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Man who saved $2.44m buying lifetime United Airlines pass reveals insider flyer secrets

He claims to have flown flown 23 million miles
  • One man has flown 23 million miles since buying a lifetime United Airlines pass in 1990
  • The $290,000 pass has saved him $2.44 million since then
  • The all-black, titanium frequent-flyer card enables holders to travel first-class whenever they want on any of the carrier’s flights worldwide

Published on Apr 25, 2024 at 7:27PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 26, 2024 at 12:58PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood
Man who saved $2.44m buying lifetime United Airlines pass reveals insider flyer secrets

A 69-year-old man has flown 23 million miles since buying a lifetime United Airlines pass in 1990 – and he has plenty of secrets to help airline flyers get the most out of their trip.

He saved $2.44 million since buying the $290,000, which sadly no longer exists.

The United Airlines pass enabled holders to travel first-class whenever they wanted on any of the carrier’s flights worldwide.

READ MORE! The evolution of private jet design and interiors – from practical to practically a palace

All this via an all-black, titanium frequent-flyer card.

Makes you wonder if he was aboard this United Airlines 747 low-flying over San Francisco.

Holding the title of the world’s most frequent flyer, he’s remained faithful to his favorite seat: 1B.  

The frequent flyer, a semi-retired co-founder of Automotive Training Network, a successful international car sales consultancy with outlets in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia, claims it was the ‘best investment of my life’.

Upon hitting the 10-million mark in 2011, United Airlines named a 747 after him.

United Airlines is an American airline headquartered at the Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois, US.

United operates an extensive domestic and international route network across the United States and all six inhabited continents.

Far less is known about America’s most secret airline, Area 51’s ‘Janet’.

In 2019, when he hopped on 373 flights that totaled 1.46 million miles, a mid-air champagne toast and a welcome reception in Los Angeles saw him become the first passenger to fly 20 million miles with the airline.

He certainly knows a lot about spending time at altitude.  

In an interview with The Washington Post, he says he always pretends to know the first flight attendant as he boards.

The idea is that attendants will stand in rank order and the head attendant holds the keys to the best treatment and freebies on board.

“I always say, ‘I remember you! You gave us such great service last time. I wanted to thank you again,'” he explains.

If 1B weren’t free, Stucker always checks the seat map app as you board. 

He says that, if it’s suddenly freed up, cabin crew ‘won’t care’ if you nab it at the eleventh hour.

And, instead of checking a bag and waiting at the carousel, he relies on ‘laundromats… and stores’.

And when it comes to problematic fellow passengers taking calls he has a favorite retort.

“Hey, next time you’re going to have all of us to your business meeting, bring doughnuts,” he says.

As for his own social-media use he does post on Instagram at @ua1flyer.

As you’d expect, a lot of his content concerns his airline experience, including opting for ‘lobster mac-n-cheese’ if you get the chance.

He also rates the cocktails at the United Polaris Lounges, which are available to premium cabin travelers.

Lavender Lift, Mai Tai, and aptly enough, Paper Airplane, are his tipples of choice.’

Now a member of the secretive Global Services club, which travelers are invited to join once they have notched up four million flying miles, there are perks aplenty.

He has his own check-in station, with a back door to the front of the security queue and someone to carry his bags if he requires.

He has access to VIP airport lounges, providing free fine dining, spa treatments, and sleeping quarters before they’ve even boarded.

He has a special phone number to contact the airline if anything goes wrong, and a luxury, chauffeured car so he never misses a flight.

His main motivation for the jet-setting lifestyle with his wife, Darlene, by his side: “At the end of the day, it’s not about the places I go, it’s about the people I meet.”

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