Sam Chui is often referred to as the Godfather of Aviation Geekdom—and it’s a crown he can wear with pride.
As the most influential social media star in the airline and aviation sphere, he goes places most of us can never get to—and he does it with humility and a smile on his face.
He has flown with more than 240 airlines and in 180 different types of aircraft.
To put it into perspective, he flies around 150 times a year—or every 3 days on average. He’s been to every continent except Antarctica.
His favorite aircraft—because apparently, that’s something aviation people have—is the Boeing 747.
He’s had time to fine-tune his choice since he’s flown in a Boeing 747 more than 350 times.
And if you’re looking for trivia, here’s some: Sam Chui has been the top-rated photographer on airliners.net for several years—even though he hasn’t posted a photo there since 2015.
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The Origin Story
Sam Chui Kai-Sing was born on November 7, 1980, in Beijing, China.
Sam is an only child, and his family moved to Hong Kong when he was a kid.
His favorite spot to visit on family outings was Kai Tak Airport to watch planes take off and land.
That was where his love of aviation was born.
From there, he relocated again—this time to Sydney—when he was 17 years old.
He finished high school and went on to university in Sydney and bought his first car in 1998.
His first destination in his new car was Sydney Airport.
After graduating from the University of New South Wales with a degree in Economics and Finance, he headed for the bright lights of the UAE in 2011.
He joined the team at Sovereign Wealth Fund.
While growing his passion for all things aircraft-related and a burgeoning finance career, Chui was building something else, too: a family.
Sam Chui is married to Amy, and the pair have two children together—a son and a daughter.
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What Does an Aviation Influencer Do?
Aircraft enthusiasts might know the answer to this question—but this section is for the rest of us. If you’re the #1 aviation influencer on social media, what are you doing with your time?
For starters, if you’re Sam Chui, you’re flying over 200 different airlines—from the best in the world to North Korea’s notorious 1-star airline.
You’re flying hundreds of different types of aircraft.
He might be a humble guy, but Sam Chui always keeps track of the stats.
By 2021, he’d racked up more than 2,000 flights and 3 million miles in air travel.
He’d slept in more than 100 countries around the globe.
He’s touched down on the tarmac twice a week, on average—more than some pilots.
Sam Chui started his website in 1999 after racking up a huge number of frequent flyer miles and becoming an elite member of United Airlines’ loyalty program.
From there, he spent most of the 2000s in the air, racking up some impressive stats:
- Flying British Airways Supersonic Concorde express from NYC to London in just over 3 hours
- Watching the Airbus A380 maiden flight from Toulouse, France
- Flying the world’s first A380 maiden flight with Singapore Airlines—in their Suite class
- Flying a Lockheed Constellation L1049G
- Solo flying a Sling 2 in 3 traffic patterns
- Flying Antonov Airlines AN-22 Antei
- Several private jet trips
Chui celebrated his 40th birthday in typical aviation enthusiast style—aboard Emirates A380 round trip from Dubai to Cairo.
He puts his love of the air down to the romance and curiosity of being above the clouds and the mystery of new places.
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A Career and a Passion
After launching his website before the turn of the millennium, it was another 8 years before he made a foray into the world of YouTube.
As one of the first people on the platform to consistently post about planes and other aircraft, he appealed to a narrow section of the platform’s users.
That narrow section, however, turned out to be loyal.
To date, he’s got 2.6 million subscribers, and his videos have been viewed more than half a billion times.
As he rose to prominence on social media, he also scored invites to fly in a private jet once owned by the royal family of Qatar.
He’s flown alone from Canada to Arizona, provided commentary to mainstream media institutions like CNN and Bloomberg, and become a refreshingly knowledgeable subject matter expert on a platform littered with shock jocks and drama queens.
Even though Sam Chui is kind of a big deal, he’s maintained strong relationships globally.
He scores exclusive access every time he flies—you’ll often catch him settling in on a flight before anyone else has even boarded.
He usually gathers the flight crew for a group photo, he helps serve meals, and he’s even been given lipstick tips by a member of the Air Emirates flight crew.
Sam Chui – Net Worth
Chui earned most of his wealth from working in Dubai in finances. Also, Sam sold photos of airplanes on his website SamChuiPhotos.com.
Chui has a YouTube channel with more than 591 million views (about $1.5 million in revenue before taxes).
Also, Sam has a website (samchui.com) on which he sells his books.
He’s the author of Air 747: Experiencing the Passion: Boeing’s Jumbo Jet, Aviation Photos and Flight Experiences, and Sam Chui Air Photos.
Therefore, travel vlogger Sam Chui has an estimated net worth of $3 million.
Want to get to know Sam Chui? Tag along on this trip aboard luxury private jet, Sky Lady.
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