Standby Flights Airlines A-Z

Here’s the truth, standby flights are NOT a cheap option anymore. It used to be the case 10 years ago, but not now. If you want to know how to get cheap flights, you’ve come to the right place. The guides below are full of the latest tricks and tips to help you get some insanely cheap flights. The rest of this article is going to focus on the airlines which still offer standby flights and talk about how you can go about getting them.

The old standby flight when you just used to turn up at the airport without a ticket and try to get the empty seats for a cheap deal are NO longer around. Standby flights these days are for people who already have a ticket but want to transfer onto an earlier flight. Most airlines (with the exception of AirTran and US Airways) also charge a fee for standby flights which makes it not viable if you have  airline tickets under 100 dollars.

Alphabetical List of Airlines And Their Standby Flight Policies

Air Asia

Air Asia does not operate with a standby policy.

Air Berlin

Air Berlin does not operate with a standby policy. Silver, Gold and Platinum Card holders can take advantage of this privilege only.

Air Canada

Air Canada allows eligible passengers and eligible frequent flyer cardholders to switch to a flight earlier that day. The fare is not specified.

Air China

Air China allows you to switch to another flight provided that you pay a fee of  $75. If a flight is early and has ample vacant seats, the standby is free of cost.

Air France

There is no stand by policy with Air France if you do not have a fully flexible ticket. The only reason AF could move you to an earlier flight is if your initial flight is very heavily overbook and they need to free up some space.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand allows you to switch to another flight provided that there are vacant seats on that plane 30 minutes prior to departures. Fares start at $69 per person one way. The fares may vary from destination to destination. Grab-a-seat standby fares are only available for Airpoint members.


Air Tran allows you to fly standby. If you must make a connection, your standby flight will consist of two segments and your ticket price for two segments will be $138. A standby flight using Airtran’s standby tickets are $49-$69 one way to or from most cities (varies from destination to destination).

Alaska Airlines

Standby for an alternate flight on the same day is available for free. Seat availability confirmation would not be known 30 minutes prior to departure. This privilege is given to specific people travelling between certain shuttle market cities. MVP® Gold Mileage Plan members and those travelling in the same reservation are allowed to travel in any circumstances.

All Nippon Airways

All star alliance card holder can switch to an earlier flight free of cost. The information is not specified for other customers. Please contact ANA for more info.

Allegiant Airlines

The fares and conditions of flying standby are not specified, contact Allegiant Air for more info.

American Airlines

AA allows you to fly standby within 12 hours of your desired flight time. A fee of USD $75 has to be paid. All elite class passengers are excluded from this fee restriction.

Austrian Airlines

Austrian Airlines allows you to fly stand-by to ensure more customers. The cost is not specified and the offer is open for all.


Standby fares can only be sold at the airport and if the flight is fully booked. Booking cannot be made online and this is for one way travel only. If you are unable to fly on a standby fare then payments will be directly refunded at the airport.

British Airways

BA doesn’t allow standby if you don’t have a flexible ticket. If you’ve purchased the ticket for £700 to £800, you can enjoy the privileges of a standby policy. The fare is not specified.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific allows you to switch to another flight on the same day. But there are limiting factors such as customers using frequent flier miles may have more limits; customers who bought their tickets through a discount agency or consolidator may also have more limited options.

China Eastern Airlines

If you have flexible ticket and you want to take a diff flight, but the flight is full, so you wait at check in supervisor counter for 1 seat in order to exchange the ticket and get boarding pass. If you have a gold card you can enjoy the services cost and hassle free. A particular cost has to be paid otherwise. If the earlier flight that you wish to board is full, nothing can be done.

China Southern Airlines

China Southern airlines do not operate with a standby policy; contact their head office for more information.


For Premier Executive standby are free even confirmed same-day changes. Whereas Mileage plus Premiers and One Pass Silver members have to pay a fee of $50 to $75. Continental allows changes +/- 24 hours prior to departure.

Delta Air Lines

Delta allows you to change to another flight on the same day (same destination-origin), and charges a confirmation fee of $50 for this service. Delta Diamond, Platinum and Gold frequent flyer members don’t have to pay the $50 fee. Delta also offers upgrades to upper classes on the same flight if you’re willing to pay.


EasyJet does not operate a standby policy for its Passengers.


Emirates standby is for staff, and industry members approved by managers only.

