Flying Standby to London on Buddy Passes

Jan 21st, 2008, 12:13 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Flying Standby to London on Buddy Passes

Hi, everyone!

A friend, who is a flight attendant, is giving me three D3 (I think) buddy passes. I am considering taking my parents on their first trip to Europe (they've travelled to Canada and Mexico -- my dad's gone to Ecuador -- but never to Europe). Due to some info I saw here, I think the best time frame for our purposes, and for getting seats, will be late November or early December. I'd love to go in warmer months with more daylight hours, but we won't be financially ready to go this Spring, and it sounds impossible to get seats in early fall or summer.

A few questions:

1. We live in San Antonio, TX. Would it be advisable to fly to Dallas early on our proposed day of departure, and then hope to catch one of the flights out for London? We're flying on American, so I figure there will be more flights (and more chances to fly) coming out of an American Airlines hub city.

2. My folks have never travelled to Europe before. What are the chances that all three of us could get onto a flight together? I imagine we'd fly mid-week to increase our chances. I can only imagine the logistical nightmare of finding each other on the other end if I got separated from them on this first trip over.

3. Does each person need to have a D3 pass for each leg of the trip, or will one pass work for connecting flights? For instance, if we make it onto a flight that has a connection in Chicago, will each person have to present an additional pass for the Chicago to London leg of the trip? What about return tickets?

4. I know we have to pay taxes on our "free" tickets. Anybody know what the taxes and/or fees run these days?

5. How do we check the status of the flights prior to our departure to see if they're getting full? Do I need to enlist my airline employee friend's help with this?

I guess that's enough for now. Thanks for any advice you can give!

Linds
Linds is offline  
Jan 21st, 2008, 01:18 PM
  #2  
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topping...

Anyone? Bueller???

Linds is offline  
Jan 21st, 2008, 04:32 PM
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As an experienced AA non-rev'er here are some answers.

1) Yes you should get to your gateway city early in the day. You might consider Chicago as your Gateway, as it has a lot more flights each day than Dallas.
2) It all depends on flight loads, mid-week in November might be ok. Your AA contact can keep you informed of flight loads when it gets close. But flying standby you have to be prepared for every possible thing that might go wrong. If you cannot split, you should not even consider standby.
3) Your D-3 pass will be good for connecting flights. You will each need 2 D-3's for each person, one for departure and one for return.
4) One buddy pass will cost approximately $200 each way.
5) The best way to check is to have your AA friend do it. You could buy a subscription to expertflyer.com and do it yourself.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
xRoadWarrior is offline  
Jan 21st, 2008, 06:55 PM
  #4  
 
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xRoadWarrior has given you the nuts and bolts info. Sounds like s/he will be a good resource.

I can give some advice about one of your questions . . I can only imagine the logistical nightmare of finding each other on the other end if I got separated from them on this first trip over."

There shouldn't be any logistical nightmares. It is easy to get from any London airport into the city center. So have a pre-plan to go to your hotel. Don't even try to meet at the airport if you end up on different flights. Dropping bags at the hotel and/or checking in is the best thing to do. Then you can wait for each other. And it would probably be a good idea to get tri-band cell phones to keep in touch.
janisj is online now  
Jan 21st, 2008, 07:14 PM
  #5  
 
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Repost on the airport forum. There are some AA experts that hang out there. Add AA to your title when you repost.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:50 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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I know this is stating the obvious (and am sure you already know) but didn't see it discussed so thought I'd mention it just in case - don't plan on checking any luggage. Take only what you can pack in carry on. Your chances of getting on standby go up immearsuably if the agents know you have no luggage to check.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:55 AM
  #7  
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Thank you all so much for the pointers! I didn't know you needed separate D3's for each direction on a round-trip flight. And the taxes! Ouch! We may have to suck it up and just look for airfare deals. Not sure if this will happen now with the horrendous fuel costs, but I've managed to find round-trip tickets to London from San Antonio for about $450...with tax! Might be worth it to spend a little extra to ensure my parents and I all arrive together in London. Not to mention the issue with luggage, as pointed out by dfr4848.

xRoadWarrior -- excellent info! Thanks! I'll look into that subscription. Even if I don't use the D3s for a trip with my folks, I'd still like to use them for me, and that site will be invaluable.

And thank you, JanisJ. I can't believe I didn't think of that. Duh!!! I'm used to sleeping on my friend's couch when I go to London (I've never needed a hotel), so the hotel didn't occur to me.

kybourbon (great name, btw!) -- I'll check out the airport forum. Thanks!
Linds is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:59 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Yes, I think that's a really good price for London. Probably best to save the buddy passes for a less-fraught situation.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 11:02 AM
  #9  
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Oh, I guess I should have clarified. That $450 fare from San Antonio to London was back in February 2006! Not sure whether I would be so lucky these days!
Linds is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 11:07 AM
  #10  
 
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I don't see why paying more to arrive together is worth the tab. Since you can't predict where or when the flights will arrive, meet at the hotel.

Use cell phones to rendez-vous at a nearby pub or park. (Any dual-band Europe phone will work, such as the $49 offering at telestial.com.)
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 03:06 PM
  #11  
 
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"That $450 fare from San Antonio to London was back in February 2006!" I spent $380 back in 2006 to fly to London from SFO - can't get even close to that now. Flying to London nowadays will cost MUCH more than 2 years ago. Just the fuel surcharges, new taxes, fees and so on will add a couple of hundred $$ w/o even addressing fare increases since then.

I think the sticker shock may convince you to use the buddy passes.
janisj is online now  

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