So the airlines try to sell nonreving as a "'perk" of working for them, in fact the regional dh worked at told them it was worth $10,000 a year. I would have rather had them pay him the extra $10,000 to be honest, it would have been more useful. For non-aviation folks nonreving means non-revenue passenger, it is flying standby if there is a seat available. Airlines have different agreements with other airlines regarding this, at dh's airline I can fly on them and also pay taxes (plus some) to fly on other airlines. Weather I fly on dh's airline or a different one it is still standby, seat available.
So lets start out with this, nonreving is not for the faint of heart. When you nonrev you are last to get on, heck I have had some gate agents send me down to the plane when they aren't even sure there is even a seat left, only to have to walk back up when everyone shows up. You also stand the chance of being treated like crap by the gate agents. Now as a paying passenger you're probably sitting there saying they treat everyone like that, which might be true. The difference is that you (as a paying passenger) can complain or at least be mad about being treated like crap, where as I (when a gate agents screams at me, yes it's happened) has to stand there and smile and say "I'm sorry." Even though I'm not sure what I did and I'm sure not sorry, because if the gate agent reports to the company that I was a rude/angry/pita, in anyway we would lose our pass travel privileges and dh could lose his job. So that's the downside, dealing with unpleasant gate agents, and not knowing if you are going to make your flight, hard to plan a vacation that way.
So the perks when they work are fantastic. We just got back from an awesome whirlwind trip to Japan, courtesy of nonreving. The flip side is that we didn't know we were going for sure until we got on the plane, which makes it hard to plan but thankfully our friends who we were visiting understood. It also meant that we had to adjust our travel day once (or twice) but it all worked out. The key with nonreving is Flexibility.. If we hadn't made the flight we had a backup, and we had a backup to location. If we couldn't go to Japan we would have gone to Europe or Hawaii, or really where ever there were empty seats. Flexible.
The key with nonreving (besides Flexible) is fun! Honestly that's the best way to look at it. One of the most fun nonrev trips I have done was to Disney World for Mickey's Christmas Party with our friends. Originally we were all going to meet in Frankfort, but because of the Lufthansa strike dh and I couldn't get there. So we all changed courses and headed to Orlando for some Disney Fun! Even getting to Florida was a bit of a challenge for dh and I, when we walked into Midway it was chaos due to weather. So instead of going to Orlando we went to Tampa and drove over, I booked the car when we were walking down the jet bridge! Again Flexible.
The honest truth is if you can't be flexible and have to be someone where, or if you don't want to deal with crappy gate agents and middle seats, buy a ticket. I have bought tickets in the past and actually have some for later this year, if its a strict timeline and super important then buy a ticket. Nonreving is not for events where you have to be there. For instance I will buy a ticket to get on the cruise and nonrev home, I for sure don't want to miss the cruise but don't mind if I sit for a day (or two) in the airport on the way home.
So happy travels no matter where you end up!!
"You must always be able to predict what's next and then have the flexibility to evolve."