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“Nepo Baby” Boasts About His “First Class” Flight Perks On United Airlines

by Staff

I can’t decide if I simply love this story or have great sympathy that this young man’s days as a pass rider may soon come to a screeching halt. A self-professed “nepo baby” sharing about his flight benefits on United Airlines has gone viral on TikTok. And for good reason: having friends or family who work for an airline can be incredibly valuable for those who have the time to use the perks.

“Nepo Baby” Has Flown The World In Premium Cbains On United Airlines Due To Flight Pass

23-year-old Joshua Crawford flies around the world on United Airlines, often in Polaris Business Class, for a fraction of what you or I pay. Why? His father works for United…he’s an aircraft mechanic in Newark…and as a result, Crawford is the recipient of so-called “pass travel” or “flight benefits” that represent part of his father’s employment package. United employees, as well as their family and friends, can travel the world on a space-available basis, paying just a small fare plus government taxes.

Surprisingly, this is a benefit that few airline employees regularly use, but some employees use heavily…and that makes the generally lower wages of airline employees much more palatable.

Per the New York Post, Crawford has flown 120 flights spanning 260,000 miles in the last five years, mostly in the front cabin. For that, he calls himself a “nepo baby” (a term generally referring to celebrities whose parents have succeeded in the same careers).

“Essentially I fly ‘standby’ which is where you wait until the last minute to get a seat on the plane so if there’s any open seats you get put on the flight. Sometimes it can be a bit hit and miss, but I can check the seats beforehand so usually I won’t list on busy flights.”

But don’t believe everything in the Post story. For example, leisure pass riders do not trump revenue passengers for upgrades. Ever.

He’s also managed to save whopping six figures on first-class upgrades, which he receives ahead of other passengers due to his “high priority” status.

No. That is not quite correct, though not technically wrong. I think most would read this as saying that he gets upgrades ahead of paying passengers. That is not correct. However, due to his father’s seniority, he often finds himself ahead of many pass riders (other employees) when waiting for those “leftover” premium cabin seats.

I can’t imagine United is happy about any specific information put out there in public about his pass travel program, though.

Pass Travel In The Age Of Social Media

United’s pass travel guidelines, which I have seen before, are deliberately vague but state that pass travel is not permitted when “traveling for business or personal gain.” Where the line is drawn, though, in an internet age is a difficult one.

On the one hand, this young man is a great cheerleader for United and he strikes me as the sort of av geek that I would enjoy hanging out with. He also does a great job of selling the United Airlines product. I would not necessarily fault him for the misinformation in the New York Post story on upgrade priority.

But what if this young man develops a TikTok following (before it is banned…) that he can monetize based specifically on his pass travel? That is ultimately United’s concern, not mine, but I find it interesting that there are so many “influencers” who are pass riders (just search on YouTube for airline employees with video channels on pass riding). I guess by the “letter of the law” United could be quite strict. Personally, though, I think TikTok channels like Crawford’s actually do a great job of promoting the airline and should be embraced when done tastefully.


You’ve heard of white privilege. How about flight privilege?

I love the video above and commend Crawford for taking advantage of his flight benefits on United. What a great opportunity! “Nepo baby” may be a bit too self-deprecating, but it makes me wish my wife was a Lufthansa flight attendant instead of a nurse sometimes! Maybe we’ll send Augustine to work at United one day!

image: TikTok

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