Tweeting could get you a cheap seat on one of JetBlue or United flights and may fill up those seats that otherwise would go empty. Both airlines are trying what they call ‘cheeps’ to fill those empty seats at bargain pricing. The first ‘cheep’ seat was advertised by JetBlue on July 6th when they offered a flight from JFK to Nantucket for a only $9 one way.

According to an article over at USA Today it also states that:

In addition to filling empty seats, the sales can introduce new customers to the airline, he says. “Those first-time customers trying Cheeps … we know they’re going to come back.”

United’s Twitter-only fares, also known as “twares,” started in May. The airline’s sales tweets can come at any time for a flight leaving on any day, and fliers have had to pounce quickly because the offers are usually available for only one to two hours.

“Twares are all about surprising our customers with low fares for a very, very limited time,” says Robin Urbanski, a United spokeswoman. And, she says, they “sell extremely fast because the prices are unbeatable.”

Many airlines continue to offer e-fares, notifying fliers about last-minute sales via e-mail. But travelers usually have a few days rather than a few hours to book their tickets.

With Twitter fares, Johnston says, “You really have to act fast. Because people watch Twitter in a real-time manner, the ability for someone to … come in and immediately act on it is a unique phenomenon to the culture of Twitter.”

Twitter is new enough that businesses likely are still trying to grasp who uses it and how that audience can benefit their enterprise, says George Hobica, founder of

“They’re experimenting with it to see what the value is,” he says. “Is it better to send an e-mail with a $9 fare or better to Twitter it?” Still, he says, “I think absolutely airlines and all travel companies need to get in the game and see how it plays out.”

This could turn out to be a win-win situation for both the airlines and consumers. What do you think? Would you be willing to grab a flight on Twitter?

Comments welcome.