Would you risk getting COVID-19 for unlimited flights?

Despite conclusive evidence that COVID-19 can spread rapidly on flights, airlines are attempting to woo passengers back onto planes with unlimited flight promotions.

Carriers globally have been all but decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. Here in the US, industry unions representing many major airlines, including Delta, American and United, have pushed for billions in bailout grants and loans from Congress. Many others, such as Virgin Australia and Colombia’s Avianca, went bankrupt weeks or months ago.

All told, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated the industry will lose at last $314 billion due to the pandemic.

Hoping to stay afloat, airlines are launching unprecedented deals. Air Canada recently launched their Infinite Canada Flight Pass: a ticket to anywhere, anytime for one flat fee of $2,260 per month, which can be purchased in one-, two- or three-month blocks.

These preferred customers will also enjoy added flexibility, with clearance to change or cancel their flight up to an hour before departure with no added fees.

Jetsetters should move fast, as the promotion ends Wednesday.

The North American carrier may have been inspired by budget airline AirAsia, which introduced a 499 Malaysian ringgit ($121) ticket for a year’s worth of unlimited, domestic travel, open to residents of the Malay Peninsula country only.

China Eastern also boasts an unlimited flight pass, though it’s valid only for weekend travel.

Meanwhile, some are trying something a bit more gimmicky. Case in point: Qantas launched a seven-hour “flight to nowhere,” priced between $575 and $2,765 — which sold out in just 10 minutes. The trip, which begins and ends in Sydney, promised to give passengers a low-flying view of the Australian continent, including the Great Barrier Reef and parts of the more than 2.5 million squares of Outback desert. A spokesperson for the Pacific travel giant called it “probably the fastest selling flight” in their history.

“People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying,” she reckoned.


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