A Look at Staff Travel for Pilots
Do Pilots Get Cheap Flights?
Yes, most do. It varies from airline to airline but generally pilots can benefit from heavily discounted airline tickets. This article provides a general guide but there will be subtle differences between airlines.
Many airlines give their pilots access to unlimited travel on what is called an ‘ID90’ basis. This gives the pilot 90% off the ticket price but on a standby basis, i.e. they will only get on the flight if there is a spare seat available – if the flight is full they won’t get on. These tickets will see the pilots seated anywhere from First Class to Economy depending on where the spare seats are.
It can be a very useful perk of the job given that it gives you the opportunity to potentially travel to the other side of the world for a fraction of the usual cost (sometimes just £150/$200), but it can be a bit nerve racking if you really need to get home, the flight is full and you are waiting to see if someone doesn’t turn up so you can have their seat!
Airlines usually have reciprocal staff travel agreements with other airlines. This can mean pilots may have access to cheap tickets across a range of airlines around the world.
As well as ID90 travel, some airlines offer their pilots a number of ‘confirmed tickets’ for free every year. This will usually guarantee a seat on the aircraft and would usually be in First or Business Class.
Such agreements aren’t usually exclusive to pilots. Cabin Crew and other airline workers often have access to similar opportunities but their agreements may be slightly different.