About Kelowna, British Columbia
The first flight for airline ticket reseller NewLeaf is scheduled for July 25 yet the start-up company has just announced an opportunity for passenger to bid for unsold seats in an online auction.
NewLeaf books time on Kelowna based Flair Airlines’ planes. It outsources all of its ground personnel, including staff at check-in counters and boarding gates.
The travel company’s destinations include Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Abbotsford, Hamilton, Halifax, Kamloops, Moncton, Kelowna and Victoria.
They have recently announced a partnership with three year old company Jump On Flyaways that is providing an online portal for NewLeaf’s 11 routes, where passengers can post a bid on routes estimated to be undersold.
“There’s a huge number of seats that fly empty every year, and it’s because airlines use fairly complicated revenue management techniques to maximize their seat revenue,” said Roger Jewitt, CEO of Jump On.
“Our model is…while (airlines are) busy filling up their seats the old-fashioned way, and doing their best at that, what we do is we collect bids on the potentially unsold seats,” he said.
Bids are made potentially weeks in advance, and credit card and passenger information is requested one week before the flight to lock in the bid.
"A week before you need to commit, but at that point you can opt out by not filling out the form," said Jewett. "We thought, a week out, you’ll know if you can follow through."
Bids continue to be accepted until 48 hours before the flight.
If a bid is accepted the bidder’s credit card is charged and a ticket is issued to them. If they are no longer able to make the travel arrangements, they lose their money.
A low bid or an only bid will be accepted at the discretion of NewLeaf.
“We think it’s perfect for visiting friends and relatives," Jewitt said. "(If) it really doesn’t matter when you go, you can bid that lower amount and take a seat if you get it."