Is Unlimited Flying With OneGo A Good Deal?

OneGo has been getting a lot of press the past few days, after it publicly launched on Monday. For those of you not familiar, they’re a startup with the tagline “Unlimited Flying For Unlimited Opportunities.” OneGo claims to be the first booking app for subscription-based flying on major airlines.

OneGo

It’s an extremely intriguing concept. When I first saw this I first asked myself what the catch was, and then thought this seemed like a mileage runner’s dream come true.

To start, let’s talk about pricing. To sign-up there’s a $495 account creation fee, and then after that you’re on a monthly plan. The country is split up into four regions, and the costs indicated are monthly, ranging from $1,500 to $2,950. With that in mind, here are the subscription options:

  • Nationwide: $2,950
  • West: $1,500
  • Central: $1,950
  • East: $2,300

OneGo-Unlimited-Flights

That’s a sizable amount of money, but less than $100 per day to fly around the country as much as you want seems too good to be true, right?

Well, unfortunately it is too good to be true, because after reading the terms it becomes clear flying isn’t actually unlimited. The good news is that OneGo is literally paying for your flights like anyone else would, so you earn miles and upgrades as you usually would for your flying.

Here are the things you’ll want to keep in mind about OneGo:

  • You can have at most four one-way reservations booked at any time
  • Flights must be booked at least seven days in advance
  • Changing flights more than seven days in advance will cost you $100, while changing flights within seven days of departure will cost you $200
  • OneGo books passengers on Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, United, and Virgin America; you don’t get to select the airline, though they’ll book you on a nonstop route (so in the event only one airline operates a route, you’d know which you would get)

American-787
OneGo could book you on a variety of airlines

The two most important points are that you have to book at least seven days in advance, and can have at most four one-way reservations active at any point. By my math, that means you’ll get at most 16 one-way tickets booked per month. At most. So on the $2,950 nationwide plan, that’s like paying ~$185 per segment. On the west plan, that’s like paying ~$95 per segment. And that’s assuming you maximize it perfectly, which I’m guessing virtually no one will do.

But I think OneGo deserves credit for being honest in their marketing. They’re not arguing that their value proposition is saving you money, but rather that they’ll give you a hassle free experience and a predictable cost structure.

For example, this is a question in the FAQs:

I did the math and OneGo doesn’t seem cheaper. Why should I sign up?

OneGo provides you with a predictable, simple, quick and hassle-free booking platform so you can spend less time booking and more time focused on your business. Furthermore, you don’t need to make any long term commitment, and can stop your subscription any month.

Heck, if OneGo actually saved you money on flights they’d be losing money. Presumably they’ll be losing money on some customers and making it on others, but on average they’ll almost certainly come out ahead among members.

Still, there’s a very narrow set of customers where a OneGo subscription adds value:

  • It’s not useful if you tend to book last minute, since you have to book at least seven days in advance
  • It’s not useful if you tend to make changes, since you’re still stuck paying for those changes
  • It’s not useful if you’re loyal to just one airline, since you could end up on a variety of airlines
  • It’s not useful if your travel schedule is inconsistent, since you pay the same amount each month even if you don’t fly much

Delta-Economy
If you’re loyal to one airline and value upgrades, OneGo might not be for you

Bottom line

I commend OneGo for their creative concept, which I haven’t really seen done before. There are a very narrow set of circumstances under which this could make sense, though I suspect some people will value the consistent costs associated with this, which is what OneGo is really basing their marketing around.

At the end of the day OneGo seems to basically be booking paid tickets on airlines, and is counting on the overall cost of flights being less than the monthly membership fees people are paying. I’m guessing they’ll have no problem achieving that, because even if maximizing the nationwide plan I’m not sure I’d actually spend more than $2,950 on eight roundtrip flights per month. The big question is whether they can get enough people to buy into the concept.

What do you make of OneGo’s business plan, and would you consider getting a membership?

Comments

  1. @Ryan

    No premium cabin at this time , FAQ says might be an option in the future.

    @Lucky

    “What airlines can I fly?

