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?
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?