beachbum1970
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When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:16 pm

One of the great perks of working for the airlines is the free or reduced fare travel for employees. Was just curious when the airlines first started offering this benefit to their employees. Was it in the 50s, 60s? Which airline started it first? Was it offered to all employees at first, or just certain work groups? When did airlines start allowing employees to upgrade to a premium cabin, if at all? The US airlines have usually been very generous with their pass travel, but I've heard some European and Asian carriers were/are a lot more restrictive.
 
banko
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:04 am

I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.
 
IPFreely
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:36 am

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


Why? it's a perk that is valuable to employees and costs the airline virtually nothing, as long as employees are travelling on a "space available" basis and not displacing a paying customer. The only thing airlines need to do is crack down hard on employees who abuse their benefit.
 
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stl07
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:02 am

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.

How does it do that? They work their butt off, they get the benefits. I'm sure your place of work/college has benefits as well
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Love how every "travel blogger" says they will never fly AA/Ethihad again and then says it again and again on subsequent flights.
 
airhansa
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:23 am

It's cheaper for an airline to offer free stuff using assets the company already owns. It would need to be replaced by hard cash if the airline wishes to keep said staff.
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:56 am

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


Then other businesses should stop giving fringe benefits to their employees as it "dilutes the experience".
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VSMUT
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:03 am

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


I am open to genuine criticism of free or discounted staff travel (which I never had access to anyway, other than free jumpseats at a cargo airline), but "dilutes the experience"? How? Does your experience stand or drop based on what other passengers paid for the trip? You don't even know what other passengers are paying!
 
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zeke
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:42 pm

VSMUT wrote:
I am open to genuine criticism of free or discounted staff travel (which I never had access to anyway, other than free jumpseats at a cargo airline), but "dilutes the experience"? How? Does your experience stand or drop based on what other passengers paid for the trip? You don't even know what other passengers are paying!


Where I work the dress code for staff travel is far higher than you see many regular passengers wearing.

We pay for our tickets, and it adds to the companies bottom line.
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DiamondFlyer
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:12 pm

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


Then the industry in the US would shut down, as well over 50% of crew members commute to their base.
From my cold, dead hands
 
VSMUT
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:27 pm

zeke wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
I am open to genuine criticism of free or discounted staff travel (which I never had access to anyway, other than free jumpseats at a cargo airline), but "dilutes the experience"? How? Does your experience stand or drop based on what other passengers paid for the trip? You don't even know what other passengers are paying!


Where I work the dress code for staff travel is far higher than you see many regular passengers wearing.

We pay for our tickets, and it adds to the companies bottom line.


Come to think of it, I did work at a place where staff travel was offered. The fees they charged were higher than just buying a ticket for yourself, so nobody every used them. To top it off, it came with at ton of caveats. No alcohol, dress code, no telling anybody you were an employee of the airline, don't talk with customers, don't talk with crew, don't carry any items that could identify you as a pilot or employee, you might have to accept a jumpseat in the cabin (flight deck was off limits) just to name a few. Breaking any of these codes was reason for termination.

Imagine being placed in the jumpseat in the galley and not trying to give the impression of being staff and speaking to nobody at the same time. An exercise in futility.
 
alan3
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:31 pm

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


HUH????

Many places of employment offer perks to their employees. The travel industry isn't a very high paying profession (believe me, I know) and if the perks were removed, far fewer would be motivated to work in it. Flight attendant and Airport customer service agent salaries are quite low. You expect them to deal with all they put up with for that pay, and then remove their perks too? Good luck finding staff.

They are flying in a seat that would be unoccupied and they will be one of the best behaved passengers on the plane. If there are limited meal options, they are often served last, so they are not taking away anything from anyone else.

To answer the OP question, I am not sure all those details but I think they have pretty much always been there at least for many decades. At least since the jet age. The level of benefit, the amount that is charged (ie: taxes, fees), how many J-class trips they get, and who within the employee's circle gets to share the benefits, all of that has varied and continues to vary.
 
citationjet
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:16 am

My first non-rev flight was in 1956 on a Braniff DC-3. My dad started working for Braniff that year.
My wife worked for the original Frontier in 1979 when we got married. We paid $2.50 per flight on Frontier.
I was 45 years old when I purchased my first revenue ticket.
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wv399
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:22 pm

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


Seriously?

