Cheap Airline Tickets? JetBlue Offers Unlimited Flights for $499

The JetBlue month-long unlimited travel pass has spurred some unusual trips.

August 17, 2010, 11:00 AM

Aug. 17, 2010— -- Joseph DiNardo spent an entire month last year flying across the country, just spending 12 hours in a succession of U.S. cities before hopping back on a flight and moving on, all thanks to an unlimited travel pass from JetBlue.

Now that JetBlue is once again selling an unspecified amount of the month-long "All You Can Jet" passes, DiNardo is brainstorming on a new and creative way to take advantage.

"After doing it the first time and seeing all the attention we got, I felt I had to do it again," DiNardo told ABC News. "I would like to work in some sort of charity element this time around."

Even for travelers who aren't looking to hop around the country every 12 hours, the JetBlue pass can be a good deal.

Here's how it works: for $499 you can fly any day of the week except Friday and Sunday. For $699, you can fly any time, on any flight with available seats to any JetBlue destination. The pass is valid for flights between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6, and seats must be booked at least three days before travel. Taxes and fees are included on the domestic trips, but if you fly out of the country, those are extra.

Considering that a round-trip ticket from New York to California on JetBlue is now running for about $400 during the period, the pass could pay for itself after two trips. Granted, on some routes tickets go for as little as $99 round-trip.

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JetBlue sold out its unspecified "limited number" of passes last year and got great publicity, including from ABC News which featured DiNardo's journey with college friend Clark Dever on World News.

Students, Retirees, Unemployed Have Time to Travel

September tends to be the quietest air travel month, and in reality not many people are able to take full advantage of this pass, other than students, retirees or the unemployed. And if you lost your job, you probably don't have $499 to spare on random flights.

DiNardo, who works as a marketing consultant in Austin, Texas, has not yet asked his boss for an entire month off, but said "hopefully" he will get permission.

"Those are things we have to work out and see what happens," he said.

JetBlue gave free passes this year to DiNardo, Dever and a handful of others who became social media celebrities, hoping they would bring the airline more free attention.

Other prominent All-You-Can-Jet "celebrities" last year included Blake Benthall, an aspiring musician and freelance web developer. His goal was to "record a simple song idea every time I fly." Then there was Brendan Ross, better known as Terminal Man. His shtick: to spend the month flying around and not leave the airport. Ross couldn't afford the $599 JetBlue wanted last year for the pass, bought it for him in exchange for being at the site's mercy. Readers helped decide where he went and what he should do. He's wasn't allowed to leave the airport grounds and couldn't spend the night in a hotel.

"Last year, our AYCJ Pass inspired customers across our network with the idea of travel without boundaries, whether they set out for more face time with important clients, planned to visit 30 cities in 30 days or lived inside the walls of airport terminals across the country," Robin Hayes, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for JetBlue Airways said in a statement. "We look forward to seeing how this year's community of Jetters use the Pass and create memories that will last a lifetime."

DiNardo hasn't had a chance to speak with Dever yet about doing a joint project. But he said this year he would like to "go out of the country more," maybe check out Mexico and Columbia.

This year's trip is likely to include "finding local, underfunded charities around the country and bringing their cause to the national stage."

"Of course, we'll still be going out and having a great time when the work day is done," DiNardo said. "Last year, we did it for us. This year, now that we've been given the chance to do it again, maybe we can help out some other people."

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