THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

JetBlue pass adds to low-fare options at Logan

1-month promotion most likely to benefit business travelers

By Katie Johnston Chase
Globe Staff / August 15, 2009

E-mail this article

Invalid email address
Invalid email address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

  • Email|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

The low-fare battle heats up as JetBlue takes on Southwest.

When Southwest first announced it would fly from Boston to Baltimore for $49 each way, JetBlue added a route there too - for $39. And on Wednesday, a few weeks after Southwest’s eye-popping $30/$60/$90 airfare sale, JetBlue launched an unusual nationwide promotion: $599 for an unlimited month of travel.

According to JetBlue, the sale has nothing to do with other airlines. “This is more of an opportunity to take advantage of typically low periods of travel,’’ said spokeswoman Alison Croyle.

But it does mean that Boston travelers continue to have more low-fare options. Southwest starts service out of Logan International Airport tomorrow, and AirTran has more than 40 destinations on sale from Boston, including a $79 fare to Cancun. AirTran also is literally rolling out the red carpet at Logan on Wednesday to unveil its first business-class security lane in Boston.

Spokesmen for AirTran and South west said their airlines had no plans to match the monthlong travel deal. Air Canada offered an all-you-can-fly pass a few years ago, and Cathay Pacific has an All Asia pass for $1,499, good for 24 cities in 21 days.

JetBlue’s $599 All You Can Jet Pass, good from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8, will probably most benefit business travel, an area that has been hit hard during the recession. But even a frequent flier taking short trips would have to travel a lot to make the pass worthwhile. Someone making more than two trips to Los Angeles (about $300 round-trip from Boston on JetBlue) in a month would benefit, but not a person taking less than four trips to Orlando (at $150 each).

“I’m not sure the business flier really can take that much advantage of this unless it’s a commuter who’s going back and forth every weekend,’’ said airline analyst Robert Herbst, who runs AirlineFinancials.com.

The unlimited-travel promotion, on sale through Friday, or until it’s sold out, has generated a lot of interest online. Traffic on JetBlue’s website has jumped about 700 percent since the sale was announced, Coyle said.

Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com expects special promotions like this to keep popping up, whether it’s two-hour megasales on Twitter or 50,000 bonus frequent flier miles, as airlines try to win back skittish travelers. “I think we’ll see a lot of these clever marketing schemes,’’ he said.

Katie Johnston Chase can be reached at johnstonchase@globe.com.