JetBlue is bringing back its popular All-You-Can-Jet pass, which allows anyone to travel to an unlimited number of cities over a one-month period. It’s a chance for the airline to fill empty seats during what is traditionally the slowest time of the year and hopefully, for JetBlue, to create the same wide-ranging social buzz it generated last year when it launched the promotion for the first time.
And for consumers with wanderlust, stamina, $700, or better yet, a combination of all three, it’s a continual ticket to any destination in the U.S. and Caribbean for 30 days.
The pass is valid for flights between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6, the company announced Tuesday. There are two price tiers: an unlimited pass for $699 or a $499 pass that excludes travel on Fridays and Sundays.
Last year, the unlimited tickets cost $599 and they sold out fast.
The pass gave the 10-year-old airline a wave of publicity, with travelers documenting their journeys on Facebook and Twitter. People used the pass for tours the nation’s sports stadiums, music meccas, and even 30-day job-search blitzes.
Those who could get tickets began setting up happy hours in far-flung cities just because they could, and other companies took advantage of the growing hubbub.
Hotels like the Hyatt and Ritz Carlton, which had struggled through the recession as business travel faded, offered discounts to draw the group in.
While it makes sense that the promotion is rolled out during the travel doldrums wedged between the summer vacation and winter holiday seasons, it also comes one week later than it did in 2009.
Last week, JetBlue Airways was wrestling with the national spotlight focused on Steven Slater, the now-infamous JetBlue flight attendant, who cursed out a passenger over a jet intercom and made a quick exit down the emergency slide with beer in hand.
The limited number of tickets can be booked online through Friday.
All travel must be booked between Monday and Oct. 3, and passengers must book flights within three days of departure, or pay a $50 booking fee. There’s also a $50 fee for changes or cancellations within three days of travel.
Despite fees and a higher price for the unlimited package, this year’s pass is a better deal than the first time around, said George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com.
In general, fares are much higher this year.
Hobica points out that a single flight across the country is $100 more in some cases. He believes JetBlue will draw even more crowds this year because of the cheaper, $499 option.
Travelers must join JetBlue’s frequent flier program, TrueBlue, to participate. All participants earn a standard amount of frequent flier miles for buying the passes – 4,200 points for the purchase of the unlimited pass, or 3,000 points for the pass that’s valid five days a week. One-way flight awards start at 5,000 points.
The airline serves 61 cities with 650 daily flights.