Individuals can get heavily subsidized airline flights by acting as an air courier.
If you are an individual wishing to fly around the world at massively reduced fares then think about signing up as an Air Courier
An air courier is someone who agrees to cary documents on an aircraft in return for a fee which offsets much of the flight cost. You must do this in a professional manner with the full knowledge and agreement of the airline, otherwise you could end up in VERY serious trouble.
When you do things properly as a courier you are not personally liable for the contents of the cargo, simply for the transfer of the documents. Air courier companies are a legitimate and established part of the commercial air freight business.
In the USA, joining the International Association of Air Travel Couriers is a great first step. They are a broker, providing a website where you can get the best deals on courier flights and all the information you will need on the terms, conditions and limitations. The small fee is definitely worth it.
In the UK, go directly to British Airways or Virgin atlantic for international courier flights.
What limitations are there on being an Air Courier?
You will need to be a healthy adult with a full passport and be able to speak good English. You will also need to be presentable.
When you agree to a flight you generally have to agree on a fixed return (so you can bring back more docs) and if you fail to stick to the agreement you will have to pay full fare back.
When you land you generally hand over docs at the airport but you may be asked to travel a short distance to deliver them to an office.
How much can I save as a courier?
You can expect to save anywhere between 30% to 90% of the standard cost of an airline ticket. Best deals usually appear when a doc has to be delivered at short notice.
Tickets are almost always return, although one-way can occasionally be arranged. In most cases the return is booked for 14 days after departure.
Over the last 5 years, courier flights have dropped significantly due to
increased airport security making the whole affair more complicated as well
as the growth in trust in electronic documentation which has led to less need
for couriered documents. However there are still courier flights out there,
so don't dismiss this excellent route to cheaper air fares.