All the chatter about airline employee dress codes, and denying those employees boarding if they’re not dressed properly, went into the stratosphere yesterday. And this was all because they weren’t dressed properly. Besides determining whether or not you’ll get on the flight, I’m here to tell you dressing properly when non-revving definitely has its advantages.
During one of my NRSA (non-revenue space available) adventures I found myself having to get from Honolulu back to the Mainland. My airlines’ flights were booked full and as a last resort I purchased a ZED fare, or as we referred to them back then, an ID90. ZED (zonal employee discount) fares allow OAL (other airline) employees to purchase reduced rate (standby) tickets on airlines that have ticketing agreements between them. As a side note, airlines and airline people love acronyms (NRSA, ZED, OAL, etc).
The ZED fare I purchased happened to be on TWA and unbeknownst to me it was on a 747. After purchasing the ticket I dashed over to the TWA ticket counter and checked in. The agent warned me that the flight was full and that chances of getting on were slim. After going through security I approached the boarding gate. The scene at the gate was frantic. Passengers were boarding and getting checked in. Towards the end of boarding the agent had the non-revs line up and she walked us down the jetway. The FAs were doing an “open seat” count to determine if any of us would get on. At the door of the airplane one of the gate agents, who had gone onboard, had been having a discussion with one of the FAs about some non-revs who were not dressed properly for the flight. The agent then went to those non-revs and told them that because of the dress code they would not be able to fly on the flight. The next two persons in line, me and another FA from my airline, were shown the spiral staircase and instructed to sit in the upper deck. YES! The flight was lovely, the crew was lovely, and my avgeek heart was filled with joy. This was to be my first flight on a 747, in the upper deck, enjoying a nice meal, wine, and a memory of a lifetime.
It pays to be properly dressed.