Standby flying has always been a bit of a mystery to me, as I've heard stories of people flying standby to foreign countries for half the cost of a reserved ticket, but never seen a way to do it. Even after interviewing a few ticket agents, it seems impossible to do this these days, but I do have a standby trick you can use to make flying cheaper and more flexible.
Vegas is a lot of fun for a few days, and grows tiresome beyond that. When I played low limit poker I could easily play for a dozen hours a day for a solid week, but as I've crept up the ladder, I find the game more intense and draining. After six days in Vegas, Christophe and I were ready to take our winnings and stop playing. The only problem is that we had a 10pm flight, and we'd had our fill of food and poker by 1pm. For us, there's not much to do in Vegas besides eat and gamble.
Most people don't know that a guaranteed ticket for a day also allows you, at the airline's discretion, to take any other flight they have that day to the same destination. If we had paid for a 6am flight and skipped it, we could have tried to get on later flights for free, but having the last flight of the day made it easy for us to try for earlier flights. We just showed up, got on the standby list, and took the 6:10pm flight in time to eat at Gracias Madre in SF for dinner.
You can also use this trick to turn a one-stop flight into a nonstop flight, even if the nonstop is more expensive. On my way back from Austin to SF I had booked a flight that connected through LA. It's not terribly out of the way, but the one hour layover adds to the total travel time. Given my aversion to flights with layovers, it must have been significantly more expensive to get a direct flight when I booked the ticket. On the day of the flight, however, it was as simple as going to the nonstop gate and asking to take the nonstop flight on standby. There were extra seats, so I was able to get home early.
This trick involves some risk-- you may have to take your original flight, especially during busy times. But it's nice to know about these rules to give yourself a little flexibility when your situation warrants it.
Photo is a terrible photo out the window of a plane because apparently I haven't ever taken a picture in an airport or airplane besides this.
Upcoming travel! Next month I start on a three month trip through Japan, Shanghai (24 hours), Berlin, Mallorca, Panama, and some other places.
We've been making TONS of progress with our startup. It's getting close enough to functional that I can feel what it will be like when completed -- very excited about it. Once we have our logo finished I'll announce the name, which won't really reveal anything useful.
Reminds me of somthing my uncle does here in the UK. He just turns up at the airport on a weekday passport in hand, walks upto the ticket desk and says "whats cheap today?". A total random cheap trip awaits.
I think this trick varies by airline. You can fly standby as noted in the article, but some airlines will charge you the difference in the flight.
Here is a good website for flying standby, they offer super cheap tickets, with the stipulation that you will have to wait for another day if the flight sells out: http://www.airtech.com/
I used something similar to it to fly from Boston to Ireland for $99.
I've asked to switch to an earlier flight before which usually involves moving my confirmed seat to another confirmed seat on the earlier flight...but in order to fly standby on, say, that direct flight, don't they make you cancel your confirmed flight first before they move you to standby?
I hadn't heard of this trick before, thanks for the heads up! Too bad flying standby doesn't work anymore, although finding the best last-minute plane deals is pretty much the same thing. Expedia has a last-minute deal section to it's website where you just select your departure city and it will find the best last-minute deals out of that city. The drawback? All of the departure cities are in the US, and as far as I can tell, all of the destinations are in the US as well. There are some other small websites I have found as well for last-minute tickets, as long as you're flexible!
As anyone who follows my tweets knows, I'm going to be doing the JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet promotion. Because I'm flexible, I saved $200 and bought the five day pass for $500, which means that I can't fly on Friday or Sunday. The pass entitles me to fly from September 7th until October 6th for free on all JetBlue flights. This includes all taxes in the US, but not outside the US. I've been thinking about the best way to use this pass, and I'm going to share my strategy with you, in case you bought one as well.
There aren't all that many places in the US I want to go. Within a month or two of the promotion I will have been to NY, Boston, Austin and LA, which covers most of my bases. So I'm mostly seeing this as a ticket to get HUGE discounts on international travel for a month.
I know everyone is getting bored of Cathay, and I'm trying to get back on interesting strategic content, philosophy, etc. But hey, I want to give credit where it's due - they've started to de-escalate and get reasonable.
Some facts here are wrong, and there's some omissions. But anyways, I appreciate this Joseph.
I filmed a video reply (that's friendly!) and I'll post it later. Really, it's entertaining.
Anyways, they're originally saying I caused a gigantic disturbance and was a huge problem, then I said I was going to bring tons of legal action against them (which, y'know, usually means they'd want to preserve their leverage by holding everything over my head that they can), and yet now they just filed no complaints, no charges, and cleared me to fly. That's interesting, isn't it?
From: Customer-Relations Subject: Re: MR SEBASTIAN MARSHALL - 26 December 2011 / KA 482 / Hong Kong to Taipei (KMM10053232I15977L0KM) Date: January 4, 2012 11:02:28 AM GMT+08:00 To: Sebastian