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The Only Airline Standby Policies Chart You’ll Ever Need

It’s not a get-out-jail-free card like it used to be. If you want the flexibility for free you might just have to get status.

Get off work early, hop on an earlier flight, get more beach time in, you get it. Standby—or even confirmed same-day changes—can be a great last-minute option. In other words, it isn’t the end of the world to jump on an earlier or later flight for whatever reason. Evolving schedules!

Of course flexibility isn’t always free (especially if you aren’t an elite airline status member) because basic standby options can rack up to a whopping $150 dollars. The only ones to offer it for free are airlines like JetBlue and Virgin America. But even then there are caveats: there must be free seats available on the alternate flight.

The good news is that by signing up for standby, travelers never lose their confirmed spot on the original flight. (Same-day changes differ in the fact that it’s a confirmed ticket.) Either way you’re getting there. Just don’t plan super important plans around your standby option; even elite status members can’t get on if the flight is full.

Don’t bet on it before checking out this chart. There are a lot of small eligibility qualifications from airline to airline that could trip you up if you’re planning on changing up your schedule.

Airline Fee Policy
Alaska
  • Free standby for:
    • Customers traveling on nonstop flights between some shuttle market cities. (If you are traveling on shuttle market flight with a connection, you may stand by on the shuttle market flight segment only).
    • Customers with a Refundable Coach or First Class ticket who are eligible for a same day flight change but space is not available.
    • MVP Gold Mileage Plan members and those traveling in the same reservation eligible for a same-day flight change but space is not available. 
  • Seat availability will not be known until 30 minutes prior to flight departure.
American
  • $75 for domestic flights.
  • $150 for flights between JFK and LHR.
  • No fee for Elite Members
  • Standby option available if alternate flight has same origin and destination, on the same day as original flight and seats are available.
Delta
  • $50 for Silver Medallion members, general SkyMiles members and non-members. 
  • No fee for Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members.
  • Silver Medallion members, general SkyMiles members and non-members may only fly same-day standby for a flight earlier than their original flight.
  • Standby option available if confirmed flight is not available and alternate flight is on the same scheduled day as original flight. Travel must be between the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Upgrades available for small fee.
Frontier
  • No fee for customers with Classic Plus ticket and Elite members. 
  • Standby ONLY available to customers with Classic Plus tickets and Elite Members
  • Economy tickets may not fly standby.
  • Customers with Classic Plus ticket and Elite level members may fly standby for an earlier or later flight on the same day if it follows the same itinerary.
Hawaiian
  • Free standby option available for earlier Neighbor Island flights if you are a Pualani Platinum or Gold member. 
  • May not fly standby if you’ve already checked-in baggage on original flight or desired flight is within 30 minutes.
  • May not fly standby if you are not on a Neighbor Island flight or if you are not a Pualani Platinum or Gold member.
JetBlue
  • No fee.
  • Can fly standby for one flight prior to your original on the same day, if seats are available.
Southwest
  • No fee for Business select and Anytime fares. 
  • Wanna Get Away, Senior, and Ding! fares require upgrade to Anytime ticket. Cost to upgrade is difference in fare for your particular flight.
  • Alternate flight must have same itinerary on the same day.
United
  • $75 for non-elite and Premier Silver members.
  • No fee for Premier Gold and above.
  • Standby available if seats are not available in the purchased fare class.
  • Route must remain the same.
Virgin America  

  • No fee if there are seats available on the flight right before your original flight.
  • Domestic short-haul is $25; domestic medium-haul is $35; domestic long-haul and international is $50.
 





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