7 Habits Of A Highly Successful Passrider

by Kerwin McKenzie on June 16, 2014


As an airline employee, your life and travels can be so much better if you are prepared to travel. With that in mind, I’ve prepared 7 habits to follow that will make every trip a success:

  1. 1. If possible list for your flights at least 24 hours in advanceIf possible list for your flights at least 24 hours in advance. Each airline has differing policies for this step. Some such as Cathay Pacific (CX) wants you to list at the airport on day of departure, while others such as American Airlines prefers you to list at least 24 hours in advance. I think initially, the primary reason for this is catering as the term is actually “meal listing.” Although these days if you are in the U.S. most domestic flights offer paid meal services. Regardless, the airlines want to know you are coming or have an intention to do so. Follow their procedures by contact them during the planning phase of your trip. In the same vain, if you decide not to travel, cancel your listing before you fly. If your carrier has online check-in you should definitely use it as it saves you airport hassles, plus some, such as United Airlines, have a facility where you can see your position on the standby list during the check-in process.
    If you get a chance, you should sign up for Global Entry/TSA Pre as it will smooth your return into the U.S. as well as breeze you through the airport check-in process.
  2. 2. Have a backup plan if you get bumpedHave a backup plan if you get bumped. This goes without saying, but I’ve met many a passrider who do not have this handled. As such, once they get bumped, they do not know what to do next. Instead, they get rolled to the next overbooked flight or leave the airport to try again another day. Unacceptable. Here are a few things to help you:
    • Know alternate airports
    • Have backup tickets. Get these tickets beforehand; check flight loads and know when to make your move. Sometimes you may have to give up on your preferred flight before it leaves.
    • Have alternate routings mapped, these include non-flight options. If you can take a bus, train or boat then do so. Don’t wait around the airport unless you necessarily have to. Things won’t magically happen.
  3. 3. Join the loyalty programs of every service you useJoin the loyalty programs of every service you use. You are leaving money on the table if you don’t do this. Especially with hotels. The more loyal you are the better things will be. Loyalty at hotels, will give you early check-in, late check out, room upgrades, complimentary arrival gifts, Lounge access, free breakfast, free Wifi, just to name a few. For car rentals, you get upgrades, miles and express pickups. Why would you give up all that?
    You may not pay the full fare for airline tickets often, but when you do ensure you get mileage credit for it. These miles add up and status means perks such as: preferred seating, preferred boarding, upgrades and lounge access. Get cracking and sign up for the loyalty programs when you travel.
  4. 4. Be respectful to those you interact with on your journeyBe respectful to those you interact with on your journey. I can’t stress this one enough. Always treat your fellow employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. This is despite the level of service you receive. Sometimes you may not get the level you desire as they may be stressed, but be respectful at all times. Say hello, thank you and tip them as applicable. Especially the person who cleans your room at the hotel. One thing here too is if you can take a jumpseat to allow your fellow employee/airline staff to make it on a flight you should do it. I’ve been saved many times due to this gesture of kindness by another passrider. If you see something wrong happening, just make a note and send it to the Pass office after your flight. Or if you get a chance have a private normal conversation with the employee. Don’t confront the employee and create a scene.
  5. 5. Use a smartphone that is unlocked.Use a smartphone that is unlocked. I see a lot of questions being asked about how to communicate with family and friends when we travel abroad. Yes, you can use programs like WhatsApp, Viber, etc. but you need Wifi to make it work. If you are in an airport that does not have free Wifi, you are hosed. My best suggestion here is for you to get your local phone unlocked. For this contact your phone provider. Then when you arrive at your destination, get a local SIM card. Here are some popular choices:
    • Australia – Yes Optus
    • Germany – Blau.de
    • Ireland – 3
    • Jamaica – Digicel
    • Portugal – Vodafone
    • Spain – Vodafone
    • Thailand – AIS
    • United Kingdom – 3, T-Mobile UK
  6. 6. Know the policies of the airline you are flying including knowing the passriding policiesKnow the policies of the airline you are flying including knowing the passriding policies. This ties in with the first habit that was mentioned. Don’t ask for favors that are outside of the policy as it just puts the agent in an awkward position. If you are unsure of how something works, call the airline beforehand. Research checked and carry-on luggage, pet, listing, upgrade, dress code, etc. policies before you fly. Note that carry-on policies of U.S. and European airlines are sonsiderably different usually in the weight of your bags. So that carry=on you had on the flight to London, may have to be checked in on your flight to say Frankfurt and there may be a charge for it. Telling the agent you did not know is really no excuse. Remember you represent your airline when you fly.
  7. 7. Be knowledgeable about your destinationBe knowledgeable about your destination. You will save so much time if you take this small but important step. Here are some aspects to think about:
    • Car rental. Research your options carefully. If going internationally, check the coverage for your credit card and ensure you are covered. Otherwise, get the local coverage. Its such a great peace of mind.
    • Ground transportation. Use the airport’s website to figure out your options. Most airports have a train/bus into the city at reasonable rates. Check the schedule to ensure you can make early morning flights, otherwise make alternate arrangements. In some destinations you just have no choice but to take a taxi due to your flight tines.
    • Standby procedures of the airline. Goes back to the policy section. Some airlines have specific airport procedures. i.e. which terminal to check-in, where in the terminal to check-in, etc. Be familiar with it all.
    • Airport hotels. It’s good to know which hotels have shuttles and are nearby in case you get bumped. You can use the Passrider Hotels page in your research.
    • Distance from airport to city. It’s good to have an idea of where the airport is located in respect to the city. This will help you determine where to stay as well as is there an alternate airport to use.

