If you read our blog then you probably know that we travel standby a lot. Standby means that you can fly cheaper and get on a flight only if there are available seats. We can do this because Claire’s mom is a flight attendant and can give “buddy passes.” For some people this might sound miserable but for us its just another adventure! Here are some tips for those of you that attempt this unpredictable method of traveling…
1. Plan out your travel dates. As a standby passenger you are automatically lower on the list to get on the flight. People that pay full fare are ahead of you, and depending on how many people buy tickets you may or may not get on the flight. Make sure you aren’t trying to fly out or in on popular dates (for example, the beginning or end of school breaks or holidays). Its very important to be flexible when you fly stand by because you never know for sure if you are going to get on a flight.
2. Pack your carry on with things that you will need in case you get stuck. Its very common to get stuck as a standby, especially if you are an S-4 (buddy pass), but it even happens to S-2′s (employees on highest rank)! We have been stuck in cities for up to a week before (and we haven’t always been prepared). Bring at least two changes of clothes. Phone chargers, medicine, small toiletries, money and anything else that you would need if you got stuck overnight without your suitcase.
3. Bring a computer. If you do end up getting stuck somewhere then you will want to have your computer. You can check the status of your flight, look for hotel options in the area, keep in contact with people from home, and even research fun things to do in the area while you are stuck.
4. Chill out and make the most of it! Don’t stress about getting stuck somewhere. Chances are you will end up seeing or doing something that you never would have done otherwise. Learn to laugh instead of getting frustrated. Things don’t always turn out perfectly and the best way to get though those things is to laugh about them. Have fun because you may be somewhere you’ll never go again.
5. Make Friends. There are probably a lot of other stand by passengers trying to get on the same flight as you. Get to know them because depending on how the flights look you may be seeing a lot of them. Its fun to have people to wait around with and even more fun to celebrate when one of your new friends gets on a flight. If you don’t make a flight its nice to have people that are in the same situation as you. You can whine about it to them, then get over it and go have fun.