Travel Tips

The Pros and Cons of Flying Standby

Dan Kay
7 min readSep 20, 2023
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

If you’re a frequent traveler, chances are you may have heard about the possibility of flying standby. If you’re not a frequent traveler, you may be wondering: what is flying standby, and why would I want to do it?

What Is Flying Standby?

Put simply, when flying standby, you don’t have a guaranteed seat. If there are empty or unsold seats on the airplane when it is ready to leave, your standby ticket entitles you to one of those seats.

If there are no unsold seats, or more people trying to fly standby than there are open seats — you could be in trouble.

Flying standby is reserved for airline employees, friends and family of employees flying on ‘buddy passes,’ and passengers bumped from previous canceled flights. Occasionally, if a flight is overbooked, airlines will offer financial incentives for passengers to fly standby on a later flight.

So How Can I Fly Standby?

Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

Generally, knowing an airline employee is the simplest way to get standby tickets. Flight attendant, baggage handler, pilot… lots of people work hard…



Dan Kay

Always adventurous. Occasionally political. I write creative stories about life, love, climbing and travel.