Flying Standby

Are you lucky enough to know someone who works for an airline who would give you a coveted buddy pass? Buddy passes are non-revenue, standby tickets provided as a benefit to all airline employees but here is the Thing About Flying Standby.

Since you are flying standby, you are not guaranteed a seat. Either the reservation agent or the employee can check flight loads for the dates and times you wish to travel. That will tell how likely you are to get on that flight. A flight that often flies with empty seats is a better bet than a flight that usually is full.

Once you choose the flight, your name will be added to the standby list for the flight. You can change your listing up to the time of travel. Experts advise that you check the flight load daily to see if you need to adjust things.

Patience, as the cliché goes, is a virtue. Get to the airport an hour or so before the very first flight headed toward your destination, and be prepared to be at the airport all day, hoping and wishing.

Things to know:

  • Show up knowing all possible alternative routes.
  • DO NOT get an attitude with representatives unless they get an attitude first.
  • Dress like you’re going to a religious temple and FLIRT like you’re in a hoe house. This may get you into that open first class seat they couldn’t sell.
  • Carry your necessities in your carry on just in case they send your checked luggage days before they send you.
  • Make flying more comfortable with a travel pillow, you never know what type of seat will be available for you.
  • Have enough money to eat at least 3 regular meals. Airport food is not cheap usually.
  • If you must, keep calling the customer service line. They all don’t follow the book. Someone will eventually help you.
  • Call ahead to find out the possibility of you getting on the flight. Ask what number you are on the list.

Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.