Video: Chinese airlines bet on 'all you can fly' deals

Eight carriers are offering the special promotions in a bid to tempt travellers back into the air.

Editor’s note:
The following is a transcript of the accompanying video. ©2020 Thomson Reuters.

It can be daunting getting on a plane these days. But airlines in China have a new strategy for getting people flying again. China Southern Airlines on Tuesday [July 28] became the latest to roll out an “all you can fly” deal. That makes at least eight carriers in the country offering the passes. They generally cost around $500 and allow unlimited travel for specified periods.

Industry watchers say the deals have helped revive a ravaged industry, filling lots of otherwise empty seats. Rival China Eastern Airlines has sold over 100,000 weekends-only passes according to state media. Hainan Airlines offers unlimited travel to and from its home province.

And the global air travel industry is watching to see if all this works. China is viewed as a test case for recovery, as it reopened its economy months earlier than many other places. Airlines there are now operating about 80% of the flights they provided in previous times.

And they’re not the only ones banking on deals. Marriott Group is also eyeing unlimited passes, following the success of one sold in April. It offered a month of buffet breakfasts at its hotels in China for 588 yuan — about $83.