    You can most certainly choose which carrier you prefer to fly with as long as there is a seat available within the designated class fare. OneGo currently offers seats on the following major US commercial carriers offering regional and cross country travel:

    – Alaska Airlines
    – American Airlines
    – Delta Airlines
    – JetBlue Airways
    – United Airlines
    – Virgin America”

    So possible to request a specific airline, but no guaranties?

    “How can I customize my current plan with Add-Ons?

    Yes in the near future you will be able to customize your plan to include several Add-Ons:
    Last-Minute Booking
    – More Open Bookings
    – Unlimited Changes

    More details will become available when we release the add-ons.”

    Wonder what they are going to charge for Last-Minute Booking and Unlimited Changes?

  2. So if you are loyal to one airline, it’s not for you. If you fly mainly in business, you would possibly need the flexibility and wouldn’t know your schedule that much in advance anyways, it’s not for you. If you travel for vacation a few times a year, then it is not for you. So who the hell is it for? I wonder whether the guys who come up with the idea are actually frequent travellers, because I don’t see why anyone would use it. Further, the hassle-free booking platform is a joke, the hassle is part of the fun 😉

  3. Maximum depends a bit on the website interpreation – front page mentions 8 flights at a time, and FAQ mentions at most 4 reservations. Can each reservation be round-trip, or just one-ways? At the extreme, you can do as many as 34 flights per month (if the flights are short enough and you’re willing to fly 8 segments every 7 days).

    Similarly, by picking routes carefully you can likely guarantee a couple of airlines or so. I also wonder how booking works when choosing non-stops. Do you pick a 3hr time window and they pick cheapest flights within that time? Larger/smaller window? Many business travelers can likely tweak departure times a bit to get the desired airline to be cheapest within a particular (small) time window. FAQ mentions “You can most certainly choose which carrier you prefer to fly with as long as there is a seat available within the designated class fare.” and “With OneGo, you can book any non-stop flight route that is included in our service area as long as there is an available seat within the designated class”. This seems like a fare cap per ticket though.

    The other big catch is only 76 major airports are supported, so you can’t purposefully book exorbitantly priced flights to some tiny airport.

    With that said, if sticking to each region, $44/57/68 per segment doesn’t seem bad (but you’d get worse numbers if you actually stay somewhere or spread your flights apart).

  4. Further reading FAQs: “You simply select the available flight that best fits your schedule from your favorite airline and then book it.”

    If there’s really no restrictions other than coach (airline and flights of choice), than this becomes even more tempting. It’s not that hard to find near full-fare tickets a week out.

  5. Hmm, this is a bit bizarre. But I guess I could see it being of value to those who frequently have to travel to smaller cities with correspondingly small airports. Low supply but often-high demand at these airports can put nonstop, round trips booked a week out well above $500. So if you’re making these kind of trips often, this seems like it could be valuable. That’s a lot of hypotheticals, though!

  6. Thought of an interesting scenario: what if one is Alaska’s MVPG? Could you potentially make the changes yourself without fees, to your desired date and route, using the ticket value of the ticket that onego bought you? One could theoretically select the most expensive date and route possible, and then make his own change to the true desired route and date, perhaps even pocketing the fare difference.
    Seems like a little gap for abuse here.

  7. What about JetBlue’s Go Pack? That was similar in that it allowed to you book a pack of tickets (so limited travel) on a set set of routes. However, you could book up until the last minute and the price was already locked when you bought. Plus you could share them with friends, family, or other employees if you were part of a business.

  8. Mathematically, if you purchased a year of the National Plan, you could take 204 trips during that year (average of 17 per month) at a total cost of $35,895, including the $495 start-up fee. That comes out to $175.96 per flight. If that sounds good to anyone, please contact me and I will do the same for you at a 10% discount and make a tidy profit. At this business plan, I give it less than a year and would caution anyone who is in a position where this makes sense to pay month-to-month lest risking paying for services you’ll never receive.

  9. Do you know if the airline buys bulk tickets (basically acting as an airline consolidator) so they can access interesting discounts?

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