SFGAm Taking different approach to Flash Pass ?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 8:15 PM
I know there was some discussion in the past about SFGAm and other SF going to an electronic Flash Pass but not necessarily a Q-Bot. I couldn't locate the exact thread on a search.

In looking at the info (pasted below) on the redesigned website it looks like while SFGAm will be offering an electronic Flash Pass of some kind it won't be the "unlimited use" variety. I guess I was hoping for a conventional Qbot system not a pay per ride system similar to what they have now. Here's what the site says:

"Six Flags Great America's virtual ride reservation system holds your place in line electronically, so you can spend more time having fun and less time waiting for our most popular attractions. When it's almost time for your turn to ride, an alert is sent to your Flash Pass device. It's that simple.

Flash Passes can be purchased for $15* (Monday-Friday) or $20* (Saturday, Sunday and Holidays) at the ticket booths, the Flash Pass booth (behind Guest Relations in Six Flags Plaza) or at the Guest Necessities Center.

A limited number of Flash Passes are available for purchase each operating day. The passes will be available only while supplies last and are valid only on the day of purchase. Please check at the Flash Pass booth for a list of specific rides available.

The Flash Pass program does not require any sort of reservation or pre-determined arrival time. All you have to do is choose your ride and follow the directions provided. Each Flash Pass is good for four priority boarding opportunities, however you want to use them:

  • 1 person on 4 rides
  • 2 people on 2 rides
  • 4 people on 1 ride"
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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007 8:30 PM
    I noticed that on the website this morning. Interesting.
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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007 8:36 PM
    Not only SFGAm, but all of the Six Flags parks have this info on their Flash Pass system. They don't all have the price info, but the parks that do have prices are the same as above.

    The price is much more reasonable, and with the limited use, should be much better accepted by the non Flash Pass using guests.

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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:00 PM
    If this is true, it's a step in the right direction. However, I'm not sure if they will implement this in the parks that already use the Lo-Q system. If so, that's good.

    This system sounds like it's more limiting than the Lo-Q system, and I'm definitely for a system with more limits (the limiting factors here being price and availability).

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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:02 PM
    Well, looking at the Great Adventure site, which previously used the Lo-Q system, the Flash Pass is the same as the SFGAm site, so guess we'll just have to wait and see.
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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:17 PM
    If you go to their thrill rides page though you will see that none of them are labeled as a flash pass ride. So I have no idea what it all means, maybe just a hickup with the new website?
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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007 10:03 PM
    Six Flags just redesigned the website, whenever websites get redone, mistakes are made. The Flash Pass page is definately inaccurate. In January at No Coaster Con, SFGAm confirmed that they will be using the Lo-Que system for Flash Pass in 2007.
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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 6:53 AM
    Sounds like a case of copy-paste frenzy.

    I could see how Lo-Q could be implemented to respond in this way, though. All it takes is some software tweaks to allow for the change in boarding and reservation processes.

    For example, scan the Q-Bot for Kingda Ka, and when your time comes if you and a friend use it, the op scans it twice in the station (since you've used 2 of the boarding opportunities). When you've used all 4 boarding opportunities, the op would keep the QBot, and you go on your merry way.

    I like this system better than the old system, because it still gives the opportunity of ducking some of the lines, but making it more affordable so that more people have the opportunity to take advantage of it. Also, there's a good possibility that most if not all of the flash passes will be used by the time the night-only crowds come.

    One thing I'd be interested in knowing, though (and it might be on the website but I don't have time to check now) -- is there a limit of one set of 4 boarding opportunities per person? Is there any limit at all? Or could I theoretically buy 400 boarding opportunities for $1500 on a Tuesday? (Obviously I have to use them same-day, so it probably wouldn't be the best idea.. but even still, that's something I wonder)

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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 7:54 AM
    I think its a mistake. Great adventure has it listed the same exact way.

    Great adventure though just moved and expanded the flash pass building. So I am pretty sure thats just a mistake they made with the new site.

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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 8:04 AM
    Doesn't matter what system they use. I'll still have to wait in longer lines while those who are better off financially get to permitedly line jump because they had extra money to throw away. Thank you ammusement industry for finding another way to reward the more privelaged.
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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 8:33 AM
    See This Post for an in-depth explanation of why it's NOT line jumping. Everyone is *STILL* waiting. They're just not forced to wait in the physical line. But they're STILL WAITING!
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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:01 PM
    Sure that all makes sense for virtual Q systems but, it is not the case for fast passes. And, my wait would still be shorter without the virtual Q because of the amount of lazy people who would not even bother to ride the ride, if they had to wait in line. I realize the park limits the number of passes and the actual increase in my wait time is minimal however, it's still an increase and therefore, not fair in my opinion. When you got to a park, you wait in lines for rides, that's how it's always been. If you don't want to wait in line, don't go. It's like if I were to schedule and appointment to checkout at the supermarket and when I arrive for my appointment, some other person who thought they were next is told to wait because I paid 10 bucks to be checked out at that time. It's just not fair no matter how the numbers stack up.
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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:40 PM

    It's just not fair

    Ah. The old "it's not fair". You have hit one of my hot-button topics. So, despite the fact that this is the same discussion we've been having for two years now, I just can't help myself. I'll regret this in the morning, but so it goes.

