Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

Tipping Correctly and Frugally

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

So after nonreving to that great destination or cruise, It seems like everywhere you go someone has their hand out looking for a tip. The question is how much will make them feel that they want to help you when you come back without spending all the money you saved. A while back we told you about what each country’s tipping philosophy  is, now we are going to break that down further for each service you may use. It is in dollars so you may have to convert the currency which we have on each individual Nonrev Pages.


Taxi 15% – This one shocked me. All these years I thought it was 20. Here is another tip to make sure they take the quickest route. Have a map out and ask questions. This will make them think you know where they are going and they won’t do anything to lose a tip.

Limo 20% – since you don’t pay them by the mile, the tip is dependent on the other services like how safely he drives and how prompt and polite. It also depends of any extra things he brings for you.

Bellhop/porter 1-2$ 2 for the heavy bags. This of course depends on the currency of the country. Those with a weaker one may expect your currency over theirs. Stay away from giving change in a foreign country. It is much harder for them to convert or for them to use.

Doorman 1$ for hailing a cab. If he just opens the door, a thank-you will do. If it is more than that, like holding an umbrella, getting a cart for your bags, or helping with bags, a tip is good manners.

Parking Valet – 2$ This tip is only paid on the return of your car, in good condition. If special care is required like with premium spot or if it is very expensive, 5-10$ for both dropping off and picking up.

Room service – The first thing to do is look for service charge. If there is already a charge, then you are not obligated. If there is some kind of set up or special handling you can’t do, then tip 15-20%.

Housekeeper – For extra soaps or folding towels into swans like on cruise, anything above and beyond, 1-2$. It is very important to put the gratuity in envelope clearly marked and sealed so there is no confusion.

Concierge – There is no tip for ordinary advice like directions or simple reservations. If they get a special reservation, then it is 5$. If it for hard to get tickets, it is 20$.

Pool attendant – No tip is needed unless extra service like reserving lounge chairs, lending reading material, inflating pool toys, or providing sunscreen. Then it is customary to tip 2-3$.

Tour guide – First check and see if a tip not included. If it is not, then a gratuity of 10 to 20% is customary. If it is an  all day tour $3 to 4$. If you are lucky enough to have a private tour, more is expected.

The other thing about tips is if you currency is stronger than theirs, it is fine to use you money. Just don’t give it to them in coins less then base currency. Giving 4 quarters in Haiti is useless because they have a problem exchanging it. A Dollar or Pound or Euro is accepted universally.

Advisory from the United States Department of State

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

This is directly from the Department of State. Although this applies directly to Hungary, several Eastern European countries have these issues too.

There are several clubs and restaurants in Budapest about which the U.S. Embassy has received numerous complaints from U.S. Citizens for engaging in unethical business practices. Victims have reports with the Embassy describing the following practices: excessive billing of customers, physical intimidation to force customers to pay exorbitant bills (including holding a member of a party while others in the group pay the bill at ATMs, 24-hour cash facilities), and assault by club/restaurant employees for non-payment of excessive bills. There have been incidents, albeit rare, where U.S> citizens unknowingly have been drugged.

Further, do not let seemingly helpful taxi drivers or local women lure you to an establishment they recommend – they may receive a commission for bringing victims to the club/restaurant. It is also advised that you not patronize clubs/ restaurants that do not list prices or provide a menu with prices. Always verify the cost prior to purchase. Be aware that a menu switch may occur at the time of a billing complaint/dispute, for you may be handed a menu that lists higher prices and other hidden charges.

This list is not all-encompassing, so please use common sense and take note when/where one or more local women approach U.S. Citizens in the guise of friendship. Please note that most of these places are located in the Budapest’s fifth district, on/near the main tourist street, the Vaci utca.