So there you have it; 7 habits to fly by. Can you think of any other things you do that make your trip successful? Please leave a comment below. Also, if you know anyone who could use these 7 habits, feel free to share this article with them.


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Karlee June 16, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Love these tips. I already do/use quite a few but there is useful stuff in there. But please tell me, I’ve never been able to add miles to my non-rev listings. Is there a way to do this? And now DL and UA are basing the miles you earned on how much you paid for your ticket not the miles you fly! So that free ticket won’t get any miles I assume. 


avatar Kerwin McKenzie June 17, 2014 at 1:35 am

Hi Karlee,

You are welcome.
Well, you can’t get miles for your non-revenue listings since by definitions your flights does not generate any revenue for the airline in question.
I hope that answers your question.



avatar Cheryl Carpinello June 21, 2014 at 1:53 am

Thanks for posting the tips, Kerwin. Always good to review. Getting ready for a trip to Europe and Britain this Sept. Have to take a closer look at the phone options. Still a bit unclear for me.


avatar Kerwin McKenzie June 21, 2014 at 9:11 am

Hi Cheryl,

Thank you for your comment. Glad the information is useful.
Let me know if you have specific questions about the phones. It can be tricky :). I’m in the long process of writing a post in more detail specifically dedicated to the topic.

Thank you for your support.



avatar oliver June 21, 2014 at 6:00 am

why can I not get connecting info on pass rider like I use to, arrival & dept time at connecting point and terminal info?
would appreciate an answer !!!


avatar Kerwin McKenzie June 21, 2014 at 9:08 am

Hi Oliver,
Thank you for your comment.
The current application is broken on the flight details page as you’ve seen. We are working on a fix, but it’s taking much longer than anticipated. If you wish, you can sign up for our beta program at http://www.passrider.com/beta as we are about to start testing the new application.

In the meantime, you can go to http://mobile.passrider.com to see the older version.

Thank you for your support.


avatar Carol greenwood July 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm

When is United Airlines ever going paperless???


avatar Kerwin McKenzie July 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Hi Carol,
Thanks for your comment.
I can’t speak for United. But if you give them a call they may be able to assist.
I know the employee passes are already Eticketed.



avatar mike boden May 8, 2015 at 9:23 pm

If you have multiple segments, make sure that you check to see if you are still listed with the agent down line, sometimes your name gets lost in the shuffle. Nothing worse than watching a push back and find out you were not listed.


avatar Kerwin McKenzie May 9, 2015 at 12:35 am

Hi Mike,
That’s a good one too.

Thanks for this tip.



avatar Galen Donovan May 10, 2015 at 3:10 am

Unfortunately, none of these tips apply to the  “new” United or United Express…both are a lesson in disappointment when trying to non-rev


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