A few months ago, our family took a weekend trip from Dallas to New Orleans to meet up with some of our extended family. In the planning stages, it looked pretty simple knowing how airline employees travel. Fly standby to New Orleans on Friday afternoon using my wife’s airline-employee flight passes, get a cab to the hotel, fly home on Sunday morning. That’s not exactly how things turned out.

The Plan in Action

Late Friday morning, we noted that all flights into New Orleans were oversold. This is airline-employee-speak for “you are going to be stuck at the airport all day.” We checked flights into Baton Rouge (90 minutes from New Orleans), Mobile (90 minutes) and even Lafayette (two hours). Baton Rouge looked good, but only at 10:45AM. My wife quickly packed, grabbed the kids from school, and took off for DFW. Just before take-off, she booked a rental car using her smartphone. I had to work so I took my chances on an early evening flight into New Orleans. Luckily, I wound up on the late flight there. As the fun weekend wound to a close, we found ourselves again checking flights. Bad storms in Dallas meant cancelled flights and virtually no seats for a family of five on standby.

It really wasn’t too bad of a drive from New Orleans back to Dallas in our “full size” rental car.

But I’m not complaining. Travel benefits are a huge perk of being an airline employee. More than two million airline employees around the globe say it’s an important benefit for them. They love the benefit, even if it means missing flights or changing travel plans at the last minute. Airline employees are veterans of last minute travel. Booking cars and hotels on their mobile phones at the airport as they finally get a seat on a plane.

Airline Employees are Travel Experts

The perks of the job have made airline employees adventurous and well-traveled. The circumstances they face as “non-rev” travelers have made them adaptive, intrepid and hearty travelers. Indeed, many people in the airline industry choose this industry because of their love of travel. They not only want to serve the traveling public but also to benefit from the privilege of air travel, to see the world while they are working and when they are not.

Yet as anyone who has flown recently understands, it’s not very easy to find an empty seat on a plane. Flights are full of paying passengers, leaving many airline employees without a seat. It’s common for a non-rev airline employee to wait hours to get a seat on a flight. It’s also commonplace for airline employees to quickly modify their trip by flying to a different airport.

All this last-minute planning means these well-traveled airline employees are becoming experts at booking their trips on their smart phones. They’re using our airline-employee-specific mobile tools to help them make or modify their travel reservations. They’re watching hotel prices with features like our Hotel Watch List, which lets them select a hotel and watch it’s price over time without booking it.

Most of the traveling public prefers to plan their trips in advance, securing everything from flights to hotels to rental cars well before they leave. The thought of not knowing whether you were going to get to your destination in the first place would make many forego traveling altogether. But the airline employee knows that with the help of a few tools and tricks—and a lot of patience and flexibility—exploring the world is still one of the greatest job perks there is.

Author: Roger Ximenez

Roger Ximenez is the Director of Product at ID90 Travel. He has over 5+ years experience working alongside engineering teams to build the next generation of features. He is also the data and automation evangelist, promoting the use of data to streamline automation strategies.