In the dynamic world of travel, flexibility can be your best companion. One way to achieve this is by flying standby on airlines, a lesser-known but advantageous option.
Flying standby in air travel essentially means waiting for an available seat on a different flight than the one you originally booked. It’s not about buying a traditional ticket, but instead, it’s about changing your flight on the day of departure. This flight change is dependent on seat availability – hence the term ‘standby’.
This article will be your guide on how to fly standby on American Airlines, one of the major airlines in the United States. I will outline the types of American Airlines standby options available to you, the rules, and how to request one.
American Airlines Same Day Standby & Confirmed Change Travel Rules
Flying standby or making same-day changes on American Airlines comes with its set of rules.
- Flight Criteria: Your new flight must depart on the same day, from and to the same airports, as your original flight. It should also have the same number of stops, in the same airports, as your original flight. Additionally, the flight must be operated by American Airlines or American Eagle.
- Passenger Criteria: Anyone can standby for an earlier flight, but only AAdvantage status members (Gold and above) can standby for a later flight the same day.
- Availability: Same-day confirmed changes and standby are subject to availability on select flights.
What are the Different Types of Standby on American Airlines?
American Airlines offers two main options for same-day flight changes:
1. Same-Day Standby
Standby allows you to essentially get on a waiting list for other flights with the same route on the same day.
- Standby is free for all ticketholders on eligible flights.
- Anyone can standby for an earlier flight, but only AAdvantage status members (Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro) or customers with first/business class tickets can standby for a later flight the same day
2. Same-Day Confirmed Changes
Same-day confirmed changes are a way to directly confirm a change, versus waiting on the standby list, hoping you’ll get the change.
- Same-day confirmed changes are available for $75 for flights in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, and $150 between/through New York (JFK) and London Heathrow (LHR).
- The fee is waved for status members with AAdvantage Executive Platinum and AAdvantage Platinum Pro or business / first class flights. This is a huge perk for having high-tier status with AA.
Below is a simplified table comparing the two options: Same Day Confirmed Change and Same-Day Standby.
|U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands||$75||$0|
|Canada and the Caribbean||$75||Not offered|
|Between/through New York (JFK) and London Heathrow (LHR)||$150||Not offered|
Change fees are waived based on certain statuses and ticket types, as outlined in the below chart.
|Passenger / Ticket Type||Confirmed||Standby|
|AAdvantage Executive Platinum and AAdvantage Platinum Pro status (and companions in same reservation)||Free||Free|
|Unrestricted Economy (Y fare), Business, First, AirPass||Free||Free|
|First, Business Flight Awards||Free||Free|
|AAdvantage Platinum and AAdvantage Gold status (and up to 8 companions in the same reservation)||Not available||Free|
|oneworld® Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status (and up to 8 companions in same reservation)||Not available||Free|
|Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 100K, MVP Gold 75K||Free||Free|
|JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic members||Free||Free|
|Active U.S. military personnel (on orders or personal travel) and active U.S. military dependents (on orders only)||Not available||Free|
How to Request a Standby or Confirmed Change on American Airlines?
Requesting a standby or confirmed change with American Airlines can be accomplished in a variety of ways: online, via the app, at the airport, or by phone.
Starting 24 hours before departure, go to your trips online or in the app, or stop by an airport ticket counter to request a change and pay the fee, if applicable. After you check-in, you’ll receive a new boarding pass and receipt.
Here are some step-by-step guides on how to make the request:
Online or via the App:
- Starting 24 hours before departure, log in to your account on the American Airlines website or the American Airlines mobile app.
- Go to “My Trips” and choose the flight you want to change.
- Look for the ‘Change Flight’ option.
- Follow the prompts to select a new flight or request standby.
At the Airport:
- Arrive at the airport a few hours before your scheduled departure.
- Visit an American Airlines check-in kiosk.
- Enter your confirmation number or scan your boarding pass.
- Follow the prompts to change your flight or request standby.
- Dial the American Airlines reservations number.
