Why Airline Buddy Passes Suck

This week, travel guy Christopher Elliott talks about the growing worthlessness of buddy passes—the travel vouchers airline employees get for family members, or unhappy customers sometimes get as a peace offering. For examples, “on American Airlines, it’s often less expensive to buy an advance-purchase ticket than to use a buddy pass, once you factor in all taxes and fees.” And Continental will add a $100 to $400 surcharge per buddy pass starting this Monday, rendering the “perk” of a buddy pass entirely moot.

But wait. It gets better.

As a result of current market conditions, CO is no longer in a position to absorb additional fuel costs for the weight of a Buddy Pass rider’s second checked bag. Like non-elite revenue passengers, Buddy Pass riders will be assessed a $25 service charge for their second checked bag. When applicable, excess, overweight, and oversized baggage charges will still apply.

This is sending a clear message to Continental’s employees: Our elite frequent fliers are more important than your friends and family. What a shame.

So the next time some airline apologist points out that Gokhan Mutlu, the JetBlue toilet passenger, was flying on a buddy pass, it’s worth noting that these passes hardly pass for a perk anymore.

“You call that a perk? The truth about airline buddy passes” [Elliott.org]

“JetBlue Forces Passenger To Sit On Toilet For Flight”
(Photo: Getty Images)