Non-Revenue in First Class

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Mar 18, 2019
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#1
My niece is a flight attendant with AA and her parents have flight privileges. My brother tells me that he flies First Class regularly. I know he pays a very small amount but it's peanuts compared to what I pay for my American Flights. It really ticks me off that NON-Revenue passengers are being put in First Class rather than bumping up paying customers. I do not fly as frequently now as I used to, but I still pay for my flights and feel like paying customers should always be bumped to First Class over non-paying people. I would encourage everyone to contact American Airlines to complain about this policy!!
 
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Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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#2
I doubt your niece makes a ton of money working for AA not to mention the long hours and abuse regularly received from customers. If part of her compensation package is allowing family members the ability to fly for 'peanuts' in first class, why deny her that? Let me say this another way....if your daughter was a flight attendant, wouldn't you love that perk?
 
Mar 18, 2019
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#3
My niece just posted a social media post saying that she is working less and making more money than her previous job! Also...Flight Attendants know what to expect when they take the job. If I had a daughter that was a Flight Attendant, I would not expect to fly First Class for free. I would expect paying customers to have that benefit! If I'm paying 'peanuts' to fly, I would expect to be in the main cabin! My parents don't get any benefits from my employer....most employers do not give big benefits to employees' parents!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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It is part of the compensation package for the major US airlines to have certain flight benefit privileges.

You write that flight attendants know what they are getting when they take the job — well that includes the benefits package.

I am upper tier member of a different airline.

If you want first class buy first class.
 

Neil Maley

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#5
Part of the benefits of her job are the perks for her family. I think if your daughter was a flight attendant you would take advantage of the perks as well.

Just so you understand, employees and their parents fly standby. We have friends that are flight attendants and they don't get free flights on any flight they want - they can see flights that aren't full and book a seat on them but if the flight is full, the employee (and their families) can be bumped off the flight. And I've seen some of my friends be unable to get home from a trip because there is no stand by available.
They are booked as "space available" that means they book space, but can't get a seat unless there's room. Paying customers get the seats, employees get one only if there's anything left over.

You also don't know how much more the parents are paying for upgrading to first class either. I can guarantee you because they have to pay taxes and taxes are often more than the price of the ticket. Taxes cannot be waived so your brother and sister in law have to pay those. It is not as rosy as you think. Paying passengers aren't usually bumped so that an employee or their family can travel.

It is what it is and AA is not the only airline that does this. I wouldn't want to be a flight attendant regardless of the benefits watching the behavior of passengers when I fly. But if you like to travel, you should look into working for the airlines since this perk is so nice. And it isn't just FA's - ALL employees working for airlines get this benefit.

If you don't like it and want to protest, we have company contacts on top of our page. You can use them to protest.
 
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Mar 15, 2018
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#6
I can't imagine that passengers complaining about employee compensation and/or perks is going to have any impact at all.

Airlines are not required to "bump up" any passenger. They are only required to provide the passenger with a seat in the class of service they paid for. What they choose to do with their unsold first class seats is entirely their prerogative.

My niece just posted a social media post saying that she is working less and making more money than her previous job! Also...Flight Attendants know what to expect when they take the job. If I had a daughter that was a Flight Attendant, I would not expect to fly First Class for free. I would expect paying customers to have that benefit! If I'm paying 'peanuts' to fly, I would expect to be in the main cabin! My parents don't get any benefits from my employer....most employers do not give big benefits to employees' parents!
I don't see any connection at all between what you and/or your parents get as benefits from your employer, vs what AA gives its employees. Every company chooses how they compensate their employees. AA (and other airlines) often include family travel benefits as compensation. I expect they have determined that it works out better for them to do that, than to give unsold seats away to passengers. Keeping employees happy can go a long way towards keeping your best employees, and good employees are an important asset.

If you're unhappy with what you're paying for your airline tickets on AA, you may want to look into discount airlines. They are often less expensive for the same routes.

I'm also not sure it's appropriate to be expressing your bitterness about your niece's job benefits in this forum.
 
Mar 15, 2018
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#7
Oh...three very excellent points made in comments above mine, that I want to call out and express my agreement:

1. Family travel benefits have always been offered to airline employees by some airlines. As Christina H pointed out - these benefits were offered when they were hired as part of their compensation package. So yes, they knew what they were getting into - which included family travel benefits.

2. If you want first class, buy first class. It's simply unreasonable to expect to get something you didn't pay for.

3. These family travel benefits come with the caveat that they may not get on the flight at all. So yeah, it's great that they sometimes get free first class tickets. But with that comes the uncertainty of having to fly stand-by.

