Work for the airlines! You can travel alllll over when you’ve got that hook up. I did it for an entire year and will never forget it :)
But it’s not for the faint of heart – you will need to ROCK customer service or else it’ll eat you up a live. (It’s seriously up there with debt collecting and working at the DMV! You’ve got to be GOOD.) And if you do get past all the passenger crankiness, you will be rewarded handsomely! In miles though, not money (more on that later).
And when I say cheap, I mean CHEAP. $10-$30 round trip tickets pretty much anywhere in the U.S.! And only $50-$100ish anywhere in the world!!! At least when I was in the game (8 years ago by now). Whether you’re a ticket agent, flight attendant, baggage handler, operations, etc, everyone in the company gets hooked up. Oh, and you have the option of having these trips automatically deducted from your paycheck! Haha… Which was both good AND bad if you don’t watch yourself ;) I had many a friends lack a few paychecks here and there due to their sexy adventures.
You better believe I took advantage of it too!
- Cancun: For 4 days right after “graduating” from training and against the advice of my boss! I almost got cut too – right before starting ;) Showed up the first day of work w/ some Mexican Virus due to drinking tap water (never EVER do that!)
- London: For a 3 day weekend to visit friends traveling there @ the same time. The week George W. declared war on Osama, actually. I was in a bar watching it on T.V. and not feeling so safe.
- Mall of America (Minnesota): Flew out in the morning, shopped for a few hours, and flew back – all on the same day! Just because we could ;)
- St. Louis: To visit a friend for the weekend.
- San Diego: 4 day trip to visit another friend.
- Puerto Rico: 2 Day quick weekend for some sun & cervezas!
And multiple trips to D.C., Miami, and many many others. I’ve also heard of people flying to places like Boston just for a nice lobster dinner too! It was pretty crazy.
Other pros of working for the airlines
- You meet a lot of cool people!
- You meet a lot of hot girls! (or guys, if you’re into that).
- You learn other languages – especially if you work the international flights.
- You can travel for FREE as a flight attendant ;) Or steward, or whatever they’re calling it these days.
- You don’t even have to work full-time! If you were good, you could trade away your days and work the bare minimum to stay “active” (like 10 hours a week or something)
- You can fly first class a lot! Even business class!
- You can trade around work schedules and pretty much travel whenever!
- You become a customer service master. Or you quit.
On the downside, you also get paid PENNIES – unless you’re a pilot or a 30+ year veteran. And all those free-ish plane tickets are also on standby ;) (I remember getting confirmed seats too, but I think you only had a cple of those passes every year, the rest was standby)
Sooooo you may be able to get anywhere in the world for cheap, but once you landed you didn’t have much to live off. So we were pretty much in and out of friends’ places and hostels here and there. And luckily there was always cheap beer no matter where you went ;)
Other cons of airline working
- You work all hours of the day and night! 3pm-11pm, 5pm-1am, 4am-11am, pretty much any wacky schedule out there. And that’s just for ticket agents as I was, not flight crew. They go hours and hours through all sorts of late-night gigs.
- You learn that baggage handlers really don’t care about your bags.
- You meet a lot of whack jobs.
- People get mad at you when it rains.
- People get mad at you when volcanoes are erupting and you tell them they can’t fly back home or they’ll die! And then they complain to your boss and ask why we just don’t “try it.”
- People also get mad when you tell them they’ll have to miss their own wedding because they showed up LATE on the very last flight out! The NIGHT BEFORE the wedding! (I swear, if you’re going to an extremely important event or destination, PLEASE, whatever you do, make sure to allow enough time for random problems!)
- Everyone sleeps around – especially the pilots. They get more ass than anyone at the airlines! Seriously, it’s insane. And sadly I’ve never seen so much debauchery or cheating going on while working theretoo. (although it could just be a New York City thing)
So to summarize: Airlines are good for cheap tickets, crazy adventures, and lots and lots of debauchery. Basically a perfect job for all who’s single and ready to mingle ;) Or those with lots of time on their hands.
PS: I worked for Continental Airlines, in case you were wondering.
(Photo by Kossy@FINEDAYS)