Tips of the Trade

Passing on Buddy Passes

I know everyone is always looking for a deal when it comes to traveling. I don’t blame you, I do too. Many times people hit up their friends, family, and sometimes random people for a buddy pass. Buddy passes are great, but there are some things you should think about before you decide that is the route you want to go.

I know a bunch of people who are traumatized from using a buddy pass to standby for a flight. They are no longer interested in trying to obtain one because of their experiences. I have personally flown on several different airlines on standby. I also have friends and family who have as well. It can be pretty stressful.

Why?  Because most of the time you don’t know if you are getting on a flight or not, until the plane is almost ready to leave!

Sometimes you get lucky. Other times, your biting your nails waiting for your name to be called, and the feeling you get because “victory you got a seat!”, can take away from the joy of going away.  I have had jetway doors close on me because they were ready to depart. I got lucky on that one and got the very last seat. Talk about stressful.

Some airlines require you to get dressed up in order to fly standby. I’m not sure about you, but I like to fly comfortable. Sweat pants and sneakers are my choice. Some airlines won’t let those choices fly…literally.

I once spent seven hours in the Minneapolis airport. Really nice and very big. Who wants to be at an airport for seven hours and you don’t know anyone? (Mental note I need friends there just in case.)Luckily that is a huge airport with lots to see to kill time. Including a big statue of Snoopy dressed as a pilot.

Snoopy as a Pilot in Minneapolis Airport. ©2014 Holly Dayz
Snoopy as a Pilot in Minneapolis Airport. ©2014 Holly Dayz

Sitting in an airport waiting to get to your destination is not too bad if you’re in your home city. You can always go home. Seeing as a guaranteed seat isn’t in your cards with a buddy pass you could get stuck waiting to get on a flight.

I met a lady once during her layover, she was trying to get to Puerto Rico with her baby. She said she had been in the airport for two days. She kept getting bumped down the list and couldn’t get on a flight. Just when she got on the plane with a seat she got kicked off.

Why? The employees thought there was an empty seat when there wasn’t, the passenger went to the bathroom. Unfortunately not only did she get taken off the flight, but they made her check her baby bag with diapers and all. The plane took off with the baby bag.

Definitely don’t try or think that you’re going to fly during the holidays with ease. I had a friend who never made it to Thanksgiving dinner thanks to using a buddy pass. I tried to go to New York from LA a few days before Christmas once. Every single flight was overbooked. I had to drive in the middle of the night to Vegas, crash at Hooters Hotel, and catch a flight from Las Vegas to NY just to get there.

Spring break? Don’t even bother. People travel in packs during that time. Even the middle of no-where is a hard flight to attempt.

copyright HollyDayz 2014 Sitting in the airport in Las Vegas on standby
Sitting in the airport in Las Vegas on standby. ©2014 Holly Dayz

If you’re an emotional person or one who gets mad easily definitely don’t bother with a buddy pass. You have to be on your P’s and Q’s because you are representing the person who gave you a buddy pass. If you go yelling at the gate agent you could get the person nice enough to get you a pass in trouble, or worse..fired!

Lastly if you decide to be a rebel (like me) and check a bag there is a chance you will part with it. You may not have gotten on the plane to that island you were planning to head to, but your bag sure did. Despite what they may tell you or what you think, your bag gets loaded on the flight like everyone else’s. If you get on the next flight, your bag will be there waiting on you. My bags have definitely beaten me to destinations before.

copyright HollyDayz 2014 My View on my flight from Vegas to NY
My View on the flight from Vegas to New York. ©2014 Holly Dayz

So before you decide you want a buddy pass, you may want to think about the above. Many times buying a positive seat is about the same or a little more expensive than the buddy pass. It could pay to spend a little more money for a positive seat. After all buddy passes aren’t free and you’re not guaranteed a seat.

If the above doesn’t bother you and you have all the time and patience, go for it! Just keep in mind buddy passes aren’t always so nice in the friendly skies.

Have you used a buddy pass before? What experience did you have?

16 Comments
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July 25, 2014
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16 Comments

  • Djuana

    Loved this article but it brought back painful memories of my 1 and ONLY time flying on a buddy pass!! Trying to get to Vegas during Memorial Day weekend on a buddy pass was the absolute worst idea in life!! Wish you had this blog before I took my trip, well didnt take smh. SN: My bags had a great time in Vegas without me 🙁

    • Holly Dayz

      Sorry it brought back painful memories. Yea, that was a bad time to try and go somewhere..holidays..especially Memorial Day in Vegas.

  • 7 Tips for Holiday Travel | HollyDayz

    […] 1. If you are flying, hopefully you have already purchased your tickets or are planning to soon. If you are thinking that you will reach out to someone for a buddy pass, think again! Using a buddy pass to travel is not the best idea. Wondering why?   See my story : Passing on Buddy Passes. […]

  • Spotlight Travels: Barbados with Dear Pricey | HollyDayz

    […] Dayz: I know you flew standby to Barbados, can you relate to my “Passing On Buddy Passes” […]

  • Emerald

    Dang! I already don’t like flying, so a buddy pass is out the damn question…lmbo!!!!

    • Holly Dayz

      There are pros to them, but they aren’t very fun. Standby isn’t too fun, its stressful, so I don’t blame you.

  • thesophislife

    I have heard these horror stories. Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to use a buddy pass! But I would hate hanging around an airport or doing layovers so may not be for me.

    • Holly Dayz

      Standby isn’t fun. I have missed flights and had to hope I could get on the next flight. Stressful. Yea, may not be for you lol

  • Kay's Ways (@OdashKay)

    Such an awesome post! A friend of mine works for the airlines and offered me one for an upcoming trade show during my birthday weekend. I may have to reconsider taking some of these in effect because I’m not the most patient person in the world, especially when I’m hyped to do something only to get let down. I may just have to budget for a guaranteed ticket.

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you! You can try it out, just know you may or may not get on a flight and all the other things. Hopefully your birthday isn’t around a holiday or spring break and the place you are headed to isn’t super popular.

  • roni

    I fly standby all the time as an employee and you’re right about trying to fly on holidays. I never do it and don’t recommend people with buddy passes doing it. However, if you know how to use the paas correctly you won’t have any issues at all. My friends never get stuck:-)

    • Holly Dayz

      Yes, I have flown standby a ton. It has a ton of pros, but seeing as many people always want the hookup and not realize the cons. I have had a ton of friends want the buddy pass, get one, and then say they are never using one again. I’ve gotten “stuck” but I just make a move to get myself out. You have to know what your doing for sure!

  • Ramona

    I’ve never flown on a buddy pass before. Your experiences sound…scary. I had no idea there were so many situations/circumstances with flying with a buddy pass. Patience is definitely something people must have when flying standby. It’s interesting that you mention the dress code. I’ve heard of people being treated differently based on the way they are dressed.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Holly Dayz

      It isn’t scary. It is just what to keep in mind. Most people think I get a buddy pass and it is all good. That isn’t always the case, it is a little more than that. Patience and time is important just in case. Yea, some airlines require you to dress business casual. Every airline is different.

  • kp3reloaded

    You know I never really used a buddy pass, or knew exactly what it was. So thanks, now I know! And won’t be trying to use that option ever, lol!

  • Spotlight Travels: Barbados with Dear Pricey - HollyDayz Travel

    […] Dayz: I know you flew standby to Barbados, can you relate to my “Passing On Buddy Passes” […]

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