Monday, March 27, 2017

10 Tips for Nonreving

Remember that old Kenny Rogers song "The Gambler"  Know when to Hold 'Em, Know when to Fold 'Em, that could be a nonrev song. You have to know when to try and when its not worth it.  A recent news story today got me thinking about nonreving.  So I thought I'd share my tips from the past 12 years.

1) Take the First Flight of the Morning
I can't say this enough or often enough.  Sure you want to sleep in, but do you want to get to where you are trying to go?  Or is sleeping more important? If you answered sleeping, nonreving might not be for you.  You always take the first flight of the morning (see I said it again) even if it looks bad you have the potential of paying pax oversleeping, this means more seats for you!  Also guess what happens to those later flights you wanted to take so you could sleep?  The pax that overslept that first flight....are all on the later front of you.

2) Be Nice to the Gate Agents
This is really a tie with #1.  These are the gate keepers to your beloved flight.  Yes, yes, but they are mean and unreasonable (not everyone is nice) but ultimately it doesn't matter.  As my mom would say "Life isn't fair."  Weather they are nice or not they decide the fate of your flight.  98% of gate agents are nice (if not a little stressed) but there are some that are clearly having bad days.  This is really of no difference to you, you treat them all the same.  You treat them as nicely as possibly,  the words "I'm sorry" "Thank you so much" "I appreciate it" are all phrases you should use.  It doesn't matter if the gate agent is a fire eating dragon munching on a small child behind the desk, you are still nice.  Never lose your cool or start yelling, besides not getting anywhere, you're libel to get your nonrev privileges revoked.  Even if they are doing something clearly wrong and screwing you, there is not a lot you can do, remember you are riding for free...or close to it.
Example: I once had a gate agent (on a flight that had 25 empty seats left) not call any nonrev's.  There were about 15 of us standing there waiting.  Not one of us moved, even when she said final call for boarding.  One poor guy who clearly hadn't ever nonreved before finally approached her with his security document and must have said something like "Is this the right flight?"  She went ballistic.  Like nuclear ballistic.  "You are a nonrev, that is NOT a ticket, I will give you a ticket if there is room, you need to wait over there."  Should she have been awful? No.  Am I glad that guy took one for the team? You bet, she didn't seem as if she would let us on until he walked up.  Would that have been me? Heck no.  I didn't want her saying I was rude and having my privileges revoked.

3) Have a Plan A, B, C, D, E, and F for FUN
Have as many plans as you need to get there.  Dh and I were going from Chicago to San Francisco one time and we went from Chicago to Kansas City to San Diego to San Francisco.  Yes it took forever BUT we got there.  Also learn when its in your best interest to do this.  Sure we could have waited a few hours in Chicago to see if we got on the direct flight to Oakland BUT it would have been close and if we would not have made it we would have been screwed and not gotten there at all.  Sometimes it's worth it to 3 leg it to make sure you get there.  Also look for alternative routes, I once flew from Houston to Milwaukee instead of into Chicago....gotta do what you gotta do.

4) If You Have to be Somewhere Don't Nonrev
This is what money is for.  If you have to be somewhere (wedding, cruise, etc) please buy a ticket.  Heck go on a cruise and listen to people talk who did buy tickets, its not always guaranteed then.  I have heard stories of weather, and maintenance issues from people who almost didn't make their cruise.  My caveat is, if you want to go two days before then go ahead and try to have time.

5) Pack Lightly
I can't say this enough...for the love of god, DON'T check a bag if you are going somewhere.  As a nonrev if they lose your bag you may never see it again. Also, think about this, if you decide to fly into Milwaukee instead of Chicago your bag is still going to go to Chicago or vise versa.  If you need to check a bag you need to buy a ticket.  My one caveat(again) to this is when we went to Japan with just carry on's, we returned with two checked bags.  One of our carry on's broke and we bought a ton of souvenirs.  IF you are going to check a bag, check it on the way home.

6) Be Prepared to Sleep in Airports
Not much to explain here, every year we add a new one to the list.  We've slept in quite a few most notable are: Midway, Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Kona (in Kona we bought a ticket!).  As I have gotten older I am more willing to pay for a hotel for 4 hours than sleep in an airport, esp if I want to be presentable the next day to nonrev.

7) Be Flexible
IMO this is a must.  You really can't expect to fly out to Las Vegas on Friday and fly back on Sunday.  There are wayyyy too many paying passengers, you won't make it.  Not to say you can't do it, I have done it twice, BUT I also understood and planned for not returning on Sunday.  One of my first nonreving experiences was doing this exact trip, but at the time I didn't know better and let dh (boyfriend) at the time plan it.  Big mistake esp since I had to be at work on Monday.  I ended up calling in sick and also learned a valuable lesson.

8) What (Not) to Wear?
So I'm not going to say much about this, at this point everyone has heard about United and their buddy pass dress code I'm sure.  I'm only going to say, if you look at the dress code and think something you're wearing *might* be questionable your best bet is to change so they actually let you on the plane.

9) Expect the Unexpected
Storms happen, mechanicals happen, aircraft swaps happen.  All of these and more may screw up your nonrev plans please refer to #7.

10) Be Grateful
Always be nice, pleasant, and grateful.  Always remember no matter how bad it is, you could always be the person on the outside looking in wishing you had nonrev benefits.

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