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Alaska Airlines Is Making This Major Change to Flights, Effective Immediately

The brand new policy could change the way you travel with the carrier.

For some travelers, booking a conveniently timed flight can be as important as flying with their airline of choice. Even as the industry struggles with COVID-related issues and changes in demand that have nixed scheduled departures, carriers still rely on their devoted customers—sometimes going to great lengths to please them by providing as comfortable of an experience as possible. Now, Alaska Airlines has announced that it's making a significant change to flights that could impact even its casual travelers. Read on to see what the carrier has just put into effect for some flyers.

RELATED: Alaska Airlines Is Getting Rid of This on Flights, Effective Immediately.

Alaska Airlines is adding a "Flight Pass" subscription option for some routes.

male traveler wearing a facemask at the airport with the flight schedule

On Feb. 16, Alaska Airlines announced that it would begin offering a new "Flight Pass" subscription for customers, effective immediately. The new plan will allow travelers to pay a monthly rate for credits towards economy roundtrip tickets on flights between 16 airports.

The company says that it's offering the package to make travel accessible as people take to the skies again after the pandemic. It also gives the company access to an increasingly common and reliable revenue stream used by everything from streaming video platforms to exercise companies, Axios reports. "In our basic plan, we're introducing affordable travel on par with an Uber ride or bar tab," Alexander Corey, managing director of business development and products for Alaska Airlines, told Skift.

Passengers can pick from 100 daily flights between 16 airports.

An Alaska Airlines plane sitting on the runway

Subscribers to the pass will receive a fixed number of flights between destinations within California, which includes airports in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Palm Springs, Orange County, Burbank, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Fresno, Monterey, Sonoma, and Sacramento, travel news outlet The Points Guy reports. It will also include out-of-state flights to Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona. In total, "Flight Pass" customers will have access to 100 flights each day.

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Passes will start at $49 per month for six roundtrip flights per year.

Couple Wearing Protective Masks Walking With Suitcases At Airport Terminal, Ready For Post-Quarantine Flight, Copy Space

Customers will have the option of two types of subscriptions. The base-level "Flight Pass" will start at $49 per month for up to six roundtrip flights a year, $99 for 12 roundtrips, and $189 for 24 roundtrips, with subscribers required to book their travel at least 14 days in advance. The "Flight Pass Pro" option offers more flexibility, costing $199, $399, and $749 monthly for six, 12, and 24 flights annually, but allowing flyers to book flights up to two hours before departure time. Ultimately, the subscriptions can save travelers 20 to 30 percent on airfare over a year, Corey told Skift.

However, both plans limit customers from booking travel any further than 90 days before their departure date. The monthly rates also don't include the $14.60 in fees and taxes that will be charged per each one-way flight.

The airline is counting people taking to the skies again for "spontaneous and flexible" trips.

Couple tourists wearing face masks on travel vacation flight inside plane. Coronavirus safety prevention for passengers of flight. People lifestyle.

After two difficult years that saw travel brought nearly to a standstill, the airline says it decided to offer the subscriptions based on trend reports indicating that "most Americans are planning domestic travel in 2022, particularly to warm-weather and beach destinations, and some are even more willing to be spontaneous and flexible on future trips," according to ABC News.

One expert pointed out how the new plans could offer a lifeline to the airline after its tumultuous pandemic experience. "They want the same things that a typical retailer or other private enterprise would want, which is recurring revenue that is predictable and customer loyalty," Adam Levinter, CEO of Scriberbase and author of The Subscription Boom, told Axios. "Subscription models provide an anchor for all of those things."

But it may not be certain that the flight subscriptions will take off. "It remains to be seen how consumers will wrap their heads around this," Levinter added. "It's not completely intuitive."

RELATED: American Is Cutting Flights From These 4 Major Cities, Starting May 1.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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