OK, I just had to write about this. Have you guys heard about the AirTran Airlines, Wendys, and Coca Cola deal? Until last week, I hadn’t – but I know all about it now. AirTran airlines, a newcomer trying to drum up business and not yet in debt like most established carriers, teamed up with Wendys to offer a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the continental United States; all you have to do is collect 64 Wendys cups, which have coupons for the flights. Sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too, and so I didn’t give the whole thing much thought. My brother-in-law actually told me about the promotion while we were in Florida last week. He jokingly suggested how easy it would be to collect 64 discarded Wendys cups and earn loads of free flights. We laughed, and I forgot about it.
Then, tonight, he called again – having just returned from a multi-Wendys dumpster-diving run where he and a buddy collected 256 cups in one evening. Turns out his buddy has been doing this every single night for near a month now, and he only found out last night – with just two nights left in the promotion. What’s more, his buddy has collected over thirty free flights in the past month. Yeah sure, you can only redeem two per name, but he’s given two flights to nearly every member of his extended family – some of which have reportedly already redeemed the cups for flights and actually flown AirTran. Sounds crazy, but a quick Google shows he’s not alone, and these things are all over Ebay and Craigslist. One article quotes an AirTran representative, “… the airline anticipated a black market for the promotional cups, Mr. Hutcheson says, but ‘when we looked at the pros and cons of it, the cost of getting exposure for AirTran outweighed the bad.'”
Amazing… just amazing; free flights for nothing more than a romp in some fast food trash. For the record, the deal is over now. Meaning, no new cups are being distributed to Wendys locations. However, you can continue to redeem cups until February of 2006, and some Wendys will continue to give out cups while their existing supplies last. So, if you’re adventurous… dive in!
Three-day weekend!! Goodnight.