Unlimited Airline Deals: Once Popular Programs Now Rare

Remember JetBlue’s All You Can Jet passes? In the past couple of years, the New York-based airline’s unlimited travel deals proved so popular they’d sell out in a day or so.

JetBlue’s New Vacation Destinations

JetBlue, United Unlimited Deals Gone

Now they’ve gone the way of free meals in coach. JetBlue dropped the deals last summer. Another unlimited deal  no longer available: United’s Premier Baggage, which debuted in 2009 and allowed travelers to pay a flat $250 for a year’s worth of free bags – for the pass holder and up to eight traveling companions. Not long after United made Continental disappear through the magic of merger, the Premier Baggage deal pulled a vanishing act, too.

What Happened when United took over Continental.com

Why Unlimited Deals are Scarce

So is every single all-you-can-eat airline deal dead? No, but they’re getting a lot harder to find. Partly that’s because they have a fairly short shelf-life. And, a lot of the deals are geared to a limited number of flyers, such as JetBlue’s final all-you-can-fly pass which featured fares only to-or-from Boston and Long Beach – plus, its steep price tag (beginning at $1,299) meant it was pretty much limited to business travelers. Once JetBlue finished wringing all the publicity value out of the deal – like introducing its new cities and new pricing to road warriors – execs may have felt it had served its purpose.

See the Best Deals Every Day: FareCompare Deals Blog

American’s Old First Class Flight Deals – Hurting the Airline?

Also, sometimes there are problems with overly savvy travelers getting too big a bang for their buck, which may have happened with American Airlines’ old AAirpass program. As The Los Angeles Times noted, some of AA’s unlimited first class travel passes – which were sold back in the 1980’s for the-then astronomical price of $350,000 – are still in use. Now that the bankrupt carrier is apparently losing money on some of these deals, they reportedly want to call a halt.

Current Unlimited Deals

Today’s unlimited deals are different from the old days – for one thing, most do have some limits – on time frames, destinations and more. But if you feel one of these deals might be right for you, check out these possibilities (but as always, read the fine print carefully):

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Published: May 7, 2012