Frontier Airlines

Those traveling on a Classic or Classic Plus ticket, as well as Ascent and Summit level members have the ability to standby for an earlier or later flight without any fee. The fares are as follows:

Economy: $50

Classic: $25

Classic Plus: Free

EarlyReturns® Summit level members: Free on all Fare Options

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines do not allow stand by passengers. A fee of $40 will be charged if any one wishes to switch to an earlier flight.

Japan Airlines

JAL allows its passengers to switch to an earlier flight. This option is subjected to a payment of fees which remains unspecified. It depends on the restrictions associated with the ticket you bought and the number of vacant seats on the new flight.


Standby travel is based on seat availability and is not guaranteed. You may travel one flight prior to your scheduled departure, regardless if it is non-stop or connecting flight. You have to arrive before your original plane departs on the same day. This option is free of cost. Standby travel reservation cannot be done over the phone.


Jetstar allows you to switch to an earlier flight only if booking has been made 24 hours prior to the departure of your original flight. Low prices are charged but switching flights depends solely on availability of seats.


KLM does not operate with a standby policy.

Korean Air

Information not specified. Contact Korean Air for more details.


People with low-fare tickets will not be able to rebook it. If you are holding a full-fare, non-restricted ticked a fee of 50€ will be charged. This depends on the density of vacant seats on the earlier  aircraft.

Norwegian Air Shuttle

Norwegian Air Shuttle allows its customers to change their flight. All changes must be made 30 minutes prior to departure. Customers with fully flexible tickets only can take advantage of his offer for free, others are subjected to payment. Payment is made immediately after the change is confirmed


Qantas allows you to switch to an earlier flight at a high rate of $100. This depends on the density of vacant seats on the new flight. The offer is available for all customers.

Qatar Airways

The information on standby flights is not specified. Please contact Qatar Airways for more information.

Republic Airways

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Ryan Air does not operate with a stand by policy. Once you’ve missed a flight you have to start from the beginning and pay the difference.


SAS allows you to switch to another flight only if you own a flexible ticket. Payment has to be done otherwise. Shifting to an earlier flight depends on the density of vacant seats on that flight.

Singapore Airlines

Elite Silver members can shift to an earlier flight free of cost. This depends on the number of vacant seats on that flight. For other passengers the cost and conditions are not specified hence contact Singapore Airlines for more info.


The information on flying standby on Sky west is not specified. Contact Skywest for more info.


For business class, standby travel between the same destination and on the original date of travel is permitted with no change in fare; however, you may lose the privilege of boarding in the first portion of the “A” group. Others must pay the difference between the original fare and the “Anytime” fare.

With Southwest if you already have a ticket you can ask for an earlier standby flight but you will be asked to pay the difference in price if the flight you want is more expensive. Southwest are the only airline that does this for standby flights. This policy can really sting you if you’ve booked on the cheapest days to fly or at the best time to book flights, sometimes making it not worth your while at  all.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines permit you to switch to an earlier flight. This depends solely on the number of vacant seats on the new aircraft.

Thai Airways

The information on standby flights is not specified. Contact Thai Airways directly for more info.

Turkish Airlines

Star Alliance Gold and Star Alliance Silver Card members receive priority standby listing if they arrive at the airport without any reservations for a specific flight. For more information contact Turkish Airlines.

United Airlines

United Airlines allows you to switch to another flight on the same day, provided that the destination is the same. A fee of USD 75 is charged. 1K passengers, Global Services passengers and premium cabin passengers are excluded to pay this fee.

US Airways

US airways allow you to switch to another airline on the same day. Usually a fee of $50 has to be paid. Policies within other airlines in the US differ in this regard.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic does not operate with a standby policy.


Vueling allows you to switch to an earlier flight free of cost. The change can be made via the sales deck only 2 hours before the new flight departs. This offer is available on some airports. All customers are open to this service.

West jet

West jet operates by a standby policy and charges only $10 to customers who wish to switch to an earlier flight. This offer serves all people and the low cost is to ensure more customers.

Standby Flights Tips

Here’s a few tips for maximizing your chances of getting on the free standby flights offered by AirTran and US Airways. Go for flights on quiet times such as red eye flights, you can check the seat availability through the airlines website. They are more likely to have spare seats at quieter times.

Also, passengers without checked baggage get priority so don’t check any luggage until the last  minute. Get to the airport early to get your name on the standby list. It’s always a first come first  serve basis on standby. If you’re on the list make sure you’re at the departure gate when they call out for the standby passengers or else they’ll move onto the next person on the list.