    It's entirely fair---everyone has the same opportunity to decide how best to spend the resources available to them. You have exactly the same opportunity to buy a flashpass as the next guy. You may decide that it's not worth it to you. The other guy may decide differently. The fact that you make different decisions isn't "unfair", it's just different valuations of the same opportunity. In short, you value your $10 more than your time. He values his time more than his $10.

    The same is true in your supermarket example. Provided you had the same opportunity to pay $10 to reduce the uncertainty of when you check out, it's totally fair. It's *not* fair if you never had the *opportunity* to trade money for certainty. You chose to take the risk of uncertainty, and keep your $10. He chose to buy certainty of check-out time with his $10.

    Now, if your fundamental complaint is that some people have more money than others, well, yes, you are entirely correct. The way I value an hour of my family's time is probably somewhat different from most, but in my case, it's fairly easy---both my wife and I have consulting businesses where we bill clients directly for time, and so I know, *precisely*, what an hour of my family's time is worth.

    As an example: it's almost never worth it to me to fly home from vacation on a Monday rather than a Sunday to save money on airfare, because even ignoring the extra hotel night, we lose more money in lost income than we save in reduced airfare. Others have different constraints; the savings in airfare is greater than any lost income. This could be because they get a salary, and the extra day costs only a vacation day, and not real dollars. Or, it could be because the lost income is less than the saved air fare.

    Another example: most cities have higher property tax rates than the surrounding suburbs. But, most jobs are in the cities, so commute costs from the suburbs are higher. If you have a very nice, expensive house, you save more by paying taxes in the suburbs than you spend in commute costs. If your home is more modest, you save more by cutting commute time at a higher property tax cost. Is it unfair that the taxes are different in the city than in the suburbs? No. If anything, the unfairness is that some people can afford McMansions, and others can't.

    The bad news is: different people have different levels of discretionary income, and that's just the way the world works. If a theme park can make more money by exploiting this fact, then they absolutely will do so, and wishing that they would not is like hoping the earth will stop spinning. As the pay-to-cut systems spread, it would appear that more and more park operators have decided that, yes, they do in fact make more money this way.

    They could be wrong, and you could be right---this could drive away so many guests that they end up losing money. But, so far, I am not aware of *any* park that had a pay-to-cut system and got rid of it. Universal Orlando got rid of their free system, and now has only a paid version---paid either in cash, or indirectly by staying in their high-dollar hotels. Cedar Point got rid of its free system. Disney parks have retained their free system, but TWDC has patents on versions that reward higher levels of guest spending with better access. Six Flags parks that had them have retained their paid systems. Dollywood is expanding theirs.

    You could be right, and Universal, Six Flags, and Dollywood could all be wrong. If I were a betting man, I know where I'd put my money.

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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:53 PM

    Mark Small said:
    Well, looking at the Great Adventure site, which previously used the Lo-Q system, the Flash Pass is the same as the SFGAm site, so guess we'll just have to wait and see.

    http://www.lo-qusa.com/parks.asp

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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:57 PM
    It has been confirmed (by phone calls to parks) that the website is in error.

    The page most parks show on the new site is some generic info that is a mish-mosh of info that covers both the electronic Q-bot and the paper ticket Flash Pass.

    Nothing is changing. (unless some of the 'ticket' parks switch to Lo-Q this season)

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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 1:04 PM
    Thanks for the clarification. Seems kind of odd that they spent all that time and effort put up a new website, but it contains incorrect information.
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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 1:06 PM
    It's Six Flags. Do we expect any less at this point? ;)
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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 2:25 PM
    When I was a kid, my single mother with 3 kids struggled financially and used to save for months so that I could spend 1 day a year at SFGAm because she new it made me happier than anything else to be able to ride coasters. I would go with a groups of friends and watch as their parents gave them money for souveniers and snacks while I always had to go back to the car to eat my bag lunch. It was worth it to be able to go just one day and ride coasters. It would have been pretty bad if I also had to watch as other people got to skip waiting in line because they had more money. Now, even though I have the money, I would feel horribly guilty thinking I was doing the same to someone else. Of course the parks are going to exploit the fact that people are willing to pay for privedges, and of course it's profitable for them. But, that doesn't make it fair in my opinion. I feel that anyone who pays to get in the park should be treated the same as everyone else. I know my dislike of or complaining about the system is not going to make it go away but, that doesn't mean I should have to keep my opinion to myself.
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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 2:54 PM
    Coastin, I value your opinion and respect it. My parents were the same way when we went to Disney. For abouut three years we didn't get any birthday or Christmas, but it was worth it.
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    Thursday, March 22, 2007 2:58 PM
    Coastin, I agree as well, in the fact, it sucks to people who aren't willing to fork over extra money simply because, maybe we didn't bring enough or it's enough to get in the park as it is. It would be nice to be able to go to a theme park, and after you pay to get it, it literally IS an escape from the hassles of every day life. Everyone is treated the same after the one time entry, but in reality, nothing works quite like that. It's why I choose to not visit their parks, simply because IMO, there are better parks to spend my money on. If they make a fortune on it, I guess good for them, and while I personally do not like it, I can't wait around and complain when I could be spending my time at those other parks.

    It's like my Sig, lol. Sure it's complaining, and sure Nintendo is dumb as a rock when it comes to online gaming, but perhaps in the future if they still are dumb as rock, I just might stop complaining and trade my Wii in for credit on XB360 or PS3 and really play online. *** Edited 3/22/2007 7:01:46 PM UTC by P18***

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    Closed topic.

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