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SFO passengers may soon buy subscription flights to this winter destination

Alaska Airlines is one of several major carriers wooing younger customers with subscription plans and other alternate payment options. In this image, Ashley Cruger and Taylor Kinney ski at the St. Regis Deer Valley on April 2, 2022, in Park City, Utah. | Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Domestic air travel is booming. In late October, TSA checkpoints recorded the highest single-day number of screened passengers since March 2020, or almost 2.5 million fliers. But the way people fly is changing, as carriers add monthly payment plans, the ability to lock in fares and even pay-by-month subscription services that allow travelers to book multiple roundtrip flights at a fixed monthly rate.

This week, Alaska Airlines announced that its Flight Pass Program will expand to cover flights from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, a burgeoning tech hub whose fortunes have risen even as layoffs mount.

The timing also coincides with the opening of the winter sport season. If you’re an avid snowboarder, this Tahoe’s slopes are hoping for some much-needed snow, but many of Utah’s ski resorts are projected to open in the coming weeks. 

Federal court documents charging a pilot who tried to cut a flight's engine power Sunday say he told investigators he had eaten psychedelic mushrooms.
Alaska Airlines' Flight Pass Program is offering Salt Lake City as its newest destination. | Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images | Source: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Payment plans and subscription services are proving popular with younger cohorts of frequent fliers, such as college students. 

Alaska in particular seems to be expanding its presence in Northern California. Earlier this year, the carrier brought on Bay Area coffee entrepreneur and breakout TikTok star Nick Cho as a spokesperson. Cho, a cofounder of Wrecking Ball Coffee, led an effort to nudge Berkeley’s North Shattuck neighborhood to drop a racist nickname designed to attract upscale foodies. But Gen Z might know Cho best from his genial “Your Korean Dad” videos.

And if your inner child yearns for a pre-flight flapjack, SFGate reported that Alaska Airlines’s lounge at SFO comes with an automatic pancake maker.

Astrid Kane can be reached at

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