Oh, the Non-Rev life. The life of free and easy travel. The life of security and safety. The life of adventure. Pilot

Growing up with a pilot as a father was the coolest thing in the world, as well as sometimes the worst. Being a pilot is a complete package, including – but not limited to – being away from your family often, flying over holidays, and, for my dad especially, living away from his kids. When I was just a little girl my mom and dad divorced, resulting in my mom up and moving our entire lives to the tiny town of Grand Junction, Colorado. This made it hard for my dad, as he would then have to commute back and forth between there and Phoenix (since that is where he was stationed). As one might assume, this was really hard for my brother and I. We didn’t get to see my dad often and when we did, it was only for short periods of time. Now, while this might sound like a tragic family story, let’s think back to the fact that my dad is a pilot. As a pilot, his entire family gets to live the non-rev life, enabling my brother and me to fly free on stand-by. This meant that weekends didn’t have to be lonely, as we could fly down to Phoenix as much as possible. This meant that my dad could watch me play my senior night of basketball, and make it to my graduation party. This meant my dad didn’t have to choose between watching his children grow up and his job, and it still to this day means that I can brag freely about my amazing relationship with my father, rather than not being able to remember what he looks like.

Not only did living the non-rev life allow me to know my father better, it always has provided a feeling of security and safety to my family. This comes in many forms; for example, when I was turning nine years old, I had the chance to fly down and spend the birthday with my dad. My older brother couldn’t go because he had a baseball tournament, meaning a young girl would have to fly on her own. Now, no parent wants to endure this tremendous amount of worry, and I don’t think I would have gone if it truly had been just me. However, flying non-rev gave me the opportunity to travel safely with a flight attended by my side from the time I stepped into the airport to the time I stepped out. Besides this, being non-rev also means we get the privilege to go anywhere at any time (so long as there is enough space). This provides a sense of security to my family, since it means that if there were ever an accident or an emergency, we could get wherever we need to go as soon as possible without the financial stress. Most people do not have this type of security, and I feel blessed that we can manage life easier thanks to this benefit.

Although it may not seem like it, the privileges of living the non-rev life are only just beginning for me. I have a serious case of wanderlust that I cannot wait to address, my first case being this spring when I plan to go visit my best friend at her college in Florida. It’s difficult for her family to fly her home due to financials, so I haven’t been able to see her since the summer. Being able to fly non-rev, and being able to travel to her when she can’t even travel back home, makes me even more thankful for this lifestyle. Not only will I get to spend time with my best friend, I will get to see a part of this country that I never have before. I’ll get to experience new foods, new people, and new cultures. On top of this, I also have plans to go to Africa, May 2019, to serve as a volunteer at a local orphanage. Working in Africa has been one of my goals since the age of six, and these kinds of adventures would not be possible if it wasn’t for the opportunity to fly freely and safely through the non-rev lifestyle.

People always ask me, “what’s it like having a pilot for a father?” And despite all the amazing adventures he gets to have of his own, when I tell people he can live his dream life and not have to worry about his family traveling in a world where travel is frequent and potentially dangerous, that is what sticks the most. It has and continues to give my family the security that we will always be able to live either in adventure, emergency, or on pure whim, and it allows people to experience a world that is in dire need of understanding.


Gracey Higman received an Honorable Mention for the #NonRevSpiritAward (2018 spring semester).

Gracey grew up in the American Airlines family thanks to her father’s position as a pilot. She’s now studying Elementary Education at Northern Arizona University! Besides an obvious passion for the #NonRevLife, Gracey loves giving back to her community by caring for its children.

Thanks to her father’s travel benefits, Gracey is able to stay connected to both her family and friends who live far from her. We love that you have a passion for the next generation, Gracey, and can’t wait to see what your volunteerism at that African orphanage in 2019 brings!

Author: Emily (@ID90 Travel)

Emily is the Content Marketing Manager here at ID90 Travel. An avid non-rev flyer (she grew up in the industry), and passionate private pilot, Emily can’t get enough of all things aviation. When not writing awesome ID90 Travel content she can be found on a Texas patio, being one with nature, or annoying her ID90T co-workers with her many, many, crowdsourcing questions.