What are some good ideas to boost my income using my free travel benefits?
October 20, 2010 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I've just accepted a desk job with a large airline. What are some good ideas to boost my income using my free travel benefits?


I've just accepted a job at a large local airline. They have a major hub located in my city also. I'm a recent MBA grad. Most of my experience is within high-level customer service positions, most recently at a financial services firm.

My strengths:
Overseas experience
Advanced computer skills (not extending to programming)
Dealing with High Net Worth Clients
Problem solving

I'm looking to diversify my income streams, and also suppliment my relatively low income (although normal for the industry) for the Senior Analyst position I'm taking. Being that I have basically free travel domestically and heavily discounted international travel, what are some fields, or side jobs that I can pursue to get my slice of geo-arbitrage pie?

Thank you in advance!
posted by hussmanne to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Drug mule!

OK maybe not. How about bringing in (legally obtained) high-end objets d'art for design firms/boutiques? I know shipping can kill them especially on more fragile pieces.
posted by cyndigo at 2:11 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

International process server?
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:12 PM on October 20, 2010

Could try being a courier, but the pay sucks (or so I'm told).
posted by aramaic at 2:13 PM on October 20, 2010

Well, one piece of advice, absolutely do not attempt to profit from selling your friends and family pass as hometown rollergirl, Sadistic Sadie was convicted of profiting from the sales of her discounted tickets as well as creating fake tickets to issue refunds.
posted by banannafish at 2:20 PM on October 20, 2010

First make sure that this airline doesn't prohibit employee pass travel "for profit". It's pretty common to restrict free travel to personal/leisure trips only, so if they have this policy you'll have to be pretty discreet about whatever it is you do for extra income.
posted by Quietgal at 2:27 PM on October 20, 2010

I don't really see any way that you travelling around the country (whilst not being paid to do your actual job) can magically turn into a profitable enterprise. If there were ways and means of making cash out of this, your employer would probably prohibit it.
posted by Biru at 2:27 PM on October 20, 2010

Response by poster: Side job. Thank you.
posted by hussmanne at 2:35 PM on October 20, 2010

What are your hours? What is your flexibility in travel? How much notice do you need to give?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:37 PM on October 20, 2010

I have a number of friends who also work for a major airline. My understanding is that while you have the opportunity to travel cheaply, it will be difficult to guarantee any sort of reliability. You are last in line on any flight, and never guaranteed a seat.

That isn't to say that you can't make it work. But one girl had to fly to three different cities because a direct flight wasn't possible. And when I used their friends and family passes, I would always buy a flight home on Southwest because otherwise I'd risk missing work because I'm stuck in some exotic city.

Get a feel for the reality of the job before you start trying to exploit your benefits.
posted by politikitty at 3:10 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

My family and friends at two different US-based airlines are the same as politikitty's. Having seniority (in one case nearly 2 decades) helps, because non-revs are at the back of the line so to speak. I'd advise for now using your privileges to find interesting and new to you places and see what inspiration comes.
posted by pointystick at 6:12 PM on October 20, 2010

Arbitrage Apple: fly to europe or australia with suitcases full of apple gear ad sell it locally for a 10-15% markup; it will still be 10% to 15% cheaper than local stores. A an added bonus, you can fit LOTS of ipads and MB airs in a suitcase.
posted by 3mendo at 10:54 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: My hours would be Mon-Fri 8am-5pm. I have negotiated about 4 weeks off. Notice is variable, based on business needs for the projects I'll be working on.
posted by hussmanne at 8:29 AM on October 21, 2010

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