JetBlue and United Airlines, two major airline carriers in the US, have started using the service to offer discounted seats on flights that weren’t filled. These types of discounts have been available from airlines for a while, starting with emails in the 90s, but Twitter fills this particular need perfectly.
JetBlue started posting its “Cheeps,” the Twitter-only discounted fares, in July and has since usually published new fares every Monday for flights for the following two weekends. Twitter has to act fast though as the tickets are usually sold out the same day. United Airlines started its program earlier, in May, and the “twares,” as the company calls them, don’t come at a regular interval and can also be available for any flights not just weekends. As expected, these don’t last too long either – sometimes only a few hours.
“By promoting the Cheeps through Twitter, we give the already spontaneous audience of Twitter users a chance to grab great last-minute fares,” Morgan Johnston, JetBlue spokesman, told USA Today. “Twares are all about surprising our customers with low fares for a very, very limited time,” Robin Urbanski, United Airlines spokeswoman, also said. “[They] sell extremely fast because the prices are unbeatable.”
The flights can go for as little as $9 and the two companies have had some success with the programs and, though it’s too early to tell, it’s hard to imagine that the companies aren’t making a profit from the venture as the associated costs are very low.