Varoskozpont (accessible by an outside elevator)
Galaxia etterem, bar
La Dolce Vita
Nirvana Night Club
Ti’Amo Bar
Diamond Club
Pigalle Night Club

Join our NonRev Newsletter to get more information like this

Starbucks – Free Pound of Coffee

Friday, March 9th, 2012

While in Athens looking for free things to do, I went to Starbucks to get a Card to use in Europe. I found out that using a Starbucks Card with Dollars on it is depleted very quickly in the EU due to conversions. When I was picking one up, I found out that if you put Euros on a Greek Starbucks card in Greece, using the card in Greece gives a 10% discount. But, like those famous words, “That’s not all you get!” Put 25 Euros on the card and you get a free pound of coffee. So I got a card, a cup, AND a pound of coffee for 90% of the price of a coffee.Great deal! See more deals like this at .

New Tool: Nonrev Commuting App

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

  Nonrev Website Commuter App

With the difficulty of summer commuting fast approaching, I have been asked to find a web app to help make the struggle home easier. I could not find one with all airlines and all hotels, so I created one. Now when you are at the gate and they cancel your flight to work or to your vacation, all you have to do is pick up your smart phone and go to Nonrev Commuter App  . This web app has three tools to help you.

First is the “All The World Timetable” which has links to every airline in the world with phone numbers in case you need to try to list for a flight. It also has links to US Airports that allow you to view which airlines are on time or cancelled. Finally, it has some train timetables too if the airport is shut down.

Next is the rental car tool. Several Nonrevs I work with in New York are pitching in and renting a car to get home. This has happened so many times that it is becoming a viable alternative to a non-rev flight. Here I give directions on how to get a car without paying too much.

Finally, there is a Hotel Tool to get a room when all your other nonrev travel options have disappeared. This has a search function and instructions to not pay any more than you have to.

Now if there is bad weather or the flight fills up unexpectedly, you will have a tool to help you right on your phone. Remember, the sooner you go to the tool when trouble rears its ugly head, the less numbers in case you need to try to list for a flight. It also has links to US Airports that allow you to view which airlines are on time or cancelled. Finally, it has some train timetables too if the airport is shut down.

Next is the rental car tool. Several Nonrevs I work with in New York are pitching in and renting a car to get home. This has happened so many times that it is becoming a viable alternative to a non-rev flight. Here I give directions on how to get a car without paying too much.

Finally, there is a Hotel Tool to get a room when all your other nonrev travel options have disappeared. This has a search function and instructions to not pay any more than you have to.

Now if there is bad weather or the flight fills up unexpectedly, you will have a tool to help you right on your phone. Remember, the sooner you go to the tool when trouble rears its ugly head, the less of a chance you will have to use the last function of the Web App.

For those of you with phone Scanners, use the bar code below.

Rotation Reroute, Nonrev Negator

Monday, March 14th, 2011

I was just flew to a city where another crew from my airline was laying over. It seems they got a reroute that turned there one day layover into a three day layover. What happened was their flight, which started in the middle of the United States, had low loads for the two days after they took off. The flight from the coast to the same city also had low loads for the next two days. Operations rerouted the passengers that would have departed from the middle of the US to the coast which didn’t affect the passengers much, but hurt the nonrev passengers many ways and here is how.

The most obvious way this effected the Nonrevs who looked at leaving on the cancelled flight for their vacation had there disrupted. They had to scramble for another way to get to their destination. But who else that was effected where the commuters to the coast. Over 200 seats we use to get to work disappeared overnight. Those seats that the nonrev expected to be open, and were verified open on the company site, were not available.

The solution is too be ready the night before by finding all the flights to work. This can be accomplished by going to the NonRev Timetable . And don’t forget to bookmark this site on your phone Then just before you go to work, check your company site. Once you get to work, go right to the gate and see if there are any problems. DON’T WAIT AROUND. If there is, go to the NonRev Timetable you put on your phone.

