LIFT Guest Blog: Jessica Ortega

My biggest drive to start my career in aviation was for the glamour of traveling the world with the travel privileges airline employees have. As soon as I started at Republic Airways and could start using my travel privileges on American, Delta and United Airlines, I intended to use them to their fullest potential. I set a goal to complete at least one leisure trip to a new destination each month.

My first trip was during training. One of my scheduled breaks between systems training and flight simulators was to England for a friend’s wedding. I was able to non-rev (non-revenue or standby) there and back to St. Louis, Missouri, in time to have a few days to study then hit the full-motion flight simulators.

I have countless stories of finishing up a work trip just in time to catch a flight for another epic adventure. My laundry list of the monthly trips includes Portugal to visit family friends, Mexico for music festivals, Colorado for hiking, Montana for snowmobiling, Madrid and Florence to meet up with my family (who also used my travel privileges to get there!), Charleston, S.C., Dubai, Lebanon, Anguilla, Cyprus, New Orleans, Catalina Island and many others. That list doesn’t include amazing overnights on my work trips in Portland, Maine, Nashville, Raleigh and other destinations I would have never discovered if it weren’t for working at Republic Airways.

Since then, it’s been over two years at this company, and I have been lucky to not have missed any Thanksgiving or New Years with friends and family, and I have made it to just about everywhere I’ve wanted to get to. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to travel the world in this unique way of flying standby thanks to a lot of luck, knowledge of how bidding and scheduling works, being based out of a junior base (LGA), and lots of prayers to the non-rev god: Saint Standby.

I love aviation for many reasons besides travel, but it certainly is my favorite perk. I have kept up with that resolution of visiting a new destination every month for the majority of the two years here at Republic, and it has created amazing memories. Whenever I meet new people, I make sure to warn them: be careful inviting me to places because I’ll actually show up!