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What was the true purpose of the Snow Pack promotion?

February 22, 2013

 

I am writing about the Alaska Airlines Snow Pack, which was heavily advertised late last year as discount airline tickets available between LAX and Mammoth Lakes.

My boyfriend John and I were both quite excited about his being able to fly to Mammoth many weekends this winter and to enjoy all that Mammoth has to offer, and we bought each other a 10-flight snow pack for $570 for Christmas.

However, between Christmas and late February, he still hasn’t been able to fly to Mammoth for even one weekend using these flights, despite trying nearly every weekend.  Each time he or I tried to reserve a flight, we were informed that none were available. 

The operators were happy to “upgrade” his flight from $65/flight to as much as $230 per flight, but we would have to pay the difference. 

Was this the true purpose of this “Snow Pack” promotion: to lure customers in with inexpensive, but unavailable, flights and then try to get them to pay full price?

After over two and a half months, we at least were able to get a refund on the useless and nonexistent Snow Pack flights. 

Perhaps the true purpose of the Snow Pack flights was to finagle customers to make an interest free loan for several months?

I have heard that no refunds are available if a customer has somehow managed to book even one flight, even if the remaining nine Snow Pack flights are always unavailable. 

In one of my unsuccessful attempts to book a Snow Pack flight, the booking representative told me that the promotion was intended to lure midweek visitors and skiers to Mammoth. 

If so, these flights should have been marketed as only available midweek.

Is the marketing department still unaware that many skiers and other visitors have full time jobs and family commitments during the week?

For the first time in many years, John won’t visit Mammoth even one weekend this winter. 

We will take our Snow Pack refund and use it for weekend recreational opportunities elsewhere—Death Valley, Catalina, Mexico, and the Channel Islands are always fun destinations. 

Perhaps this is one reason why there are always empty seats, and why on some flights most of the seats are empty, especially on the flights to and from Los Angeles.

Melissa A. Swan

Los Angeles

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