I hope this all has helped you to rethink your position, and overcome your anger at your niece for doing nothing other than working at a job that is well known to be quite challenging, and making use of the compensation and benefits that come along with it.
 

Carrie Livingston

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#8
Have a friend that's a flight attendant for Delta and she does get to allow family members to travel for free however it's on a space available basis and they know they might be bumped.

My best friend's fiance is a pilot for Southwest and has the same privileges with the same caveat.
 
Jun 27, 2017
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Flying used to be an enjoyable experience. It's not anymore. Even flying 1st class (which we've done twice; no bump up either; first class ticket prices). I get stressed the minute I walk through the entry door and definitely going through TSA security. Gate agents are curt (not happy); they now have to assign seats, change seats and ask for people to check baggage because the flights are full and the bins are crammed to capacity. The seats suck; the attendants have to deal with weather delays, surly (and sometimes drunk; other times demanding) passengers, medical emergencies, broken lavatories, not-so-nice hotel rooms, etc. So if a flight attendant and his/her family members get 1st class perks, that's OK with us. We want them to be happy!
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#10
My niece is a flight attendant with AA and her parents have flight privileges. My brother tells me that he flies First Class regularly. I know he pays a very small amount but it's peanuts compared to what I pay for my American Flights. It really ticks me off that NON-Revenue passengers are being put in First Class rather than bumping up paying customers. I do not fly as frequently now as I used to, but I still pay for my flights and feel like paying customers should always be bumped to First Class over non-paying people. I would encourage everyone to contact American Airlines to complain about this policy!!
FWIW, I think you have been fed a bunch of hooey hooey. Most likely your brother is embellishing the facts.

Non-revenue passengers are the lowest on the totem pole. If they are flying in first, they can be downgraded at any moments notice, including up to the last minute before the door closes. Likewise they can be bumped for a revenue passenger at the last minute, up until the door is closed. There are some employees that have written in their contract that they will fly first class, but these are few and far between. More often, there are enough cattle class passengers with status that first class will be full. Of course, the above also depends on the specific flights and times. So, it is possible with careful flight selection that a non-revenue passenger may get to fly first class, but it's not as glamorous as you have been lead to believe.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#11
Personally, I think it's great that airlines provide these benefits for their employees. Those aren't easy jobs and perks like this can help attract and retain good employees. It sounds like your niece is very happy with her new career. I hope you can focus on that rather than on any negatives.
 
Mar 15, 2018
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#12
Flying used to be an enjoyable experience. It's not anymore. Even flying 1st class (which we've done twice; no bump up either; first class ticket prices). I get stressed the minute I walk through the entry door and definitely going through TSA security. Gate agents are curt (not happy); they now have to assign seats, change seats and ask for people to check baggage because the flights are full and the bins are crammed to capacity. The seats suck; the attendants have to deal with weather delays, surly (and sometimes drunk; other times demanding) passengers, medical emergencies, broken lavatories, not-so-nice hotel rooms, etc. So if a flight attendant and his/her family members get 1st class perks, that's OK with us. We want them to be happy!
I'm with you! I WANT the FAs to be happy! :)

I'm sure we've all gotten our point across loud and clear. But I just want to add one more thought: I really have a hard time with the whole mindset that someone else's good fortune must be viewed as your MISfortune. If my relatives were getting to enjoy benefits from their children's jobs, I'd be happy for them, not angry that I'm not getting it! It's hard for me to even put myself in that mindset.

Also, airline employees are not the only people whose families get to enjoy benefits from their jobs. When my daughter worked at Crispy Creme as a teenager, she used to come home with boxes of leftover donuts. Guess who ate most of them? LOL!
 

Neil Maley

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#13
I'm with you! I WANT the FAs to be happy! :)

I'm sure we've all gotten our point across loud and clear. But I just want to add one more thought: I really have a hard time with the whole mindset that someone else's good fortune must be viewed as your MISfortune. If my relatives were getting to enjoy benefits from their children's jobs, I'd be happy for them, not angry that I'm not getting it! It's hard for me to even put myself in that mindset.

Also, airline employees are not the only people whose families get to enjoy benefits from their jobs. When my daughter worked at Crispy Creme as a teenager, she used to come home with boxes of leftover donuts. Guess who ate most of them? LOL!
I wish I could love this post. Well said.
 
