***UPDATE: 06/12/2019 @ 11:30 UTC – Added comment from Wizz***
European low-cost carrier Wizz is looking to introduce a subscription-based ticketing service, according to reporting in Polish travel site Fly4Free. The product, which will be known as the Wizz Pass, will allow travelers to pay once and fly as much as they like to select destinations within the Wizz network.
Netflix for air travel
Subscription services are all the rage right now. From movies to razors to cooking ingredients, people love to pay monthly for what they use regularly, taking away the hassle of making regular transactions. It was only a matter of time before the airline industry caught on.
Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz is reportedly working towards an announcement of a monthly subscription service for its frequent fliers. According to reports, the Wizz Pass will enable passengers to pay a monthly fee, and then travel for free on selected routes across the Wizz network.
Although the service is yet to be officially announced by the airline, Polish website Fly4Free has uncovered some information, and says that the airline ‘does not deny’ that the service will be launching soon.
What do we know about Wizz Pass so far?
Information is pretty thin on the ground at the moment, but there are a few nuggets we can share with our readers.
Firstly, we know that this will be a subscription service, probably with the ability to pay monthly or, for a slight discount, to purchase a year-long pass. Holders of the pass will be able to book flights on Wizz without paying for the flight itself. However, additional services such as checked bags and seat selection will still be chargeable.
There will be some restrictions on routes that are included in the offer, as well as travel dates and booking period. The way Wizz handles this will make or break the scheme. Clearly, there needs to be some control in this respect, but with its super low prices already on many routes, Wizz needs to ensure its Pass holders are able to get good value from their investment.
It may be that Pass seats are limited per flight, in a similar way to the limitations placed on reward seats with other airlines. However, the good news is that there will only be a limited number of passes available, which means those who hold the Pass won’t be competing with too many others for seats when they want them.
When can we expect more information?
Fly4Free talks about the Wizz Pass launching in the first half of 2020. That’s unofficial right now, and not for certain. The pricing of the Pass is also yet to be determined. Wizz Air provided Simple Flying with the following statement:
“Wizz Air can confirm that the airline is eager to understand customer interest in potential new products and services and is continuously looking for new solutions which can enhance our passengers’ travel experience. New products are currently under assessment. Stay tuned for our official announcements on new launches.”
It’s an interesting concept, but not entirely new to aviation. Before the turn of the millennium, a number of airlines offered unlimited air travel passes, so example, Northwest, whose pass was around $499 a month. Delta too used to offer unlimited travel, but by the mid-90s both had stopped.
More recently AirAsia has tried its hand at an unlimited travel pass, but quietly dropped it earlier this year. British Airways offers a sort of ‘pass’ through Optiontown, but there is still a fee to pay. Prices start at £45 one way for flights within Europe, and heavy restrictions make it a tricky one to get value out of.
The only real unlimited travel pass we know of right now is the Azul Airpass. This allows travelers who arrive in Brazil via Azul, TAP or United to purchase a pass for travel within Brazil on Azul for $399 for 10 days or $499 for 21 days. It’s not exactly what Wizz is proposing, but not a million miles away.
If the Wizz scheme does take off, it could pave the way for other low-cost airlines to introduce Netflix-like solutions for frequent travelers. Would you buy a Wizz Pass? Let us know in the comments.