Welcome to Interliner, the airline employee’s guide to all things travel-related. This week we’re excited to introduce you to another incredibly interesting airline industry employee. His name is Jay and he (actually) works for FedEx! Now before you get your dukes up, please remember – FedEx is airline industry family too.
Jay has almost 20 years experience with his company (celebrating in May!) and currently works as a Trainer/General Supervisor. He’s the go-to guy at work for FedEx non-revving tips, and our go-to guy for tips and tricks on maneuvering the FedEx airline industry, non-revving with a large family, and visiting international animal sanctuaries.
Read on to learn more about this fascinating father of seven.
Nonrev honeymoon trip to Bali via London and Dubai. 51 hours on planes and over 27,000 flight miles before it was all over. It was amazing, exhausting, spontaneous and our trip took many plan"B" routes. Our leg from ORD to DXB had technical issues so we did the next best thing. We went to London, grabbed a cheap hotel near Tower Bridge for 1 night then headed to Bali the next morning via Dubai. Planned on Hong Kong after Bali but Cathay overbooked so flew Emirates back to Dubai for 2 nights before heading home. We fly by the seat of our pants and we love every crazy minute of standby travel. The only rule we have is this. We will end up somewhere and we will make it awesome!!! Happy travels!!!
Who is Jay?
A Des Moines, Iowa local, Jay works as a Ramp Agent and Trainer (General Supervisor) for FedEx. His day-to-day varies, but what it can entail is aircraft weight and balance, supervising on-loading and offloading, and training new employees in the ways of his favorite company.
He started as a material handler in Memphis (where FedEx headquarters) and has since worked just about every position the company has to offer. Now part of the Express side of the business, Jay works with FedEx the airline. This is what allows him to non-rev and this is why he’s got such a passion for travel.
Known for his non-rev know-how, Jay is a self-proclaimed FedEx travel benefits advisor. “People come to me when they need to get signed up!” Although the benefit is buried in an employee handbook somewhere, Jay says that it’s quite extensive. “We have access to just about all of the domestic carriers and the majority of the international ones too!”
Besides being the bearer of awesome-travel-benefits news to his co-workers, Jay is also a doting husband and father of a large blended family (7 kids total!). Married for two years now, Jay actually met his wife while non-revving to Las Vegas. “Our first date was technically in the Des Moines International Airport on my layover!”
From there Jay slowly introduced his wife to the non-rev game, even though at one point she claimed that she would never fly that way! Eventually, she warmed to the idea, and they’ve been Interliners together ever since. In fact, now the kids are all onboard. Jay makes the effort to take them all on individual trips when he can.
“My kids have fallen in love with non-revving, and when given the option to go anywhere my daughter took it. She’s even been to Bali by herself!” They all go non-revving together, which you think would be impossible (being that there’s 9 of them!), but they make it happen. Being flexible is the key, says Jay, even if you have to change your plans from Rio to Costa Rica (which they’ve done!).
Traveling with the Airlines
Since discovering he had one of the best employee benefits in the world, Jay has been just about everywhere (Costa Rica, Australia, and Thailand to name a few). He said, though, that he started small, just to get the hang of the non-rev game. Now he’s quite the risk taker.
“I once tried going to Puerto Rico with my wife, her on a confirmed ticket – me non-revving, and I was #22 on the standby list for eight open seats. Yet when she boarded I was already seated! I always have backups, but a lot of the time it will just work out.”
The good thing, he says, is that he’s based in Des Moines – which is usually a pretty low-traffic airport. What he also recommends is to not waste money on express visas in order to use the tickets you bought ahead of time at your destination. Jay learned that the hard way when his family couldn’t make it to Rio and had to make last trip changes.
“It ended up being one of our favorite vacations as a family. We arrived at our new destination (Costa Rica) in the dark and had to find a hotel and car once we got there. We asked the guy at the car rental counter where the best beach was, and then we “crazy Americans” (as he called us) set out for his recommendation. We ended up on just the most beautiful beach the next morning. So it all turned out pretty well.”
Jay Tells All – Rapid Fire Questions
Amazed by how this wanderlust-filled FedEx employee put even some of our travels to shame, we pressed on to our rapid-fire portion of the interview. Tell you what, we were pretty struck with travel jealously at what we found.
What’s been your favorite travel dish?
“I’m not all that adventurous when it comes to food (I’m a meat and potatoes kinda guy), but my wife is! She once had frog soup in Shanghai!”
Sounds tasty! There are so many amazing animals pictured on your Instagram, what’s the story behind that?
“It all started in Costa Rica on that trip actually, and we were staying right next to Manuel Antonio Park (where there’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world). So we set out one day to go see that, but inside the park, we eventually came upon this monkey sanctuary.
