In an interesting new strategy, JetBlue has decided to offer a new pass that allows you to fly on its airline as much as you like for 31 days for only $599. Those 31 days are from September 8th and October 8th (careful not to include Labor Day or Columbus Day weekends, though Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are both in there). The pass is a really interesting idea, but it won't appeal to everyone.
JetBlue's target audience for this new pass must be business travelers. Unless you're planning on taking several round trips during the 31 days for which the pass lasts, then it probably isn't that great of a bargain. As a result, the casual traveler will probably be better off just booking a flight on JetBlue the old fashioned way -- one at a time.
Are there any catches? Not exactly, but there are some interesting rules to note:
First, you must book your travel three days in advance. So if you're a last minute traveler, you probably won't benefit much from this pass either.
Second, your plans must also be pretty concrete. Unless you change or cancel a booked flight more than three days before departure, you have to pay change or cancellation fees. And don't try just not showing up, because then you'll owe JetBlue a $100 penalty.
These rules result in further limiting the population of business travelers who will likely find the pass appealing. Not all business travel is highly predictable and stable. I know back when I was a consultant and constant business traveler, there were some times when our various engagements were known far in advance, but there were others we did not know about until a day or two prior.
Finally, is this pass the kind of thing that could catch on? I have some doubts. As mentioned in the first paragraph, JetBlue was very careful to find a 31-day window with no major holidays. That eliminates such a pass as a money saving measure for those who also plan to travel for the holidays. A round trip ticket on such weekends can easily eclipse the entire cost of this pass. As a result, any 31-day span containing a holiday weekend would likely cost a lot more, unless the airline blacked out certain days.
If this pass does turn out to be extremely popular at enticing business travelers, then the black out alternative might be a good strategy for JetBlue or others to pursue. Otherwise, it would have to continue to identify slices of months free from holiday travel to offer the passes.