a flying ‘bus’

Public transit is an interesting concept, and as I’ve written about before, is not a panacea.

However, I’m wondering if it might be reasonable to apply the concept to flying. Bear with me a minute here.

Let’s say you fly – maybe a lot, maybe not a lot, but when you do, you pretty much go to the same places. Airlines have frequent flyer programs. Why not have frequent flyer cards upon which you not only earned miles, but also could buy flight segments? For example, let’s say I fly a lot between a given pair of cities (maybe Raleigh and Baltimore). A company like Southwest could sell me en masse a bunch of flight segments (good for any segment they fly from any city to any other), and I could redeem them for actual trips.

Taking my example, let’s say I fly a lot between Raleigh and Baltimore. Instead of paying $50 each way (or whatever the current price is) – I could buy 10 flight segments for, say $475. All taxes and fees included already. Then, if i need to fly to Albany for some reason, instead of redeeming 1 flight segment each way, I cash-in two each way, and voila: I have a round trip from Raleigh to Albany.

By selling flight segments in batches, Southwest could guarantee passengers (or at least revenue). The drawback, of course, is that you can only redeem segments for flights that have open seats left.

What do you think about this?