Is this the death of stand-by flights or are we now witnessing a rebirth of the practice that has allowed people to go to random destinations at random times for random fees.
Well, all airlines still offer stand-by tickets but some of them have started adding fees and restrictions to these flights in hopes of…well making more money. Let's take a look.
American Airlines has recently begun charging $100 for any stand-by ticket sold on the same day of the person's original ticket was scheduled for. For instance, if you were traveling to Miami from Chicago and you missed your flight, but opted to wait at the airport for a stand-by ticket on your next flight, the airline will charge you $100 dollars extra is the seat becomes available.
This seems like a bit of a shady enterprise considering people who are willing to do this are desperate and will pay the $100 fee no matter what. But what seems worse is that they never used to do that and they are simply taking advantage of people's misfortune.
Although, not all airlines are quite so crass. Alaskan Airlines has recently rescinded their $100 free on stand-by flights. This was a noble nod to their customers and with any luck they will be rewarded with customer loyalty.
Another factor leading to the demise of the stand-by traveler is the increase proficiency of the airlines…or let me rephrase that. The increasing propensity for airlines to over book flights anticipating people who will miss their flight. This practice has made the likelihood of catching a standby flight a little trickier…but it is still possible.
Of course, with that said, there is still some hope for the standby traveler. All of the airlines seem to be losing money these days. His bodes well for the customer. Every empty seat means that they will lose money. So as long as you are willing to pay enough for your meal, you can get on a stand-by flight.
Sure this is an exaggeration, but it may be the truth if the airlines still continue to struggle the way they have for the past decade.