As an airline employee, we work in a very unique industry compared to anywhere else. Our jobs, from flying the aircraft to working the ticket counter and everything in between, are much different from any other field of work. What also separates us are the benefits that come with the job. The biggest perk is obviously flying for free on our airline, which most of us take advantage of. Another perk is the discounts that we get from many businesses around the World. Our airline badge is like a membership card. Mention that you work for an airline, show your badge, and voila, money saved! There are so many ways that you can take advantage of this perk and I am here to tell you how. So read below and take what you can out of it. Hopefully it'll help you save in the future!
There are really two realms of discounts that exist for airline employees.
The first realm encompasses discounts that are well-known among the industry, whether it is advertised through your airline or just obvious. At my airline, there is a "perk" page within the intranet site that lists all sorts of discounts that are offered by various large businesses. Examples include Apple, AT&T, Costco, FedEx, Ford, Golds Gym, Target, and many more - probably near a 100 total. Many of these are not exclusive to my airline, but may have a different discount than what your airline can get you.
Then there are all the businesses within the travel industry, such as hotels, car rentals, cruise lines, attractions like Walt Disney World, etc. that pretty much offer some kind of discount to airline employees. Most offer the same "travel industry" rate, no matter what airline that you work for. Don't forget about the restaurants and shops in the airport. Most of them will give you a discount too if you show your badge.
The other realm of discounts include the ones that you only hear about from someone else, also known as "word of mouth." For example, the World Trade Center Memorial in NYC is now open for visitation. Due to heavy construction and large crowds, the Memorial requires that you get a ticket/reservation to get in. With the high demand for tickets, it is impossible to get same day reservations, unless you are an airline employee. Why? Because the Memorial will allow 9/11 victims' families, emergency responders, and airline employees to get same day passes. Did you know that existed? Probably not. How do I know? Well, I was in NYC the other day and ran across it while on a walk. Another example. If you have ever spent a layover in Coronado/San Diego, then you know that there is a great bike route that runs along the coast line, which is a great way to spend time on a layover. There is a bike shop on Coronado that rents out bikes to airline employees for a discount. Did you know that?
In the old days of the airlines, you almost expected a discount from places if you flashed your badge. Today, however, the discounts are harder to find. So, where can you find these discounts? Well, the obvious is to ask around at work and see what your coworkers know. There are also websites that focus on airline crew discounts and may help you save a buck or two. Of the millions of airline employees around the World, you can imagine how many of these discounts exist.
Whether you are heading out on a layover or planning your next NonRev trip, it is worth your while to find out what kind of discounts your airline can get you. Some discounts may not be worth it because coupons, fire sales, certain websites, etc., may get you a better deal. The point is that your airline can save you money and you should at least set out to know how. When in doubt, just ask if they will give you a discount, especially anywhere close to a major airport. Ask around and find out from other coworkers who have been where you are going to see where the deals are. I bet you will find a discount worth your while.