Man Who Bought Airline's Lifetime Pass Has Travelled 23 Million Miles And Saved $2.44 Million

By Abdul Rafay in Travel On 28th June 2023
Credit: Instagram/@ua1flyer

Even though the majority of individuals in this day and age have taken a flight, very few can legitimately claim to be seasoned travelers.

A man who claims to have flown over 23 million miles may have more bragging rights than most.

New Jersey native Tom Stuker describes himself as the "world's most frequent flyer."

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Credit: United

The 69-year-old spent $290,000 (£227,000) on a lifetime United Airlines pass in 1990, and he has been traveling ever since.


Passengers could fly first class on any of the airline's international flights with the help of the pass, which is no longer available.

Naturally, Stuker views it as his "best investment" ever.

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He flew 373 flights for a total of 1.46 million miles in 2019, becoming the first customer to log 20 million miles with United Airlines.

He stated that these trips would have cost him a whopping $2.44 million (£1.9m) without his pass.

In order to help others get the most out of their travels, he has recently shared some of his own advice.

Stuker asserted in a statement to The Washington Post that he always makes it appear as though he knows the first flight attendant he encounters on a plane.


Evidently, this individual will typically be the head attendant, ensuring you a better chance at receiving VIP treatment.

He explained: "I always say, 'I remember you! You gave us such great service last time. I wanted to thank you again.'"

If you can't reserve a specific seat and want to know where you'll be sitting, Stuker advises using the seat map app as soon as you board the plane.

He claims that if a reserved seat unexpectedly becomes available, the cabin crew "won't care" if you take it.

Stuker also mentioned one of his pet peeves on airplanes: people who answer their phones without wearing headphones.

When a fellow passenger answers an extended business call on speaker, Stuker responds with contempt: "Hey, next time you're going to have all of us to your business meeting, bring doughnuts."


No checking bags is Stuker's one and only rule when it comes to luggage.

Stuker only brings cabin baggage on flights because he thinks it saves time.

Although he clearly enjoys flying, he has also experienced some negative aspects of travel, specifically four heart attacks while in the air.

Stuker said: "I'd met a couple of them, too. Just died right in their seats. The last guy was up in business with me, Chicago to Narita (Tokyo).

"They covered him with a blanket and put the seat belt back on. What else could they do? I guarantee somebody in business was thinking, 'Hey if he's not gonna eat his chocolate sundae, would you mind…?'"

Stuker summarized his years of travel as follows: "At the end of the day, it's not about the places I go, it's about the people I meet."