Random geekery since 2005.

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An Idea For The Airlines

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Today, I was looking at Southwest’s fares for flying to Seattle. It’s a gorgeous part of this great country, and I’m always looking for a fun place to take my wife on a trip. Fares to Seattle were $118 each way.

I’m not planning a vacation.

That’s the problem. I’m not currently planning a vacation. I don’t know when I’d be able to get out there. But I like that price. If I could buy a ticket, but not a specific seat on a specific plane on a specific day, I’d probably buy one. Why can’t that be done?

Flight prices fluctuate.

I can accept that flight prices fluctuate. I’d imagine a flight to Cancun is more expensive during Spring Break, and flights to Orlando during the summer months go up a bit as well (Disney World traffic). But if I find a flight at a price I like, without a real timeframe to use it, why shouldn’t I be able to buy one?

My idea.

I’d like to propose to the airlines that they start offering flight credits for purchase. If I can buy a flight today, and use it 8 months from now, I’d think everyone would win. The airline gets my money (that they may not have gotten otherwise), and I get a fare that I like.

There would certainly have to be some restrictions, like I can’t take one of the last few seats on a full plane (they will probably be able to sell those), or perhaps I have to book the flight NO MORE than 14 days in advance. This would require me to fill in some of those empty seats on a plane.

The bonus for the airlines is that they can generate a bit more capital up-front. The bonus for the consumer is that I get the price I purchased the fare at. If I get it for $49 each way, but it’s currently $180 each way, I wouldn’t have to care. I’m just using my flight credit.

Where’s the downside?


5 responses to “An Idea For The Airlines”

  1. EricMatz Avatar

    Ahh…I missed your point about getting the same fare. Sounds good to me!

  2. James Bender Avatar
    James Bender

    I agree it's an interesting idea, but one of the problems with it is that the price of fuel fluctuates over time. You buy the ticket for $118 today, and for sake of argument, say $40 covers your share of the fuel. But when you travel in six to eight months, the price of gas may have gone up, in which case you share is actually $65 The airline doesn't want to eat that $25One way I've found to make the expense of flying work for me, on Southwest at least, is to buy SW gift cards at either Giant Eagle or Kroger. If you're in one of their "gas point" programs, the money you spend on the gift card go towards your gas points. Don't necessarily save on the flight, but you get cheaper gas.

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