The subscription-based all-you-can-eat model whereas you pay a monthly fee and get access to a given service on demand is now the norm in businesses such as video streaming (Netflix), mobile telephones (monthly plans) or even retails (Amazon Prime & startup-of-the-moment Jet).
Could it work with airlines?
We have seen already some cases, such as Norwegian regional airline Wideroe launching a flat fee for domestic flights in Norway or Beacon, that just has closed a $7.5M Series A funding round to expand its flat fee private jet service in the East Coast of the United States.
Now another startup, OneGo, aims to do the same for mainstream airlines in the US.
The idea is simple: you pay a one-off $750 entry fee plus $1,500 a month to book as many flights as you wish...well, in reality, some limitations apply to the basic subscription, like for example, the service is currently restricted to a number of routes, mostly in the US West Coast, you must book at least 7 days in advance (there is a penalty fee if you wish to change your flight) and you can have up to 4 segments at any one time, also the service is only available on economy class. OneGo also offers, at an additional cost, some subscription add-ons that provide additional flexibility to the booking process.
In addition to the unlimited flights users have also access to some additional benefits, like lounge and GoGo in-flight wi-fi access. You can also continue to earn frequent flyer miles, as you are still flying on the usual carriers, such as United or American Airlines.
The idea to start OneGo came to founder Paulius Grigas out of the frustration he felt when he realized that he was devoting a significant share of its productive time to sort out his business travel arrangements, so there started the quest to find a solution that could simplify the process.
Interestingly Mr.Grigas confirms that most of the people that have pre-registered to use the service share two common traits: they travel mostly and frequently for business and most of them are not working for large corporations, that have already long-terms agreements with travel agents, but most often than not they are independent professionals and investors. He also hopes that OneGo will be able to create new demand on its own, specially from people that have personal reasons to fly often and would not mind doing so as long as they were able put a cap on the costs.
This is certainly a bold business proposition, but if it works it could really have an impact on the industry...after all, I am old enough to remember the times when flat-fee plans for internet broadband connection sounded utopic!