October 6, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Seniors in US to 'travel cheap'  Working part time in tourism.

Seniors in US to ‘travel cheap’ Working part time in tourism.

writes that The New York Times, the couple talked about their original way of traveling on the cheap. Last month they flew from California to Amsterdam for less than €450 in business class, where they stayed at the Hilton for €50 a night.

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According to the US newspaper, more retired Americans are helping in the tourism industry, where there is a shortage of workers. Many of these gray-collar workers unashamedly admit that they didn’t work for the paycheck, but for the perks.

“I have a lot of friends in the airline industry and I’ve seen how much they can fly without paying a top prize,” says Maria. “When I was 58 years old, I applied for a job with United Airlines and, to my surprise, got a call back and was hired.”

At Ontario International Airport, not far from Los Angeles, Maria started a baggage claim. She works there about 15 hours a week. This is the minimum number of hours you must work continuously to receive benefits.

Maria and her loved ones fly free within the US and at greatly reduced international fares.

‘Like money doesn’t matter’

To complete the picture, her partner Joey (68) decided to apply as a receptionist at a nearby Hilton earlier this year. He works there three days a week and thus gets a discount at 6800 Hilton hotels around the world.

“I work Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Joey told The New York Times. “We plan to travel frequently Monday through Thursday, so money is no object.”

Both tell the newspaper that they are not rich. This new reality is that they can go to the airport whenever they want for free tickets to (almost) anywhere in the world, so it feels like a dream.

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Critical staff shortages

There is a severe shortage of workers in the travel industry. US officials said earlier this year that compared to February 2020, before the corona crisis, the US tourism industry now employs 8 percent fewer workers. Meanwhile, demand for hotel rooms and airline tickets is increasing rapidly.

Travel industry experts tell the New York Times that relatively large numbers of retirees and over-50s are applying for jobs. At least 65 percent of all applicants will belong to one of these groups. Employers also offer bonuses and fringe benefits to retain employees.