Offers Fliers Option To Purchase Time In Advance
A pricing practice used by fractional aircraft ownership
operations, flight schools, and several current and upcoming air
taxi services, is also being tried out on a far larger scale by Air
Canada. USA Today reports the airline is testing the concept of
selling tickets in bulk, for customers to use at their
The practice allows frequent fliers to purchase a set number of
tickets ahead of time. Those tickets may then be redeemed as
needed, for a set price, and may even be booked up to one hour
before a flight's scheduled departure time.
The paper cites the experiences of Dallas, TX-based consultant
Tom Burke, who paid Air Canada $6,858 last year for 20 round trip
flights between eastern Canada, and many of the 53 US cities the
carrier flies from. The option also allows him to change or cancel
trips without penalty.
"A couple of times (before buying the pass), I got socked with
significant increases in fare because I changed the (travel) date,"
The concept of selling air travel by bulk, or in "blocks," isn't
new. Fractional ownership programs typically sell blocks of flight
time on a per-hour basis; an increasing number of flight schools
also offer students the option of paying for blocks of air time
upfront, often at a slight discount compared to standard hourly
Some on-demand air taxi operators also offer customers the
option of buying tickets in bulk.
The approach is new to the world of commercial airlines,
however, and US airlines are keeping a wary eye on Air Canada's
success (or failure) with the program, before deciding on whether
to adopt similar practices.