Whether you missed your flight, need to get out of town early, want to extend your vacay, or are considering last-minute alternatives to your original flight (which you found on Cheapflights.com, of course), check out our tips for flying standby on airlines in the U.S. and Canada.
Domestic flights: Passengers flying within Canada in Business Class (flexible), Premium Economy (flexible), or Latitude fares can standby free of charge. Passengers flying within Canada in Economy Tango, Economy Flex, or Business Class (lowest) can standby for free on Rapidair routes (express daily service offering hourly departures between Toronto and Montreal or Ottawa) and on flights between Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Passengers flying in Economy Latitude on Air Canada Rouge can also standby free of charge.
International flights to the United States: For passengers traveling from Canada to the U.S. in Business Class (flexible) and Economy Latitude can standby free of charge. Passengers flying in Economy Tango, Economy Flex, or Business Class (lowest) can fly standby for free on flights between Toronto Pearson International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia International Airport, or Newark Liberty International Airport.
Other passengers can standby on an earlier flight (AAdvantage elite members may standby for both earlier or later flights) for a $75 fee on flights between the 50 United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as long as the alternate flight has the same origin and destination, is for the same calendar day of departure and is marketed and operated by American Airlines or American Eagle. Passengers cannot change their itineraries to a city with multiple airports or to a different connecting city.
Passengers who miss their flights can travel stan-by, based on seat availability, but it is not guaranteed. Depending on the fare, there may be an additional fee. Passengers can request standby at the airport (it cannot be done over the phone) for the same day only (if traveling out of a city with only one daily flight, passengers can standby for the next day). Passengers must travel stan-by between the same origin and destination cities as the original confirmed seat; however, passengers can travel standby on a connecting or nonstop flight. Passengers traveling on an Even More space seat who choose to travel standby forfeit the seat fee and are not eligible for a refund. Mint customers may travel standby one flight prior to their confirmed scheduled departure, but the Mint experience will not be guaranteed and will be forfeited if unavailable on the new flight.
Porter Airlines does not offer standby; however, depending on the type of ticket purchased, passengers may be able to change flights for free or for a fee. Passengers flying on Freedom fares can request a ticket refund up to one hour prior to departure. Passengers flying on Flexible and Freedom fares can make same-day changes up to one hour prior to departure for free. Passengers flying on Firm fares can make same-day changes that range from $150 to $172.50 per ticket. Same-day changes and cancellations can be made online, through the Porter Call Centre at 1-888-619-8622, and at the airport.
Spirit Airlines allows its passengers to travel standby on an earlier flight, on the same day of the scheduled flight, for a $99 fee per person. Passengers wishing to opt for standby can choose this option at the airport.
Virgin America passengers have several standby options. Passengers can buy a Plans Change Pass for $25 when booking tickets that allows for changes to be made as often as passengers wish (passengers just pay the fare difference). Reservations can be changed online or over the phone via the Contact Center at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (1.877.359.8474).
Passengers who have confirmed tickets, but did not buy a Plans Change Pass, may make a same-day change on the day of departure, if there are seats available on an earlier or later flight departing that same day for the originally scheduled origin and destination airports for a fee that ranges from $25 to $50 per ticket. Same-day changes can be requested at the airport or through the Contact Center.
If there are seats available on the flight immediately before the originally scheduled flight, passengers can fly standby free of charge, but this is not a confirmed changed and does not guarantee a seat.
Buying an ultra-cheap standby ticket at the last minute and snagging an empty seat on the next flight is an appealing idea, but, sadly, for the general public those days are gone. Nowadays, passengers who travel standby already hold a ticket but want to upgrade their seat, switch to an earlier or later flight or change their destination. Old style standby flying is available only to airline industry workers or their relatives or friends who hold \"buddy passes.\"
When passengers contact the airline to change their seat status or travel plans, their tickets effectively become standby tickets. What that means is, the passengers wait until their desired seats or flights to become available. If there's a cancellation or no-show, or if there's a seat the airline doesn't manage to fill, the standby passenger can take it. Though spare seats on planes are rarer than they used to be because airlines often overbook flights, a patient traveler can sometimes make the switch. For last-minute deals on flights, check airline and travel websites, but bear in mind that no changes may be allowed on these tickets. Doing it the old-fashioned way and turning up at the airport without a ticket is likely to be the most expensive option.
As always, flying standby is often a waiting game. If the flight isn't full, the airline might allocate a seat right away, but if the flight is fully booked, the standby traveler has to wait and hope that fewer passengers than expected turn up. Sometimes, standby passengers must wait at the gate until the very last minute when the flight crew is about to close the doors before they know they're flying. For a pleasant standby experience, make the request as early as possible, travel with carry on luggage and arrive at the departure gate early.
To fly standby used to mean that you would show up at the airport and try to get a cheap, discounted ticket on an undersold flight. While the name still exists, it has morphed into something of an extra service that ticket-holders can invoke, given that certain conditions apply. This article takes a look at what the concept of flying standby means today.
Once, trying to get your hands on a standby ticket could mean hours of waiting at the reservations desk. However, if you were not in a hurry and on a tight budget, it could still be an attractive option.
It can also be applied to airline employees, their family members, or close acquaintances that fly for a heavily discounted price on so-called \"buddy passes.\" This instance is that which most closely resembles the original standby concept.
Sometimes, however, the predicted no-shows do not comply, and some people are forced to take a later flight. The airline may then either confirm a seat on a later flight right away or, and this is the more frustrating part, you could be put on standby for another flight that is fully booked. This could, in turn, mean a long wait at your departure airport.
Should such a situation arise, do make sure that you are aware of what the compensation the airline is prepared to offer you for the inconvenience entails. If it provides a cash incentive, then make certain they will also offer free meals, as well as accommodation if the standby stretches overnight. Otherwise, all the money will be spent due to the waiting itself.
Technically, this is known as a \"same-day flight change.\" While different airlines have different policies, you almost certainly need to have a ticket category that permits same-day changes to begin with. Furthermore, you may need to pay for the difference in fare, and some airlines charge a same-day standby fee.
Some carriers will allow you to check seats for flights other than your own on their website. Even though this may not always be accurate, it is one way of gauging the possibility of getting on the flight you want. Some airlines, like United, even allow you to sign up for standby via their mobile apps.
This kind of ticket pushes you to the back of the list of other standby potentials, such as full-price paying customers, off-duty pilots, etc. As you are a \"non-rev,\" meaning a passenger who does not provide any revenue for the airline, you could potentially be asked to switch seats, and you forego any compensation in case of delays or cancellations.
Did you use to fly standby in the good old just-show-up days Do you miss it Have you used the option recently Let us know what you think of the overall initiatives in the comment section.
Back in the day, flying standby was the cheap way to go anywhere, anytime. You could go to the airport, buy an extremely discounted ticket for the next available flight to your destination, and wait. Granted, the wait could be hours long, but in the end, you could get a last-minute flight for a less-than-normal cost.
Unlike the standby tickets of old, requesting standby nowadays usually comes with an added fee in addition to the price of your original ticket. Airlines that do offer a free standby option generally reserve that convenience for elite fliers and loyalty program members.
American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, and United offer complimentary same-day standby to high-tiered members in their respective loyalty or frequent flyer rewards programs. American Airlines and Delta charge a $75 fee for standby flights for other passengers. United fees may be as high as $75 and basic economy tickets are not eligible for standby and Frontier charges a $99 fee for standby flights for other passengers. 59ce067264