The current standby policies of 12 airlines. Free standby is going… going… [Dan’s Deals]

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  1. beatofhawaii.com says:

    Hawaiian Airlines: standby travel is not (officially) permitted. In my experience, however, they typically accommodate standby travel on the same day as ticketed travel at no cost, if space is available.

    Aloha, [beatofhawaii.com]

  2. kepler11 says:

    one thing to be grateful for about US airlines (among the few things) is that they allow you to standby for free on other flights on the same day of travel. Few other airlines outside the US have this as standard procedure — they will make you fly the flight you paid for, period. Or you can buy a new ticket. For all you may gripe about the airlines, consider this a big savings — how much you save by not having to buy a new ticket if you change your mind and want to travel at a different time on the same day. Or the flexibility they will give you often, to take a nonstop if there’s room, when you had a convoluted multi-stop ticket that was cheaper at the time of purchase.

  3. screwtapeletters says:

    I’m a dependent of an airline employee, and I would just say that if you’re willing to take the gamble for a vacation you may have to cancel, standby is a stellar deal.

    Personally I would never want to fly standby without the ability to consistently have access to the ever-changing loadings of a flight right up to the board time like employees do. Otherwise there’s no way to know if it’s even worth your while.

    However, here are some suggestions for those who might want to brave it and want to maximize the chance you’ll get on without having the magical crystal ball, er, access to the employee website portals:

    - Avoid hubs if you can, like Newark, Houston, Los Angeles, etc.

    - Thursday is traditionally a low travel day, no idea why.

    - Fridays and Sundays are high travel days, so don’t attempt to jet out for a weekend or you’re going to get stuck.

    - Avoid flying before holidays like the plague. Seriously, don’t even try it, even the minor ones.

    - On the other hand, if you need to for the winter holidays, consider flying on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

    - Avoid connecting flights unless you can handle the possibility that you might get stuck at your connection destination.

    - Don’t heckle the gate agents. They don’t control the loadings and will be happy to tell you how they look if you don’t pester them with asking what your status is every eight seconds and getting angry when she says she doesn’t know.

    - Be patient and flexible. You really might spend all day at the airport, so use it as your chance to get a little “me” time in. Bring a good book and have an icecream.

    - By the same token, pack light and try not to check anything if you can help it.

    Hope this helps. I love flying standby and I think more people don’t try it because the idea of not having a confirmed seat is stressful, but especially if you can leave some buffer time and go out of your way a bit, it can be a huge money saver these days especially.

  4. RandomHookup says:

    @screwtapeletters: Actually, I think we are talking about a different kind of standby — the ability to get on an earlier flight when you already have a ticket for a later one.

  5. themaskedmarauder says:

    @RandomHookup: You are correct. When I worked for United, we would allow a passenger to stand by for 1 flight before or 1 flight after for free, if travel was on the same day. Then there was a charge of about 25 dollars for any other flight on the same day.