They don’t want you to have contact with the monkeys, but the monkeys were everywhere and had no problem going through your stuff. It was hilarious, you walk away and they go through your bag! That was the starting point for us really.
Since then we’ve been to Sacred Monkey Forrest in Bali, where you can interact with the monkeys, and Tiger Kingdom in Thailand. It’s really cool! In Bali, they’d give you bananas and the monkeys would come and sit on your shoulder to eat. As far as the Tiger Kingdom went you kinda get to pick you fear factor level.
They’ve got small, medium-sized, and large tigers. You can go in this pen or outside where they live and a trainer joins you, then you pet them. It was a once in a lifetime experience. My wife at first didn’t want to go in, but once she got there she couldn’t resist. ”
That’s so incredible Jay! Well, then what’s next on your list?
“My family and I would love to go to China to see the pandas. I did actually discover something interesting about traveling there too if you’re on the mainland for less than 72 hours you can avoid paying for a visa! So you can non-rev there, but you have to have a paid flight out.
Which in that case I just bought super cheap tickets to Macaw. It’s all about jumping around and being flexible. We’ve been to China already and when we did it before our trip looked like this; it was Des Moines → Las Vegas → L.A. → Shanghai → Macau → Hong Kong → Phuket → Dubai → NYC → Dallas → Des Moines again.
Other places we also want to visit are Greece, Cuba (maybe with the other Brand Ambassadors!), and South Africa.”
I’m sorry, did you say you were traveling with the other Brand Ambassadors? That’s amazing!
“Yes! It’s so refreshing to have a group of people so down to travel and who just know how to make things work. We’ve all got this similar passion, and there’s just so much to be learned from the group! It’s true, you truly never stop learning. They’ve got so many cool travel ideas.”
Well speaking of things you’ve learned, what are your favorite travel tips?
“Oh ok, well I’d say download Google Translate. I know that’s not really a secret app, but I’m in love with it. Did you know it has a camera feature? That’s right you can hold it up to a menu and it will translate the whole thing!
Of course, I also subscribe to the “never check a bag” tip, and also highly recommend staying on non-stops when you travel with kids. It’s not ideal to have to get broken up if you can’t all make it on!”
Those are good ones. Alright, what about customer experiences? How have they been for you?
“Well, unlike traditional airline employees, I don’t deal with customers firsthand a lot. I have been given great customer service while traveling though. Honestly, I’ve never had a bad experience non-revving (and this is coming from the guy that is very literally at the bottom of the standby list!).
Probably my favorite encounter was with the Emirates staff in (Dubai), best non-revving help at the counter ever. They actually have a whole separate counter for staff travelers too, and they tell you what’s up right away! They’re so incredibly helpful.
He even gave us the reason why we wouldn’t get on and told us how to make it home. Another thing they have is a staff travel lounge. That’s right, leather seating, TV’s lining the walls, and a system to tell you when to go get on your flight. Also, you get a menu in economy, everything is free (including drinks), and it’s just the most pleasant thing.”
Um, that’s amazing!
“It truly is. I love it when a company takes care of its own. Speaking of, FedEx has done an amazing job of that as well. There was a gentleman I worked with that was part of the National Gaurd. He was deployed for four years, and upon his return, FedEx gave him all of his raises and vacations, and even hung his flag in the front office.”
You’re going to make us cry, Jay. That’s so incredible and moving! Ok, Any last words to your fellow Interliners?
“Use this benefit often. Once you master the system and the process the world is at your fingertips. You have access to something that provides you the ability to go places and see things that only a select few people get to experience. We all work in an industry that requires us to work under pressure and make snap decisions. Apply that to non-rev travel. The world is meant to be explored. Open yourself to new languages, cultures people, surroundings and you will be hooked just like me!”
All the feels. This is why we love our Brand Ambassadors! Thank you for allowing us to interview you Jay, and thank you for all of your amazing stories. We’re so happy that we have you as a part of the community. Stay tuned next time for another exclusive feature here on the blog. Until next time Interliners, safe travels and keep your eyes on the skies!
This is @glandals – FedEx Trainer, Non-Revving Father of Seven & Animal Sanctuary Enthusiast. We had SUCH a fun time interviewing him and can't wait for you to read his article! Get ready to hear all about the #NonRevLife from this down to earth guy. He's got quite the stories to tell, from frog soup to non-revving with a party of nine! : : : : http://bit.ly/2z7chIV #wanderlust #rediscoveradventure #brandambassador #id90travel #nonrev #adventurist #lovetheworld #seetheworld #travelbug #interlinerateam #travelpassion #viewings #avlife #crewlife #falife #interliner #airlineemployee #nowboarding #fedex #avgeek #bigfamily #instatravel #desmoines #DSM #ramplife #offthebeatenpath #trainer #tigerkingdom #monkeysanctuary
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.