Article about real life George Clooney

Check out this ABC News Travel article about Tom Stuker, essentially a real life Ryan Bingham times two. He has flown over eight million butt in seat miles on United and has flown 700,000 butt in seat miles this year alone. I’d be willing to bet almost anything that he’s the world’s most frequent flier.

What makes this article especially interesting is that it basically compares Global Services to the treatment Ryan Bingham receives. Mr. Stuker provides many examples, although it’s clear that most of the incredible treatment he receives is due to him being United’s most frequent flier as opposed to being a Global Services member. Nonetheless a truly fascinating read.

Some of my favorite quotes:

Stuker flies so much that this summer he had 23 consecutive meals on planes.

At the United Los Angeles first class lounge, “I am treated like a king,” Stuker said. He walks in the door and his favorite drink — a Bacardi and Diet Coke — is waiting. When he leaves, the staff hands him a personally packed doggie bag of his favorite snack for the next flight: chips and guacamole.

“If I was in coach, I would shoot myself”

Comments

  1. Is someone supposed to envy the life of this poor guy? I doubt that he can be productive for his company (oh, an auto industry executive — that speaks for itself…), and worst of all, he probably never has enough time on the ground to actually get to know the places he is visiting…what is the point of living in an airplane? Don’t take me wrong, I like flying, but in the end it shall just be the mean to achieve something larger (getting to know other places, other cultures etc)! And besides, the top top executives, the ones to really envy, have BBJs and Global Expresses at their service anytime…these are just regular workers wasting their company’s money, probably to their own benefit and because they can’t stand staying at home for some reason…

  2. Actually…auto sales consultant.

    To be honest, the 700k isn’t a truly impressive number. I know someone that fly from the east coast to the west every day and then back the next x 5 days a week. So, estimated 2500 miles x 5 days a week x 4 weeks a month x 12 months is 600,000 bis miles. There are days he doesn’t fly, and there are international flights that more than make up for it mileage wise. His day is about 9-10 hours long, so he has about 14 hours down every day. Downside is he can’t gain nor use FF miles, so he doesn’t even have a FF number!

    His days are no different than mine…except I’m usually at a desk and do my MR at night so I can land at 0630, shower, and be at work by 8! I think Stuker has plenty of time to get to know the area he is in, so I’m not as negative. Not the life I would want, but I would gladly bump my 150,000 bis a year to 200,000 if I could!!!

  3. Two things that bother me here.
    He drinks a Diet Coke and Bacardi as his favorite drink. Now the only Cuba Libre that works is a Coke with Rum (not the diet kind) and absolute worst rum to drink that Cuba Libre with (in my opinion) is Bacardi. Eeeek!

  4. Quote: “During his frequent trips to Australia, Stuker pays for a first-class seat.”

    I assume they mean his company pays? And I wonder why biz class is not sufficient; I mean, wouldn’t he almost be a sure thing for an upgrade (using miles if need be)?

    In my mind, I simply cannot reconcile this type of work/travel schedule; these people need to take a bit more (fiscal) responsibility and pursue more creative ways to reduce their carbon footprint……..Skype, WebEx, etc.?

    I wonder what Tom’s doing for Christmas??

  5. @SImon – Stuker apparently owns his company. As for reducing his carbon footprint, unlike most of the attendees of the Copenhagen climate change conference, Stuker flies commercial transport, which as a much lower footprint than a private jet.

  6. Never understood this whole carbon footprint. Is this more of Gore’s “science”? I could never get excited since Gore and others homes are about 5x bigger than mine and most fly private jets everywhere. If you really want to save the environment send me $20 for every time you fly and I’ll put it towards my save the planet fund. My fund, like everything else, is a money making scam….

  7. @Bob- could not agree more

    @Simon- In googling, it appears that the Stuker is a guy who teaches people how to sell cars, and appears to be the best such teacher in the world. The market for cars hasn’t been very good, and every edge helps. If Stuker’s customers want him running seminars in person, then that’s what he does. As @Paul alluded, there are airline pilots and FAs who fly as much as Stuker. The difference is that Stuker doesn’t have FAA mandated down time; he can use that time to earn money that apparently more than covers his premium travel.

  8. First, I am really shocked by the amount of attention my dad has received lately. Time Magazine, Fox News Channel, not to mention other sources interested in him.

    As for being the best trainer in the business, that is true. He has been in the business for 30 years and has seen a lot of success consulting auto dealers, managers and salespeople.

    He really has flown all of those miles as well. I was with him for over 400,000 of them myself. We love to travel and see as much of the places we go to when we visit.

    I agree with the carbon footprint stuff. We are on planes with between 75 and 300 other people so our carbon footprint is the same as everyone else’s.

    He does use Skype religiously to call our clients in Australia to save money, but eventually we do have to go meet with them so that is why he flies all of the miles he does.

    I appreciate all of the comments. By the way, Bacardi isn’t that bad and when you own your own company you can pretty much do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t upset your employees or your customers.

  9. I know Tom, personally. As a matter of fact I was on a flight with him last Sunday night (2/21/10). Night-line was on the flight filming, Tom flying, lol. He really does enjoy the notoriety. It seems that some of the misconceptions about how much Tom flies makes me want to “clarify” a few items.

    1. Tom holds 2 first class passes on United. They are good for life, or so I understand, that he purchased several years ago for a very large 6 figure sum. Two tickets, anywhere United flies, first class.

    2. He does earn miles for his flights. On occasion he will go on mileage runs. I have known him to shoot off to Europe for lunch and miles.

    3. Tom really does get treatment above and beyond the normal first class flier, it’s always a blast to fly with Tom. He has never met a stranger.

    4. Tom is the Lord and High Master of frequent flyer, hotel points, and travel promotions. Several years ago he flew to 50 states in 50 days. He has stays in hotels in order to win very special prizes, like a guest appearance on Seinfeld.

    5. Toms a great guy, good trainer, I have learned a lot from him. Being on an airplane as much as he is takes it’s toll. No need to use your imagination to figure that out.

    I hope my post offers some clarity.

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