In true Non-Rev fashion, I was prompted to complete this essay a mere five hours before the deadline. Thankfully, writing odes to the gift that is ID90 Travel is a task easily completed. What is a Non-Rev? I am traveler. I board planes without knowing if I’m actually going to get on, I pack my bags hours before departing for the airport. I use my phone to check flight loads and list myself on flights minutes before they depart. My friends can’t really understand how I don’t know when exactly I’m going to arrive, why I’m always in a little bit of a rush, or why on earth I end up in a big, cushy seat, sipping an aesthetically-pleasing beverage after eight hours in an airport, looking a little bit tattered-n-torn. I’m a Non-Rev. Gate agents: Thank you for managing expectations while maintaining a calm positivity. Flight Attendants: I have the utmost respect for you. I will bring you chocolates. I won’t ever press that button.
I was seven years old when I had my first passport photos taken, and eight on my first real international trip. I was on a plane, learning about the value of francs, and how to politely say “Bonsoir!” to the hotel concierge. I will never forget the feeling of stepping off the jet bridge that day, suddenly realizing the world was HUGE, and I knew so little of it. There were new languages, new faces, new expressions, new clothing—I wanted to know it all. As I stepped out onto the concourse, I smelled new air. I’ve been hooked ever since.
To explain what Non-Revving means to my life would be to explain a fullness I have known so intimately, I do not know what emptiness is. On my first solo trip, I went back to France, and met a man who inquired about my life as a Non-Rev. “Ah, you were born with wings!” I find this the most effective mode of describing the privilege of ID90 travel. It’s the privilege to take flight, at any given moment. It comes with the requisite hazards, of course; flights suddenly overbooked, rushing from gate to gate, sleeping in airports…and finding adventure in all of this. The spirit of Non-Rev life is one of spontaneity and adaptability. As a result of being raised as a Non-Rev, I understand the value of acceptance, and open-mindedness.
For me, international travel is a possibility. I know this is not the case for others in my position. I have been given a gift, and to use it effectively, a formal education must supplement the informal education I have received through travel. With my degree, I hope to make a cultural education accessible to those born outside of my privileged position. Understanding the vastness of possibility is at the crux of my mission as a traveler, and as a person. This understanding can be gained without stepping foot on a plane, if only a degree of access is granted. Had I not been able to board that plane, yes, I would be a different person, now. My ideas would be different, I would probably feel more limited in my choices and my capacities. However, I still opened a book at age eight, and saw pictures of the decaying stones in an old French village, and the rusting iron of a Viking sword. I still made friends with people who didn’t speak English. My school went on field trips and collected fossils of long-gone, many-legged species. And I wondered. I want to use my formal education to inspire wonder, to bring the possibilities in this world to those who may not have the same chances as I have. Non-Revving has literally opened the world to me. It is a gift that continues to give to me and my family. Through completing my formal education, I hope to perpetuate this cycle of generosity.
The daughter of a SkyWest flight attendant, Katie’s been flying since she was a little girl. In fact, her first passport photo was taken when she was only 7! Currently, as a sophomore, she studies History and Visual Cultures at Utah Valley University.
Passionate about international travel and better understanding the diverse world around her, Katie’s happily taken what she’s learned in the classroom to the streets of foreign cities. Thank you for submitting your essay, Katie, we’re so excited to hear what your future travels bring!
Want to read the other winners’ essays? Check them out on our blog!
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.