— If you haven’t heard about JetBlue’s $599 All-You-Can-Jet Pass, offering one month of almost unlimited travel, then you haven’t been paying attention.
The airline is offering an unusual deal allowing you to fly, for one set price, almost as much as you can stand between September 8 and October 8, 2009 inclusive. Yep, just make your reservation at least three days prior to your trip and, if there’s an available seat, you’re good to go. This offer is valid on any of JetBlue’s more than 600 routes, although passengers are expected to pay additional taxes for international flights, which, at $120 or so round-trip, can really add up. Happily, for domestic flights, taxes are already included in the price.
This isn’t the first time an airline has offered all you can fly. Each year, Cathay Pacific sells its All Asia Pass, which includes a flight from its North American gateways to Hong Kong and then 21 days of unlimited travel on its Asian network. Two years ago, Air Canada offered all-you-can-fly programs between the U.S. and Canada.
We say that JetBlue’s offer is almost unlimited because there is one major restriction: you can’t fly out of the same airport more than once per day. So, for example, flying from Boston to New York to Boston the same day is fine; but, as we read the rules, you can’t fly Boston-New York-Boston-Los Angeles in the same day.
The three-day advance purchase rule is a plus, since usually the cheapest fares must be bought 7, 14, or 21 days ahead.
And another excellent part is that you can make changes to your flights after booking without penalty, as long as you do so three days in advance. Normally, changes on non-refundable fares incur a $100 change fee, although there is a no-show fee of $100 each time you fail to cancel a flight in advance of departure.
But wait, here’s the best part, and feel free to cup your ear and lean in for this: Customers who already have a flight booked during the pass travel period can pay the difference to upgrade to the pass. Also unusual for such a Web-centric airline: flights can only be booked by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).
Interested? To take advantage of this deal, you must be a member of JetBLue's TrueBlue frequent flyer program. And you must book before passes are sold out, or by August 21, whichever comes first.
But is this a good value? In reality, All You Can Jet will appeal far more to someone living in New York or Boston, both major JetBlue stations, rather than, say, in Houston, a city the airline serves nonstop only from New York. And if you have no vacation time, or don’t have an extra $599 lying around, it’s not going to work.
But if you have a girlfriend in a city that costs $250 round-trip to visit and you’d like to see her every weekend during the eligible travel period, or if you’re a modern day Willy Loman who thought you couldn’t afford to visit your scattered clients, or your Great American Novel has just been published and a book tour would be just the ticket, then go for it.
JetBlue tells us that its average tax-included one-way fare last quarter was $127. Using that as a guide, you’d only need to fly five flights to make this pass pay off. And JetBlue suggested to us that if one planned carefully and spent the next 31 days in one of their Airbus or Embraer aircraft, then it might be possible to fly an average of 5 flights per day, or over 150 flights total, for a total theoretical value of more than $19,000. Of course, no one is going to do that.
At least we hope not.