In the bustling world of travel, flying standby has become somewhat of a forgotten gem. If time is on your side, it can offer significant savings and a sense of adventure to your trip. In this blog, we’re going to explain what flying standby means, and how you can leverage it to save money.
What is Flying Standby?
Traditionally, flying standby meant showing up at the airport without a ticket and hoping to snag a last-minute seat on a flight with empty spaces. This process has changed over the years. Now, most airlines require you to have a ticket before you can fly standby, often on an earlier flight than the one you’re booked on. Standby passengers are accommodated only after all ticketed passengers have their seats, and there’s still space available.
How Can Flying Standby Save You Money?
- Same-Day Changes: Many airlines offer a ‘same-day confirmed’ or ‘same-day change’ option, which allows you to change your flight on the day of travel for a lower fee than the usual change fee.
- Missed Flights: If you’ve missed your flight, rather than booking a new ticket, you could request to fly standby on the next flight to your destination. Policies vary by airline, but many will accommodate you on a standby basis for a small fee or even free of charge.
- Buddy Passes: If you know someone who works for an airline, they might be able to provide you with a ‘buddy pass,’ allowing you to fly standby at significantly reduced rates or even for free.
Tips for Flying Standby Successfully
- Travel Light: Flying standby means you could be rushing to a gate at the last minute, so it’s best to travel with only a carry-on.
- Dress Appropriately: Especially if you’re flying with a buddy pass, some airlines require standby passengers to adhere to a specific dress code.
- Be Polite: Airline gate agents hold a lot of power in the standby process. Being polite and patient can go a long way.
- Have a Backup Plan: If you’re flying standby, you should always have a backup plan in case you can’t get on your desired flight.
- Check the Airline’s Standby Policy: Always familiarize yourself with the airline’s specific standby policies.
While flying standby isn’t a guarantee, it presents an opportunity to save money and possibly even arrive at your destination earlier than planned. If you’ve got flexibility and a dash of patience, give flying standby a go on your next journey.
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