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Jan 6, 2015
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#14
From someone who is not a member of this forum: Ben Schlappig

"Some people might be surprised to hear that I actually don’t have a problem with non-revs in first class in general. Space available seats in any cabin is part of their contract, so they’re paying for that perk indirectly — it’s not “free.” Airline employees put up with a lot and many are paid quite poorly, so it’s a nice treat for them."

I have no opinion about this issue one way or the other, but when I was active military we experienced a form of this in on-base housing, cafeteria, medical, commissary, etc. This helped offset our low pay . . .
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#15
Just weighing in to say that, no, I will not be complaining to AA or any airline about this policy - I think it is a wonderful, well-deserved perk of a difficult job.

I agree with others (with every word actually)- this is a hard job and I too want FAs to be as well compensated, happy as possible.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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#16
1. I am not asking for myself to be bumped to First Class. I am saying that a paying passenger should have the benefit of First Class over a non-paying passenger. My brother-in-law flies every week...multiple times. He has a high frequent flyer status and he agrees that if he pays $1000 for airfare and does not get bumped to First Class because a non-rev passenger took a seat in First Class, he would be pissed.
2. I do know exactly what my brother paid for his last First Class seat....it was a grand total of $40....he told me. No way any First Class fare is less than $40.
3. I am not saying that flight attendants and their parents should not have flight benefits. I'm just saying that if there is an empty seat in First Class, the airlines should bump up a paying customer from the main cabin. Then that open seat in the main cabin should be given to the non-rev passenger.
4. Let's face it. It's the PAYING customers that are keeping these airlines flying....those are the customers the airlines should be keeping happy. Employees and their parents should be in the main cabin when flying non-rev....they still get the benefit of flying (nearly) free.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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#17
Also...you all keep mentioning the employee. My brother is not an employee of American Airlines. He is not poorly compensated and he does not put up with nasty passengers. He still flies First Class for nearly free.

Side note: I would have no problem at all with active military being bumped to First Class...they deserve it! Parents of Airline employees do not.
 

Neil Maley

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#18
1. I am not asking for myself to be bumped to First Class. I am saying that a paying passenger should have the benefit of First Class over a non-paying passenger. My brother-in-law flies every week...multiple times. He has a high frequent flyer status and he agrees that if he pays $1000 for airfare and does not get bumped to First Class because a non-rev passenger took a seat in First Class, he would be pissed.
2. I do know exactly what my brother paid for his last First Class seat....it was a grand total of $40....he told me. No way any First Class fare is less than $40.
3. I am not saying that flight attendants and their parents should not have flight benefits. I'm just saying that if there is an empty seat in First Class, the airlines should bump up a paying customer from the main cabin. Then that open seat in the main cabin should be given to the non-rev passenger.
4. Let's face it. It's the PAYING customers that are keeping these airlines flying....those are the customers the airlines should be keeping happy. Employees and their parents should be in the main cabin when flying non-rev....they still get the benefit of flying (nearly) free.
Paying customers DO get preference over non- rev. If anyone is telling you otherwise they are lying.

I also am not sure I believe your brother only paid $40. My understanding is they have to pay the taxes on the flight. It might only be $40 for a domestic flight but I can pretty much say that’s not for international.

Again- if there are revenue passengers that want to pay for an upgrade they get it before a non-rev passenger.

Your niece gets the privilege of giving a certain number of flights to family every year. It’s really no ones business who she gives it to. She has earned the right by the job she chose. It sounds like perhaps your brother might like to brag to get the best of you. There is nothing you can do about it except go to work for an airline so you have the same privilege, or ask one of your kids.

One of these days your brother may take trip and not be able to get home to go to work because a rev. passenger has booked his seat.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#19
The $40 that your brother paid, was for taxes and other mandatory departure fees.
Again, you are not seeing the big picture. The non-rev passenger is the lowest on the totem pole. A revenue passenger who is eligible for an upgrade will be upgraded before a non-revenue FC passenger, UNLESS, the employee has it written in the contract that they are guaranteed FC (ie a re-positioning pilot)

I still maintain that you have incorrect or incomplete facts.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#20
There are various levels of flight benefits and pass levels.

You can say that without customers there is no airline well same without employees.

So employees cannot get a benefit of being in first — but military can? What about firefighters? Police?

So you think that a negotiated and agreed upon benefit between employer and employee is impinging on your upgrades? Is that the issue? Has you not gotten upgrades because of non revs?

If you do not like the way AA or Delta or UA is run and what kind of benefits they give to employees go to another airline or start your own airline.

Want first pay for first or play upgrade roulette within the system.

You can write the execs and voice the thoughts but one has to be careful not to have the appearance of sour grapes with a dash of entitled elite.
 
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