FF ticket AM, stand-by PM

Old Jan 21st, 2006, 10:41 PM
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FF ticket AM, stand-by PM

Yesterday afternoon, while my DIL was in labor, I checked flights and found fares of $220. Last night our first grandchild was born, but because my son & DIL are religious, I couldn't speak to them about exactly when we should come until this evening, plus we wanted to coordinate visits with her parents. Now the fare is $600. Yikes!!

I have a discount coupon for my husband, so he got a $199 fare. I booked my ticket using FF miles. BUT---he's coming home Sunday evening, and I could only book for Sunday morning. Two reservations clerks advised me not to go to my AM flight, but show up standby for his evening one. They said that with the number of tickets currently unsold, and the high price of tickets now, they were confident that I'd get on the plane. They said they give this advice "all the time."

Has anyone ever done this?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 01:30 AM
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I think you are getting very bad advice and would not follow it unless I had something in writing. This sounds like an important trip and I smell a real mess starting.

I am under the impression that one can show up early for a flight and try to fly standby on an earlier flight, not a later one - but that is on a paid ticket, not a free one.

It may be different for free tickets, but I doubt it is easier than with a paid ticket. I would GUESS that the airline FF program would make you pay to redeposit the miles and then re-issue a new ticket.

I am curious about the part of your post saying you could only book for Sunday AM - that perhaps means that there were no FF seats available for later flight. Each flight has only a certain number, from 0 on up, of FF seats that they will issue. While this number may change, just because you have miles and they have seats does not mean you get one of those for free with miles. So the number of actual empty seats on the plane may have little to do with whether or not you can get a free seat.

Sometimes one can get FF seats for minimum number of miles on less desirable flights only - early AM, late PM, more connections, which may be why you got this seat.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 03:13 AM
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abram, I suspect policies vary by airline. What I do know is that on my carrier of choice, someone holding a reward ticket (i.e. booked with frequent flyer miles) can show up early on the day of their flight and fly standby on an earlier plane. This is, of course, on a space-available basis.

However, with my airline, the opposite does not work. You can't fly standby on a later flight. The airline sees you as someone who has missed their flight.

You didn't mention which carrier you are booked on. You might try posting your question on FlyerTalk (www.flyertalk.com, click on the link to the "miles and points" forum, and then look through "airline programs" for the name of your carrier. You'll have to register to post a question.) There are people on FT who know all the details of their airline programs and who will be happy to help you out with your question.

Good luck, and congratulations on the birth of your first grandchild!

Anselm

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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 03:49 AM
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Some airlines can charge you a small amount to guarantee a same-day switch on the travel day. If that's available, do it. If not, then there's a real risk you may lose your ticket altogether if the later flight is suddenly full or something happens.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 05:25 AM
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I agree with rkkwan. Either have it arranged in advance with the carrier or don't do it.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 06:39 AM
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Coincidentally, I just got a phone call and email from UA regarding a FF itinerary for February.

They had changed my departure (because of flight cancellation) to a much earlier time. I researched other options, called, and even though there were seats on later flights, I could not switch my ticket to many of these because there were no FF tickets available. So again, don't just assume that if there are seats, you can have one.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 06:42 AM
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The airline is Midwest Express, and I don't think that two different clerks would have told me that they frequently give this advise if it doesn't work.

My ticket says: Same-day standby travel is permitted for the ticketed itinerary.

I appreciate everyone's concern and thoughtful answers.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 07:25 AM
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Well, as I said in my first response, I would want it in writing - I guess you have it - as long as that applies to FF tickets.

And as far as 2 clerks telling you something - there are numerous posts here about people being told all sorts of wrong things by airline reservation agents - customer service these days on airlines is of such variable quality.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 07:27 AM
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What I have in writing came directly from my FF miles ticket. My husband's paid ticket doesn't have that particular "ticketing notice", so I'm guessing that it applies to FF tickets.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 07:37 AM
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Yes, you can try it and it sounds like you stand a good chance of having it work out. No, it is not guaranteed. I have no experience with Midwest Express but know that as a general rule what is told verbally over the phone has no enforcability. Often agents will stop short of breaking the rules (outright changing the ticket or saying you will for sure be accommodated) but let you know that this is an option and, based on current conditions it looks good (but the risk remains yours.)
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 03:58 PM
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The phone agents are correct that you get same day <b>stand-by</b> for no charge. Note, it's stand-by, not change. If you think the risk is low, then go for it then. But don't tell us afterwards that you couldn't get on at the end and have to buy a new ticket.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 04:19 PM
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So when I ask if anyone has done this, and people who haven't give me advice, and I don't follow their advice, then I'm not permitted to report back on what happened?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 04:42 PM
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You're always welcomed to post to your experience, and the fact is that you have a good chance of getting those standbys. Those are not our point. Our point is that this move is not risk-free. That's all.

Again, the risk is whether that later flight will be operating and whether there will actually be empty seats.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 09:26 PM
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If you do go stand-by you should be prepared to spend the night there and flying back home on Monday.

Simply not go to your morning flight sounds like a bad idea. After you arrive you should call Midwest. Get put on the stand-by list for the later flight and cancel your AM flight reservation.

I see you posted on 1/22, very early, so I suppose your return flight is on the 29th? Did you check the fare again that afternoon? See what fares they have Monday morning. Also call back this week to see if an award seat becomes available.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:04 AM
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I have checked the fares again yesterday and this morning, and they have not gone down. Of course, we will continue to check.

We plan to call the FF department daily to see if a seat has opened up.
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Old Jan 29th, 2006, 08:23 PM
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My husband called the FF department Friday and sweet talked them into opening up another FF seat for me on his evening flight. All's well that ends well!
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