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I want to say that we all have that annoying friend who’s able to jet set for the staggering price of FREE, but the truth is, we don’t. Some people don’t even realize that there’s an elite, illuminati-esque group of humans who are able to fly to a crazy number of destinations for free. Okay, I may be making it sound way more intense than it is, but no matter how cheap my flights are, none of them were free .99. Having said that, I do have one super dope friend who has been able to fly around the world for free, and I had questions. I figured if I have these questions then others must have them too. So why not clear the air for all of us? I also assumed that it can’t possibly be as luxurious as it sounds. There has to be a catch, right? Well, here’s what happened when I interviewed the founder of The Noni Project, Ayannah Johnson:
1. How long have you been able to fly for free?
I’ve been flying free for about 7 years.
2. How exactly are you able to get free flights?
My mom is employed by United Airlines.
3. Is this a “for life” opportunity?
No, I phase out at 26 years old in about 2 months. (*insert my evil grin here)
4. How many places have you travelled for free? Where were they?
A lot, Ive done so many states. I have probably been to about 30 of the 50 states. Most of them were free. Ive been to 5 countries in Europe; Czech Republic, Holland, Germany, Spain, and the UK.
5. Has flying for free (I assume it’s on stand-by) become more or less difficult as you’ve gotten older? How so?
It’s more difficult as I have gotten older because standing by is a risky game. You have to make sure that your flight has seats, and sometimes you don’t know until the day of. Things change really fast. One day you have 20 seats available and the next the flight is in the negative, which means that it was oversold. As an adult my schedule isn’t as free, I have work and school obligations so getting stuck in another country for a few days isn’t as fun as it was when I had less responsibilities.
6. Do you think you’ve taken advantage of this particular perk, or if you could do it all over again, would you work the system better?
I think that I have taken advantage of it tremendously. I have been able to see and do a lot of really cool things and places. I have been able to take one day or weekend trips because I had the privilege.
7. What are some pros and cons?
9. Lastly, is flying for free as luxurious as it sounds, or does it sound more appealing than it really is?
No, it really is appealing. You just have to get it down to a science, which I think I have. I know a 6am flight on a Monday morning might have more open seats, because people usually miss their early flights. Once you learn the strategies, it’s exhilarating.
I’ve loved this photo of Ayannah in Paris since before this interview was a thought, so it’s funny that it’s the one she chose to accompany the interview. This is one of the many places she’s flown for, you guessed it, free. Even though the evil side of me is happy she only has a couple more months of traipsing the globe for free (at least due to the fact that she’s a child of a United employee), I wish everyone could experience an opportunity like this. People have every excuse in the book for why they may not travel, one of which led to me adding Budgets to my services offered to my readers, and many people who can have these experiences don’t take advantage of them. I can’t list how many people who are in the same situation as Ayannah but don’t utilize this resource. Even if you can’t fly for free, I am living proof that it’s pretty damn cheap. Let 2016 be the beginning to your journey of an excuse-less life. No one is holding you back but you.
Happy & Safe Travels