STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Now, during the worst of the recession, airlines were desperate to get people onto planes. Many offered big discounts. As the economy has improved, air fares have been steadily climbing. But JetBlue is offering one promotion that's proved very popular.
Vanessa Romo reports.
Unidentified Woman: Whatever you said. Oh, no.
VANESSA ROMO: Emma Hill never dreamed she'd tour by jet.
Ms. EMMA HILL (Musician, Emma Hill and Her Gentleman Callers): My first tour, I went all by myself via Greyhound.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Ms. HILL: One more big tour, I did six weeks, my sister loaned me her Prius. Next trip, I bought a short bus and kind of converted it into a band vehicle, and we did six weeks around the U.S.
(Soundbite of music)
ROMO: Hill and her band-mate, Bryan Daste, are taking a quick lunch break from recording their third album in Daste's Portland recording studio. They're members of the band Emma Hill and Her Gentleman Callers, and they're packing up for a frenetic, month-long tour across the country, something they'd never be able to do without JetBlue's All You Can Jet Pass.
Ms. HILL: This was just so great, to think of places that we could just get to that was all within this very, you know, inexpensive cost for us, even though it's a little bit of a crazy traveling schedule as far as layovers and connecting flights. But it's exciting.
ROMO: They've now set up an exhausting tour in 13 states, playing at bars, clubs and backyards in places like Buffalo, Vegas, Sacramento.
(Soundbite of music)
EMMA HILL AND HER GENTLEMAN CALLERS: (Singing) I need a real vacation. I need a change of pace.
ROMO: Clarence Kwan is a Seattle-based architect. He was one of the lucky guinea pigs who snagged a JetBlue pass last year, the first time the airline launched the experiment.
Mr. CLARENCE KWAN (Architect): I basically took 22 flights in 30 days. I went to Chicago, New York. I went to Puerto Rico. I went to Dominican Republic. I went to Bermuda...
ROMO: You get the idea. Kwan says it was a preemptive attempt to avert a midlife crisis. He was about to get laid off and was just weeks away from his 40th birthday. So, when he heard about the JetBlue pass, he saw it as an opportunity to ride out a bad phase.
Mr. KWAN: So it was like a little treat to myself and say, okay, I'm just going to do something different.
Mr. ROBIN HAYES (Executive Vice President, CEO, JetBlue): I think it's fair to say that we were gobsmacked with the success of All You Can Jet.
ROMO: Robin Hayes is the chief commercial officer for JetBlue. He's the man responsible for sales, marketing, revenue planning and reservations. So the All You Can Jet Pass is his baby - a very successful baby. Though JetBlue won't divulge how many All You Can Jet Passes are up for sale, this year's tickets sold out in just two days, and that includes a 15 percent boost in available passes over last year.
Hayes says it's largely due to word of mouth, passengers like Clarence Kwan who told everyone they know about their experience, which Hayes describes this way...
Mr. HAYES: I would describe it as a nonstop party. I mean, we had flights with 80, 100 All-You-Can-Jetters on them. I mean, it really was 30 days of a very carnival-like atmosphere at JetBlue.
ROMO: To add to that carnival-like atmosphere, JetBlue is helping their jetters get organized. There's a Facebook page where travelers can make plans to meet up, ask advice, post their personal do's and don'ts, or list their favorite spots.
Emma Hill and Bryan Daste probably won't have any time for making new friends, because even though this travel is cheap, it's not always direct. For instance, here's Daste outlining their route to Baton Rouge, their first stop.
Mr. BRYAN DASTE (Musician, Emma Hill and Her Gentleman Callers): It's Portland down to Long Beach to New York to New Orleans. So there's no direct flight. So with layovers and hanging out in the airport and all that stuff, it's about 24 hours, but still faster than driving there.
ROMO: For NPR News, I'm Vanessa Romo.
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