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.
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