eBay. The mere name conjures up images of…things other people don’t want. Old books, auto parts, used computers, and airline trips. Yes, trips and vacations on JetBlue. The New York-based low-fares, high-service carrier, which now calls itself a “value airline,” decided to put 300 roundtrips and six ‘getaway’ vacation packages on up for auction on the world’s largest on-line marketplace, as eBay calls itself. JetBlue says it’s the first to use an electronic auction site for last-minute trips such as these. EBay has been used before by carriers who wanted to donate seats to charties, and the Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sara Palin, says she put the state’s plane up for sale on eBay when she took over from her predecessor. Last-minute travel deals and blind bargains are nothing new – there was even a site called lastminute.com – but this does seem to be a first.
The auctions, lasting anywhere from three days to seven days, will entertain starting bids of five and ten cents, though the winning bids may come in a bit higher. And because taxes and fees apply, the prices will be considerably higher in any event. JetBlue
t only accepts payment through eBay’s PayPal, although that can be done with most major credit cards.The offer include packages to some 20 destinations, including two ‘No Passport Necessary’ and two ‘Pack Your Passport’ trips to destinations that will not be disclosed until after the winning bid is made. The flights, all weekend itineraries, are also mystery deals. The flights are all for fall travel, and the auctions close September 14. The packages have flights for two plus accommodations at a Marriott. The flights are one- and two-person roundtrips weekend flights from Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale, and both Northern and Southern California.