- Provide your confirmation number, flight details, and personal information when prompted.
- Request a same-day flight change or standby.
Remember, you will need the following information to request a change or standby: confirmation number, flight number, origin, destination, personal details, and any relevant status or ticket type information.
How to Check Your Standby Status on American Airlines?
Once you’ve requested a standby status, you’ll want to keep an eye on your status leading up to the flight departure. Here’s how you can do that:
Online or via the App:
- Log in to your account on the American Airlines website or mobile app.
- Go to ‘Flight Status’.
- Enter your flight details.
- Look for your name on the standby list.
At the Airport:
- Check the departure screens, which usually display the standby list.
- Ask an American Airlines representative at the gate.
Tips to Increasing the Chance of Getting Standby
To increase your chances of getting a seat while flying standby, here are a few tips:
- Have status: Get priority standby benefits just by having the lowest status tier, Gold. Spending on an AA credit card can get you there.
- Request early: The sooner you request a change, the higher your chances of securing a seat.
- Be flexible: Being open to different flight times or even connections can increase your chances of getting a seat.
- Politeness goes a long way: Remember, gate agents are people too. A kind and understanding demeanor can make a difference.
Your priority on the standby list is determined by a few factors, such as:
- Elite status: AAdvantage members with elite status are typically given priority.
- Fare class: Higher fare classes usually have precedence.
- Time of request: The earlier you request standby status, the higher your position on the list.
What are the Benefits and Risks of Flying Standby on American Airlines?
Flying standby can be a game-changer for your travel plans. However, like all things, it has its benefits and risks. Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons:
- Flexibility: Standby gives you the option to catch an earlier or later flight on the same day.
- Options: If you’re a frequent traveler, having the ability to fly standby can give you more options.
- Uncertainty: There’s no guarantee you’ll get a seat on the desired flight.
- Wait times: You may have to wait at the airport for an available seat.
- Potential for hassle: If your standby flight is canceled or delayed, it could cause a domino effect on your travel plans.
- Beneficial: If you’ve wrapped up your business meeting early and want to get home sooner, flying standby for an earlier flight can be a godsend.
- Risky: If you’re traveling during peak times or in poor weather conditions, your desired flight may be overbooked or delayed, making flying standby more challenging.
Key takeaways and recommendations:
- Ensure you check American Airlines’ latest policies on flying standby.
- Be prepared for potential waiting times and have a backup plan.
- If you’re an AAdvantage Gold status member or higher, take full advantage of your priority benefits.
- Always weigh the pros and cons before deciding to fly standby.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does American airline standby work?
Standby on American Airlines works by allowing passengers to wait for available seats on a different flight, departing on the same day as their originally scheduled flight. This could be an earlier flight, or for AAdvantage elite status members, a later flight. It’s particularly useful when flights are overbooked or when passengers want to alter their travel plans without paying high change fees.
Who is eligible to fly standby on American Airlines?
All passengers are eligible to fly standby on American Airlines for an earlier flight. However, only AAdvantage elite status members are allowed to standby for a later flight on the same day.
Why am I on standby American Airlines?
If you didn’t request standby, you might have been placed on standby due to an overbooked flight, in which case the airline couldn’t confirm a seat for you. In such cases, airlines often offer compensation or benefits for passengers who voluntarily give up their seat.
How can I get on standby for American Airlines?
You can request standby status online through the American Airlines website or mobile app, at the airport using a self-service kiosk, or by speaking with a customer service representative. If you’ve already checked in for your original flight, you’ll need to speak to an airline representative at the airport to request standby status.
What is the cost of flying standby on American Airlines?
The cost for same-day standby on American Airlines is $75. However, this fee is waived for certain ticket types and elite-status members. It’s important to always check the most recent policies on the American Airlines website to confirm current costs and fees.
In conclusion, while flying standby on American Airlines can offer the flexibility and potential cost savings, it does come with an element of unpredictability. If you can handle that, standby might just be the perfect fit for your travel lifestyle.