Flight privileges are why employees tolerate rude customers and low salaries. Airlines tinker with those benefits at their peril. AA retirees filed suit for changes to their priority, and DGS employees revolted after DL sold controlling interest and they were to lose their flights. The company backpedaled.
 
nws2002
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:12 am

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


Then expect ticket prices to go up because employees will want to be paid more. The largest benefit of working for an airline is non-rev travel. Without that, there is no incentive.
 
Charters737
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:42 am

Back in 90s, United staff in Australia, were given so many buddy passes, which they could give to whoever, relatives, friends

Knew a few staff & was given a few buddy passes, which from memory were AU$400 from Sydney to any United port in USA or Canada.

Tickets were subload business, subload economy.

It was relatively easy to get on in economy in low season SYD/LAX or SYD/SFO. You could phone res in Sydney & simply ask. They would tell you these dates were hopeless & these days were good.

We used to try to get on which ever flight was 1st out of SYD & then if didn’t get on that flight try for the other.

BUT, when coming home, it was a different story.

Once sat around for 3 days trying to get on a flight in low season.

Others, who were from U.S. even gave up after 2 or more days.

The seniority of the staff member who gave you the buddy pass, was very important, as any from a recent hire, were almost useless.

Once went to east coast via SFO with numerous stopovers & got on every flight went for except one. At a major hub & check in said no chance, but then said, in 1 hour there’s an aircraft being relocated which is empty & it was. More flight attendants than passengers.

So free or cheap travel sounds great, but when subload, comes with plenty of catches.


Did some work for another airline once, who gave us confirmed business class seats. The following year, they gave ups subload business, confirmed economy. The year after that, they gave us subload business, subload economy.

We were doing the same work each time, but they obviously valued it less each year. We stopped doing the marketing for them, as the economy was improving & they thought they didn't need us. Then the GFC happened & they called us again. (they paid us a fee, but less than we asked, but threw in tickets to USA in low season, when they could fill aircraft, so the tickets had a perceived value to us, but much less to the airline.
 
Silver1SWA
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:54 am

banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


I’ll never understand why so many people come here, to an aviation enthusiast website, and just absolutely dump on airline employees. It’s been that way since day one and I’ll never get it.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
BravoOne
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:13 am

Silver1SWA wrote:
banko wrote:
I think it's a perk that needs to be abolished. Employees need to fork up the cash like the rest of us. Them getting free or next to free traveling dilutes the experience.


I’ll never understand why so many people come here, to an aviation enthusiast website, and just absolutely dump on airline employees. It’s been that way since day one and I’ll never get it.


They are same folks who rag on every percieved social injustice, or use every chance to make the others feel inferior so they can elevate themselves to a position of superiority that they probably don't deserve. Ugly from core.
 
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CarlosSi
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:55 pm

Ahahah, I feel like Banko was just trolling y’all; that was his only post ever and hasn’t shown up since! As if he saw this thread and created the account just for that.

Guess nobody is really sure when the travel benefit was introduced.
 
n729pa
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Re: When did airlines start offering employees free/reduced fare travel?

Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:50 pm

My dad used to work for Iran Air (76-94) and we used to get free travel. However there was the revolution, the Iran Iraq war, Salman Rushdie affair, so we never did get round to it. Notwithstanding the fact it would have been restrictive for my Mum as well. In those days there was a three weekly flights, one to Rome, one to Paris on their way to Tehran, the third was nonstop with connections to Beijing and Tokyo.
But we did get discounts on other airlines too, 10% fares on British Midland and Aer Lingus (which was a bit safer than Tehran in those days), and Kuwait Airways (we looked at a trip to NYC on them but went to see relatives in Oregon instead) and I remember £45 tickets anywhere on Air Canada. One his colleagues flew to Bombay (stopover to Singapore in those days) on the way back but got stuck for a week and a half. These tickets were always standby so not without risk, and for a family of four, too high a risk.

We get "perks" where I work (we have a large fleet of cargo planes among other things) , staff discounts for a variety of things, options to buy shares and get a number of other activities. But I would imagine a lot of companies give their employees incentatives of one kind or another, all part of making the employee valued and part of the company.

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