Like to Travel? Win $25

Monday, February 21st, 2011

It’s time for our annual Customer Appreciation Contest. As a thank you for your support of NonRev Website, we created a contest where the odds are in your favor. From now until March 31st, you can win a $25 Starbucks Card. All you have to do is tell all your friends about the NonRev Website Newsletter.

When your friends sign up, they will automatically be registered in our raffle to win a $25 Starbucks Card. The card can be used anywhere in the world Starbucks is selling Coffee. It can even be given to someone else as a gift!

But here is how you have a chance to win your own $25 Starbucks Card. If you tell another person about our newsletter contest and that person informs us that you were the one who told them, you could win your own $25 Starbucks card. The more people who say you told them about our contest, the more times you are registered, the greater the chances YOU could win! You can even tell your spouse and children, and your family could win both cards! Just forward this email to all you know and at the top of the email tell them to make sure they put your name in the box “Please Tell Us How You Found Out About Us.”

Use the following link to register

Why You Can’t NonRev in September

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I just rode in on Jet Blue and received some bad information for NonRevs. Jet Blue’s All You Can Jet Pass promotion is sold out. That means between September 6th and October 6th the planes will be more than full. I was lucky enough to meet the Senior Analyst for Network Planning and he gave me some great insight on how to NonRev in this difficult period.

With the kids going back to school,  September is known to be a great time to non-rev because the loads are low. This is why JetBlue does this promotion now. That means the demographics of people flying will be those without kids. Without those kids, there won’t be child weights on the numbers and more planes at JetBlue having weight and balance issues. So that empty seat may not be available. Make sure you ask when you sign if it will matter and plan you options accordingly.

According to last years numbers, the worst days to travel is Fridays and Sundays. The don’t have hard numbers for this year because the promotional passes can be booked up to 3 days prior to a flight. And don’t worry about the people booking a seat and not showing up because JetBlue has as ingenious solution, charge them $100 or more if they don’t show up!

The worst city pair was between Chicago and New York. The interesting thing is this is one of the shortest legs they have. It also shows how underserved this market really is. Hey Airlines! This is a hint! More seats between New York and Chicago! And guess what the busiest airport will be? JFK, their hub.

The best solutions to this problem in NonReving to New York I have written in a post “Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Non-Rev to New York.” I have the 5 top problems but more importantly the solution and the ways to avoid the problem. But the best solution to bring chocolate, lots of chocolate. Gate Agents love that stuff. I think it has something to do with their stress level.

Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Non-Rev to New York

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The double edge sword of your airline being successful this summer is the loads will be maxed out for the next several months. Everyone wants to travel this summer but the airlines cannot get the capacity on line fast enough. What that means for you is tougher commutes. So don’t fall into these 5 traps. And if you do, I have given you several ways to get out.

1) You didn’t check the loads – This summer things are very dynamic. Weather, cancellations, cargo, even volcanic ash will effect right up to the last minute. Even if your flight looks wide open, be ready for it to be cancelled or the flight before it being cancelled and being bumped off the flight you are non-reving on.

2) You didn’t check flight to see if it canceled. Cancellations are big issues these days and sometimes the Airline is late getting the information to the passengers through their websites. Going right to the Airport website to check flights are much more accurate. Go to .

3) You didn’t have a backup airline – Other airlines might give you an opportunity to get to the city your trip starts from. Always have an idea of other airlines you could use. If you need a timetable with all the airlines on them try 

4) You didn’t have a backup airport – Just like a backup flight, you need a backup airport. New York has three to choose from. If a runway closes at JFK, go to LaGuardia. If the seats are filling up in LaGuardia, go to Newark. To see what the loads are for a city, go to and use quicktrip for every city around the area. It even displays low fare carriors.

5) You didn’t know how to go from the Backup Airport to your flight. You made it to the city, now how do you get to your airport. There are lots of ways. To see your options, go to

6) Bonus Go early to a hotel room. Goto to see all the hotels at JFK, LGA and EWR.

