that allows members to fly up to 24 roundtrip flights a year, for a fixed monthly cost.
There are two Flight Pass options available, and for each you can choose whether you want six, 12, or 24 roundtrip nonstop flights per year:
- The best value Flight Pass starts at $49 per month, and requires booking at least 14 days before travel, and as early as 90 days in advance
- The most flexible Flight Pass starts at $199 per month, and allows same-day booking up to two hours before departure, and as early as 90 days in advance
There are a few more things to note:
- Flight Pass is exclusively available for select West Coast destinations, and allows travel within California, as well as select routes to Arizona, Nevada, and Utah; this includes 100 daily flights to 16 airports, with Salt Lake City having recently been added to the plan
- Flight Pass books into economy
- Flight Pass requires a minimum commitment of 12 months
- Flight Pass members will have to pay government taxes and airport fees on each flight, plus a “nominal fare” (for most flights that’s $0.01)
- Mileage Plan members can still earn miles on Flight Pass bookings, and take advantage of elite perks
Here’s how Alex Corey, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of business development and products, describes this initiative:
“Flight Pass builds on our mission to offer travelers the most West Coast destinations at the best value. Our commitment to care means offering convenient and affordable options that fit our guests’ lifestyle and connect them to where they want to go. 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.”
Limited time: receive elite status with Alaska Airlines Flight Pass
For a limited time, it’s possible to receive Alaska Mileage Plan MVP or MVP Gold status if you sign-up for a Flight Pass:
- This is valid for those who are actively subscribed to a qualifying flight pass, or who subscribe by November 30, 2022
- Subscribers enrolled in a 12 or 24 trip per year Flight Pass will be granted MVP status through December 2023, while subscribers enrolled in the 12 or 24 trip per year Flight Pass Pro will be granted MVP Gold status through December 2023
- Status should post to eligible accounts no later than December 7, 2022
- This offer is only valid for residents of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah
- Members must remain active Flight Pass subscribers to maintain their status through December 2023
Is Alaska Airlines’ Flight Pass worth it?
This is no doubt a creative concept from Alaska Airlines, as we haven’t seen something quite like this before from a US airline. However, years back we saw JetBlue offer an “All You Can Jet” pass, whereby you could take an unlimited number of JetBlue flights over a certain period for a fixed cost (which to me is much more interesting, frankly).
What’s my take on Alaska Airlines’ Flight Pass?
- The value here is potentially good; for example, the $49 pass would cost you $588 annually, and would get you six roundtrip flights; with taxes and fees, you’ll end up paying a bit more than $100 per roundtrip
- Personally even if I lived in one of these destinations, I’d need a compelling reason to sign up — you’re missing out on a lot of flexibility by committing yourself to one airline, and with the cheaper plan you have a limited booking window, capacity controls, etc., and don’t have the freedom to book other airlines
I’d say this could make sense for those who very frequently fly the same route, like someone who commutes every week on the same flight. Or it could be worth it for someone who frequently books tickets very last minute in markets where tickets are otherwise expensive.
For the rest of us, the flexibility you’re giving up generally isn’t going to be worth the cost savings, in my opinion.
I will say that the temporary promotion offering elite status does make this a bit more compelling, and I’m sure will cause many to register.
Alaska Airlines has expanded its Flight Pass offering, which is a subscription service allowing you to purchase a certain number of flights annually at a fixed cost. This is specific to select Alaska Airlines West Coast destinations, and there are two plans that offer different levels of flexibility.
For those enrolled by November 30, 2022, you can even pick up Alaska Mileage Plan MVP or MVP Gold status, which could be a good opportunity.
This is a creative concept and I’m curious to see if it proves to be popular. It would be great to see something like this valid more widely across a carrier’s network, rather than just limited to select markets (though I realize the economics for Alaska Airlines might not make as much sense then).
What do you make of the Alaska Airlines Flight Pass concept?