Originally Posted by cspsskiguy
Date or marry someone who works for an airline.Family passes are awesome.We did Calgary to Honolulu a few years ago for $50 each/return.Also got bumped to first class and made sure we drank our moneys worth,to ensure that we broke even.
My wife works for the airlines so we should point out that dating is usually not enough, you have to be an immediate family member to be eligible for the discounts. Different airlines define this differently, but usually you have to be the parent, spouse or child of an airline employee to get the discount.
Also, you are generally flying standby if you are on an id ticket, which means that if load factors are high (ie flights are overbooked) you may not get on the flight you want. Worse still, you may have to stay and extra night or two on busy weekends or holidays before you will be able to get a flight out or back. MLKjr day is a perfect example of this, load factors this Friday and Monday to Denver from NYC are extremely high. Employees are usually pretty savvy about checking the load factors when planning a trip. For this reason if you really need to get there at a specific time and date you may want to book a regular ticket.
If you want the upgrade to first or business class make sure that you dress appropriately (this is a good tip generally if you want an upgrade). When flying on an employee ticket I usually travel in a blazer, chinos and loafers. If you are in shorts and flip flops they don't have to seat you in first class, and if the flight is full in back you could end up waiting again. Also, make sure you behave yourself since any in flight crankiness can result in problems for your spouse with their work. On the bright side, the flight crews generally treat you well, a little like extended family, if they know your status.
In general, the flight benefits are one of the best parts of having someone in your family work for the airlines. Of course this needs to be balanced against poor pay, late and early hours, dealing with crabby people and losing your benefits and retirement in a bankruptcy.