HOW TO FLY STANDBY FOR FREE!! TRAVEL Q&A | THE LIFE OF A FLIGHT ATTENDANT Ep.31 | VLOGMAS DAY 23
How to Fly Standby
Flying standby is a great way for you to get preferable flights or to fly cheaper. What is cool about standby is that you can save money while adding excitement to your travel experience. However, before you jump into a standby adventure, there are a number of things you should know. To get the best out of your standby experience, you need to be ready at a minute’s notice, do a little homework before flying, and be an active traveler when you get to the airport.
Purchasing Your Ticket
Learn about the standby policies of the airline you are flying.Airlines like , , and have different policies regarding standby passengers. These policies reflect fees, treatment of checked luggage, and more. As a result, you should take a minute to read your airline's policies.
Purchase an inexpensive ticket.If your initial goal is to fly standby, you should try to buy the cheapest ticket possible to your final destination. Without a ticket, you won’t be able to clear security and won’t have the ability to take advantage of a last-minute standby opportunity.
- Buy a ticket from the specific airline you want to travel on or from discount travel websites like Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia, or Kayak.
- Having a ticket to the destination you want to go to is important, as many airlines will not allow you to fly standby unless you're already going to that destination.
Avoid buying a ticket you don't want to use.Remember that flying standby is not guaranteed. Thus, you need to be smart about the ticket you purchase. If you won't want to use it, you shouldn't buy it. This is because there is a very good chance you won't be able to get a standby ticket.
Get a buddy pass to avoid buying a ticket.If you or someone you know works for a given airline, you may be to use a “buddy pass.” This pass will allow you to show up to a gate without purchasing a ticket. Generally, buddy passes are the only way you’ll be able to get through security and to a gate without a ticket.
- Airlines provide a set number of buddy passes to their employees every year.
- Buddy passes may enable users to purchase tickets at a steep discount – sometimes between 30% and 60%.
- Depending on the airline, buddy passes may allow the user to check two bags.
Call ahead to increase your chances of getting a standby ticket.If you’re considering traveling standby ahead of time, you should probably call the airline and let them know. In some cases, airlines will be able to put you on a standby list.
Securing Your Flight at the Airport
Arrive at the airport early.In most cases, you should plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours before the flight you want to fly standby on. If the airport is particularly busy, or there have been many flight cancellations, you may want to arrive even earlier. This way, you may be able to get on the standby list for more than one flight.
- Your chances of getting a standby seat are much higher on earlier flights – so arrive as early in the morning as you possibly can.
Introduce yourself at the boarding gate.After you’ve cleared security and arrived at the gate of the flight you want to be on, you should approach the airline representatives at the gate desk and introduce yourself. Let them know that you’re booked for a later flight and want to fly standby on their flight. If you’re not already on a standby list, they may be able to put you on one.
- Be as polite as possible. Remember, the airline representative is not responsible for flight cancellations or any other issues.
Stay at the gate until the airplane taxis away.While you may want to give up as boarding is winding down, you should stay at the gate until the airplane’s door is closed and the flight taxis away from the jetway. This is important, as the flight crew might determine new seat availability at the very last minute.
Pay the fee if you're selected to fly standby.If you’re selected as a standby flyer, you will likely have to pay a fee for the privilege. Fees vary by airline, and can range from to 0. However, your fee may be waived if you’re a preferred flyer with that specific airline.
- You may also have to pay a fee if you check a piece of luggage.
Increasing Your Chances of Getting a Standby Seat
Travel light.Depending on the airline and specific circumstances, your chances of getting a standby seat may be higher if you do not need to check baggage. This is because standby seats are often filled at the very last minute, and there may not be time to check your baggage.
- In addition, if an airline does check your baggage, it may be checked on a different flight to your destination.
Be open to changing your plans.When it comes to traveling standby, you’ll have to build in a decent amount of flexibility into your travel plans. Without flexibility, you won’t be able to take advantage of the major benefits of flying standby. As a result, expect the unexpected when flying standby.
- Inform anyone that might be expecting you at your destination that you could be early or late.
- Make sure connecting flights or other transportation options are scheduled appropriately.
- Cancel or postpone hotel accommodations if you’ll be delayed overnight.
Travel by yourself.While it is possible to travel standby with a group, it is very hard to do so. This is because there are usually only a couple of standby seats available on a given plane. If you are traveling standby with a group, your group might get broken up and may be put onto two or more different planes.
Focus on off-peak times.If you plan to travel standby, try to fly at times when fewer people are flying. This is because the more people flying, the less seats will be available on given flights. In addition, more people flying means more competition for the few standby seats that may be available.
- Don’t plan to fly standby on holiday weekends, major holidays, or during specific events (like the Super Bowl or Olympics).
Join an airline rewards program.Many airlines will give preferential treatment to members of their rewards programs. Such perks include being moved to the front of the list of standby flyers, paying a smaller fee to fly standby, or getting a free upgrade. Thus, consider joining a rewards program if you plan to fly standby in the future.
QuestionIf I want to fly at the last minute without a ticket, how can I get an available seat?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCheck with the airline staff. Catching a last-minute flight without a ticket is much easier if you just have carry-on luggage.Thanks!
QuestionCan I bring empanadas on the plane?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionDo they have standby in Australian airports?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can get standby in Australian airports. Many people have done it, including me!Thanks!
QuestionWill the flight agent call my name when it is time to get on board?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUsually, your name will appear on an electronic board or TV that is located somewhere around the flight attendant desk.Thanks!
QuestionIs standby only for the same day?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGenerally, yes, but in cases of impending weather or other expected delays, you may be able to get a flight a day in advance.Thanks!
QuestionCan I fly standby to international destinations?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can, although each airline has its own way of managing international standbys, so you'll want to do some research on the particular airline you plan on using.Thanks!
QuestionHow do they get your luggage on the right flight?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPresumably the same way as they would for any other type of flight, but if you're switching between flights, it's better to just bring hand-luggage.Thanks!
QuestionCan I bring my mistress on board?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, if she has a ticket.Thanks!
QuestionCan a kid fly standby?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on the policy of the airline.Thanks!
QuestionIs the process the same if I am using a stand-by ticket that was given to me by a friend that works for an airline?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on the specific airline. Every airline has their own policies regarding standby tickets and employee-issued "buddy passes." See the first step in this article.Thanks!
Can anyone help me do a standby flight?
Is joining the mile high club easier if I am flying standby?
What does standby mean?
Does the 0 mean no one is on standby, or that there are no standby seats available?
What is the average number of standby seats available on a flight that is not during a peak time?
Sources and Citations
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Video: How to Fly Standby
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