The owner of two casinos and the Events Center in Downtown Las Vegas has launched a campaign to “Keep America Flying.” Derek Stevens announced on 27th May that he would be offering 1,000 American travelers the chance to fly to Las Vegas for free when casinos open up again.
Free flights for selected cities
In recent weeks, we’ve heard a few stories about airlines offering free flights. These have primarily been for medical workers or repatriation, but yesterday, a handful of lucky travelers got to take advantage of an altogether different free flight scheme.
On 27th May, Derek Stevens shared a broadcast on YouTube inviting 1,000 lucky Americans to book free flights to visit Las Vegas next month. In the video, Stevens said that he had purchased tickets between Las Vegas and 24 US cities, which he was now offering for free.
Travelers willing to take advantage of the deal could reserve their spots via his casino, The D, from airlines including:
- Spirit Airlines
- Frontier Airlines, and
- Southwest Airlines.
The tickets were allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis and included a single one-way ticket.
A popular proposal
In Las Vegas, Stevens’ offer has been one-of-a-kind, with other casinos offering incentives that pale in comparison. Derek Stevens’ idea has proved to be a popular strategy. All 1,000 tickets have now been sold, and travelers will be making their way to the gambling capital of the world between June 3rd and June 12th.
Despite Stevens’ personal vested interest in the scheme, he insists that his motive is for the benefit of tourism.
In the video shared on YouTube, Mr. Stevens’ said:
“Obviously, my team and I would like you to stay at one of our hotels, but if you don’t, that’s alright too because Las Vegas needs you. Our community needs you. We’re just trying to do our share: keep America flying, keep Las Vegas rolling.”
These free flights coincide with the reopening of casinos in Nevada from June 4th. The iconic gambling scene has been closed for two months since mid-March, but now many are anticipating it opening again.
Are more schemes like this needed?
One thing is for sure: everyone loves a free flight. It’s no wonder that this brainwave was so popular, but are more schemes like this needed?
While not everyone has the means to shell out thousands of dollars to get their customers back, the incentive to boost travel post-coronavirus is a good one. Speaking to The Telegraph earlier this month, David Calhoun, CEO at Boeing, issued a grim prediction for the coming months.
He said that he did not foresee air travel demand returning fully by the end of the year. Calhoun noted that over the summer, he was expecting just 25% of the expected demand to return, which would rise to 50% by the end of the year.
Furthermore, he also warned that the coronavirus could force the collapse of at least one major US airline. With air travel demand at such desperately low levels and airlines seeking to regain their financial standing, anything that can safely promote the return of tourism is good for the aviation industry.
Whether more schemes like “Keep America Flying” will help is yet to be seen.
Do you think Derek Stevens’ scheme will promote tourism? Will more companies follow his lead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.