This Summer will be very difficult to non-rev. Those interline discounts for travel are going to be almost impossible to use. So much for our free travel benefits we were promised when we were hired. Those deals are long gone. But there are ways to go to those attractions positive space to almost any area in the world. Go to our article at to see how.

And if you are commuting to New York this summer, watch this blog. Several of us are commuting there and we will be writing what we find. Remember, if you have run out of options, go to our New York page to get ideas. If you need help anywhere else in the world go to Just one more thing, try to watch for non-revs and help them when you can. Trust me, they WILL remember you, and it will be when you need there help the most.

Non-Rev Tip Guide

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

There is always confusion on my trips what we should tip. Those I fly with are perplexed that tipping more may mean worse service. They get angry whe they get the “ugly American” lable for trying to show there appreciation. My thought is, if I spend less money and everyone is happy, what’s the problem. So for those who want to save money on tipping overseas, here is the standard which is verified by Travel and Liesure Magazine.

United States and Canada – 15 to 20%, but more for great service especially if you are a regular and want to be treated like a king.
Restaurants – at least 15%, 17%-20% is the norm.
Bars – 10-15% or $1 for a beer, $2 for a cocktail

Central and South America – Service is different. In the US speed is wanted, in Latin America not being disturbed is cherished. If you keep snapping your fingers yelling garcon, well lets just say the service will go down from there.
Restaurants – Check for a service charge. If none, give 10-15%.
Bars – 10% at bars that serve food, none and bars that only servedrinks.

Mexico and the Caribbean – Tip like in the US but expect service like South America.
Restaurants – 15-20% but watch for the service fee.
Bars – 10-15% or $1 for a beer, $2 for a cocktail.

Europe – Wait staff are paid full salaries so rounding up to 5% is accepted. But watch out for the 10% service fee. In eastern Europe, tip in cash if possible.
Restaurants – 5-10% AT YOUR DESCRETION. Check for service fee.
Bars – round up to the next Euro if service is good.

Asia – It’s something new to them. Japan does not expect it and they like for you to pay at the register.
Restaurants -10% charge is already added, round up for great service.
Bars – Not really done.

Africa and the Middle East – Not realy accepted and privacy is considered better service than hanging on the customer.
Restaurants – Check for that service fee, 10% is good enough.
Bars – 10%

To see individual countries, check out the country pages at . And please don’t make us look bad by tipping to much 😉

When not to Non-Rev

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I was just in Italy talking to the crew that brought my flight in. The Captain of the inbound flight tried to have his wife Non-Rev with him because the flight was wide open. They even check the flight the day before. The day of the flight, the flight was oversold. The captain asked the gate agent what happen to the loads. She said the airlines have a new airline policy on selling tickets which basically negates all our pass privileges.

When a flight has open seats a day or two before a flight to Europe, the DEEPLY discount them to fill up the seat. The prices are so low, they can’t afford to pay the commission on other web pages so you have to go directly to the airline’s website. How low are the prices? He was told $600 round trip to Italy. But it gets worse.

The person who paid $600 for his ticketed volunteered to give up his seat because the flight was oversold. He received a $200 voucher, accommodations for the night, and positive space, wait for it…, in First Class. Let me beat this dead horse. This person paid $400 round trip to Italy…in First Class. Just throw out those buddy passes now.

So if you are planning to non-rev this summer to Europe, think again. But there is a solution. Go to … to find out.

The Solution to this summer’s Non-Rev Crisis

The  beauty of this is we can use it to our advantage. If you would like to non-rev somewhere and see the flight you want is wide open, watch it like a hawk. If it stays open, the day or two before go to the airline’s public website and check out the prices. If they are rock bottom, buy them.

This next part depends on your flexibility. When you go to airport to catch your flight, talk to the gate agent, show them your badge and see if they are buying people off. And be very nice about it. If they are, tell them you would like to be on the list. If not, you may get the upgrade if there is room and you are nice. My secret is chocolate, works every time.