In recent years there have been many changes to stand by flying. In days gone by, stand by tickets were easy to come by. They allowed the user to fly at the last minute and not have to order tickets ahead of time. However, now you’ll have to already have a ticket if you wish to fly stand by and you’ll have to go to the exact destination on your ticket.
Stand by passengers are those who already hold tickets but wish to catch an earlier flight. Passengers who are willing to take this chance will first purchase a ticket to their desired destination on a specific flight and then they must be patient and hope that someone cancels their previous flight so that the passenger can grab the ticket. Often businesses will cancel an entire block of tickets and thus open up seating on a flight so it pays to be early to the airport if you wish to fly stand by.
If you’re wishing to take advantage of a stand by flight, call the airlines in advance and find out if there are any extra seats available on the next few flights. If so, ask if they can move you to an earlier flight, some airlines will do this and some won’t. Then, you must first head to the ticket counter when you arrive at the airport. Remember, stand bys are first come first serve so the early bird gets the worm. After notifying the airport that you wish to fly standby you’ll proceed through security and to the airline that you’re hoping to fly stand by with. You’ll have to wait at the gate in question while the plane loads and see if you make it on board.
If your name is called during boarding, you may proceed as a stand by passenger. If not, you’ll still be on the next flight out as a stand by until your actual flight leaves.
One of the most important things to remember when flying stand by is to pack lightly. You’ll want to use carry on luggage and there won’t be time to check your baggage. Also, since you’re stand by, you’ll likely board the plane last so there may not be a lot of room for you to stow something overhead.
Should you require connecting flights you’ll be taking a chance as well. However, if you’re on a later flight guaranteed and have a connecting flight you’ll likely be fine if you arrive at the airport early and catch an earlier stand by flight. If you do get on a flight as a stand by and have a connecting flight you can again head to a ticket counter and attempt to catch the connecting flight as a stand by passenger. Who knows, you just may reach your destination several hours earlier by using this technique. Unfortunately, stand by flights are now the same price as a regular flight.