Dublin has always been one of my favorite international destinations. My girlfriend and I both had a long weekend off, so we jumped over to Dublin Friday night and spend two great days there. It is hard to beat a weekend listening live Irish music in Ireland and walking the cliffs of Howth.
This may be a dumb question, but what was the perk? Do you and a guest get to take trips like this for free? Can you do these types of trips last-minute (meaning you don’t have to plan them well in advance)? Is this something that you get to do regularly? Please share.
I’m sure Chris will respond but YES this is a pretty MAJOR perk. Yes Chris and a friend can jump on any flight, anywhere, anytime and as often as they like. If that’s not a perk I don’t know what is?
The perk was that we flew for free, to and from Dublin and stayed in a five star hotel at a very discounted rate because of my association with the airline. We have travelled to six different countries just this year, all of it for free.
Wow! Have to admit I’m jealous My wife and I considered doing an Ireland trip for our honeymoon a few years back, SFO-DUB via Aer Lingus but ended up settling on Cabo, which we also love tremendously. How do the reservations work for you guys in order to book a trip far in advance? Does it have to be standby for it to be on the house?
Yes, to be free it must be standby. The flight over actually ended up getting rather full and I had to ride in the cockpit, which is yet another perk that even other employees of the airline do not get to enjoy.
Free travel is always standby. While I know some pilots who will buy a ticket if they have plans well in advance, in 14yrs I never have and have never not gotten where I wanted to go. Pass travel requires flexibility and creativity.
That said the greatest perk (IMHO) is not planning a vacation a year in advance. ANYBODY can go on vacation. The perk is sitting on the couch at night and seeing a restaurant on the Food Network and grabbing your foodie daughter and having lunch there the next day, seeing Spring Training opening day is tomorrow and flying the whole family down for the day, flying up to Newfoundland so your son can take pics of a real iceburg for his report at the end of the week, flying the kids to Mexico to ride quads through Baja for a couple of days, sending your wife to Italy for a 3rd cousin’s wedding for the weekend, ALL things I’ve done and I could go on and on but you get the idea. THAT’s what makes the job special.
Thank you! This definitely provides a whole new outlook in terms of spontaneity I’m sure the most common concern for most would be being stuck at the airport for who knows how long with no guarantee of anything, but now that I think about it, what are you really sacrificing? Especially for a small weekend trip. Turn around, go home, try again next week I guess?
Edit: when I say weekend I mean Tuesday/Wednesday
Are these perks something that starts as soon as you get hired at the regionals? Or do you have to pay your dues and work your way up to them?
We call them perks but they’re actually called flight benefits and they’re part of your compensation. They start right away but know that your “boarding priority” (like everything else at the airlines) is based on SENIORITY meaning the senior pilots, senior flight attendants, senior mechanics get on first.
Hi Adam and Chris,
Are you guys still able to purchase tickets on your airline at a discounted rate to guarantee yourself a seat? Or is it regular price?
That like most things will vary from airline to airline. At Hawaiian we can but they’re only available when there’s a very open flight and well in advance but yes.
If we didn’t get on the Dublin flight, we were going to go to SFO instead as it was wide open.
Travel benefits usually start as soon as you are hired at the regionals, although they improve with seniority and getting hired at a major.
Yes, we are able to purchase discounted tickets. Sometimes it is a really good deal, sometimes not so much.
Thanks for sharing! Is there a system you use to check how full a particular plane is, or do you simply ask gate agents for different flights? Also, a friend of mine’s mother is a flight attendant and they have said your best chance to successfully fly standby is the early morning flights, as they think more people don’t show up and the standby list hasn’t gotten kicked back few times to subsequent flights. Any truth to that? Any tips you implement?
Every airline has a pass travel website/app for employee travel which shows the “loads” on every flight as well as other standbys AND their boarding priority. The morning thing works IF there are multiple flights that day AND the first flights are VERY early but there are no guarantees. If it’s holiday (take this Thurs Thanksgiving) the early flights will probably be super full because it’s people’s last chance to get to their destination and still enjoy the day.
Chris may have a few tips but mine is to always have 2,3 or 5 backups. I’ve never left the airport unsuccessful or not gotten where I needed to be. It may take 2 or 3 flights but it can be done.
That’s great to know, thanks for the insight!
We have both a website and an app that work very well. I do think that the early flights tend to be easier to get on as people seem to have a hard time getting up early.