Flying for free is a dream for most people, but for some lucky folks, it’s a reality. We’ve all heard those stories of people playing the game: opening and cancelling credit card accounts, scouring the Internet for tech glitches, earning miles without spending money… But for those of us who aren’t card-counting geniuses, finding all those crazy flight loopholes can be a huge drag on our time and energy. So if you’d rather rely on your luck, charm or athletic prowess to snag some free flights, read on for our top tips for flying free!

Become an Olympic Medalist in Southeast Asia

AirAsia, in a show of Olympic pride, offered all gold medalists from Southeast Asian regions free flights for life, while silver medal winners get five free years of flying and bronze medalists can fly free for two years. Though with all the cash Olympians spend on training over the course of at least ten years, maybe we would be better off spending that sum on travel in the first place.

What you can actually do: Become an Airline Employee

If you’re employed by an airline, you and your family can usually fly free on standby (not to mention all the flying you get on the job). For people serious about traveling for free, putting up with cranky passengers and waiting on standby in packed airports might be your best bet to making it onboard scot-free.

Try to Be Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can

We all loved Leo’s turn as the con-man playboy in the Spielberg-directed dramedy Catch Me if You Can. He used his charms and wits to get himself not just countless free flights, but a whole bank account full of cash, a stewardess for each arm and the dedicated interest of Tom Hanks (forget about free flights, how can we get that last one to happen?).

What you can actually do: Offer to Stay Behind on Overbooked Flights (Ka-Ching!)

If your moral compass is uneasy with scamming innocent people out of millions of dollars, do the next best thing for a free seat and offer to stay behind on airlines’ oft-overbooked flights. Sit by the gate and be the first person to volunteer to stay behind, you’ll usually be compensated with a free hotel stay, an upgraded seat on another flight and a voucher for future purchases.

Start Counting Cards (Or, Reading Those Terms & Conditions)

If you can manage it, try to turn into an airline-loophole savant and find those deals that make others jealous. Like Steven Rothstein and Jacques Vroom, who bought airline passes for $250,000 in the 1980s that gave them unlimited air travel. By the mid-2000s, the two had racked up so many miles, the airline actually made moves to revoke their passes because they were costing the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. So whether it’s a free flight around the world, entry into airport lounges without a fee or finding strange layovers that shave hundreds of dollars off of your pricetag, reading through the terms and conditions for credit cards and airlines to find sweet deals may take up a lot more time than you’re willing to give. But it’s worth it, right?

What you can actually do: Take Advantage of Wacky Airline Deals

While we enjoy pretending like we can spend hours jumping through hoops to get a free business class seat, it’s way easier and still pretty effective to do a quick Google search for publicly available discounts and codes to use for different airlines. It could be a huge miles bonus for signing up for a credit card or an unbelievable deal on one way flights — whatever it is, we’ll take it.

Get on a JetBlue Flight and Cross Your Fingers

If you’ve been on Facebook in the past year, you’ll have noticed that JetBlue has been upping its PR game. From handing out free flights every time a baby on board cried, if all of the passengers agreed on one vacation destination or launching their “flying it forward” campaign where fliers pass on free flights to unsuspecting strangers, JetBlue has made itself a social media darling by handing out free flights every couple of months. How can you join the fun? Board the plane and cross your fingers.

What you can actually do: Bat Your Eyelashes and Ask for a First Class Seat

Science has proven that if you’re nice, ask early enough and are taking a relatively open flight, simply asking flight attendants for a bump up to first class can work. It takes just as much luck as crossing your fingers on a JetBlue flight — but it’s valid at every airline. Score!

Do you have any great ways to save a buck on flights? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments!

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One Response

  1. Darline

    Do people really received free airlines ticket, I don’t think I’m that lucky.

    Reply

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About The Author

Mary Zakheim
Content Writer

When she is not figuring out what the middle button on her headphones is for, explaining the difference between Washington State and Washington D.C., arriving to the airport too early or refusing to use the Oxford comma, you can usually find Mary in the mountains, at a show or on her couch. Mary is a content writer at Fareportal and likes annoying her coworkers with weird GIFs throughout the day.