Flight benefits come with a cost!

December 02, 2008 5 Comments A+ a-

My friend, Shelby, is having one helluva day today! She and her Better Half (BH) are trying to non-rev to Sydney, Australia tonight, from Columbia, SC. Oh? You don't know the joys of non-revving? Sit a spell, and let me tell you!

Non-revving is airline speak for an employee of an airline flying on her pass benefits for pleasure. It is not deadheading--which is when the airline is repositioning a crewmember. Deadheading is positive space and the airline will remove a paying passenger in order to reposition that crewmember. It is not commuting--which means the employee lives in one city and is based in another. All work trips start and end in your base, and the employee is responsible to get back and forth to work using her flight benefits. This is space available, and the company does not assist the employee in getting to or from work when commuting. Finally, Flight Attendants can jumpseat on their own carrier, if one is available. Jumpseating involves sitting on the unused Flight Attendant jumpseat. (By the way, it can be painfully uncomfortable to do this for any extended flight.)

Clear as mud, right?

The only guaranteed seat is a deadheading crewmember. Everything else is only if a seat is empty, or space available.

So, non-revving (as in non-revenue) is the term used for space available, pleasure travel. Some airlines call it pass riding. In either case, it takes a strong stomach to non-rev, when the flights are packed and service is less frequent.

Like today, for Shelby.

Shelby is a Flight Attendant with a American Airlines. She is currently on military leave, stationed in Columbia, SC. She and her BH have been planning an Australian cruise for some time now.

Plan A was to fly from Columbia (CAE) to Dallas (DFW) to Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD). Her carrier uses a regional jet from CAE-DFW. That RJ used to be a 70-seat Canadair. With all the changes going on in the industry--it has been downgraded to an Embraer 135, a 37 seater. That means there were 33 fewer seats leaving CAE this morning. Shel and her BH did not make that flight.

Plan B roared into effect. She and I spent an hour on the phone trying to see what their options were. There's not much going on in a small airport like CAE, and options were limited. Oh, and her Qantas flight to Sydney is leaving at 10:30 p.m. tonight. No pressure!

On the computer, we look at American flights to Chicago (ORD), Northwest flights to Detroit (DTW), United flights Washington, DC (IAD)--nada. Then, I looked at Delta. Their regional jet into Atlanta (ATL) has 12 seats available (according to their website.) If they could get to ATL, they would have more options available to them.

Non-revving on another carrier involves a small fare and ticketing procedures that many ticket agents don't know how to do. When the stress level has just kicked up a couple of notches, it is frustrating to not have an employee who knows how to ticket for these "ZED" fares.

She struck non-rev gold with an agent that knew how to ticket these ZED fares and loved figuring out the routing. Shel and her BH are now doing this: Columbia--Atlanta--Nashville on Delta. Then Nashville-Los Angeles on American Airlines. Then Los Angeles-Sydney on Qantas.

Crazy, huh? But, all the other options are not looking good--all the flights from DFW to LAX are oversold. We even looked at surrounding airports like Burbank, Ontario, and Orange County, where they could rent a car one way and drive to LAX. Nada!

Oh, did I tell you that they are checking luggage? That's another nightmare in itself! Instead of checking luggage all the way through to SYD, they will pick it up at the Delta baggage claim in Nashville (BNA), check it on American to LAX then go back through security, then claim it in LAX, check it on Qantas, then go back through security. There is just waaaaa-ay too much that could go wrong checking it all the way through using three different carriers and four flights.

Did I tell you that Shelby had military duty all night last night, and has been awake since yesterday morning? She is one tired girl! I'll let you know how it goes for them--I hope this is the only snafu they encounter. They do have three days to get to SYD, though. And, I hope she gets some sleep!

When it comes to non-revving, free isn't really free!

8:45 p.m. update: they've made 3 of the 4 flights so far...they are on their way to LAX now. Cross your fingers for the SYD leg!

Update #2: They made the Qantas flight to Brisbane, then connected to SYD--she texted me at 2:08 a.m. Eastern time, saying "Entire row to ourselves. How sweet is that?""

Sweet, indeed!

Blondie

Blondie

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DUNCAN
AUTHOR
December 3, 2008 at 9:21 AM delete

Oh the glamour of being a stewardess!

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UpUpnAAway
AUTHOR
December 5, 2008 at 7:07 PM delete

Updating my BLOG now, Wifi here at the hotel is 30.00 AUD a day, You know how cheap I am, So I am borrowing WiFi from the McDonalds across the street!! Clever....

If Flight Attendants are one thing ... we are Creative!!!!

LY!

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UpUpnAAway
AUTHOR
December 5, 2008 at 8:04 PM delete

UPDATE: We missed the flight to SYD, because of the luggage issue,,, It got to LAX before us, Thanks to Delta!!! We had to fly to Brisbane instead,,, it worked out better~!!!!

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Anthony
AUTHOR
December 8, 2008 at 8:45 AM delete

Oh the joys of non-revving. I've done the jumpseat on the upper deck of a 747 for 23 hours from London to Melbourne. It was SO not cute ......

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Airboy
AUTHOR
December 9, 2008 at 7:06 PM delete

ahahah my effin God. This is one hell of a trip. Emirates doesn't allow Jumpseating (good in a sense, that's one option outta the way !). You guys have some nerves to do that. I'd be already tired seeing the flight plan before my eyes !!!

Isn't cool being a FA !!? You certainly get cheap tickets but my gosh you have to work to work things out !

ZED fares/tickets are horrible to understand or get by... Airport agent are useless at that task !

Anyways happy to know Shelby made it Down Under !

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