In the travel industry, “standby” typically refers to a mode of travel where a passenger doesn’t have a confirmed reservation or a guaranteed seat on a particular flight, train, or other modes of transportation. Instead, they wait for an available seat to become vacant, either at the last minute or when other passengers cancel or don’t show up.
Here are a few key points related to standby in travel
Standby Tickets: Some airlines offer standby tickets, allowing passengers to wait at the airport in hopes of securing an empty seat on a fully booked flight. These tickets are often cheaper but don’t guarantee a seat.
Employee Standby: Employees of airlines or their family members might travel on standby, utilizing a benefit that allows them to access available seats on flights operated by their airline or partner carriers.
Priority for Standby Passengers: Standby passengers are typically prioritized based on factors like ticket type, frequent flyer status, time of check-in, or other conditions set by the airline or transportation provider.
Risk and Uncertainty: Standby travel can be uncertain. Passengers might need flexibility in their plans as there’s no guarantee of securing a seat on a specific departure.
Standby List: Airlines maintain a standby list where passengers hoping for an available seat are placed in a queue. As seats become available due to cancellations or no-shows, the airline assigns them to passengers on the standby list.
Standby travel can offer cost savings or opportunities for spontaneous travel but requires flexibility and patience as there’s no assurance of securing a seat on a desired departure. It’s a practice commonly used in the airline industry but can also apply to other modes of transportation.
How Do I Know if I Got a Seat on Standby?
Knowing if you’ve secured a seat on standby varies depending on the mode of transportation and the specific procedures of the airline or transport provider. Here’s a general outline:
Airport/Gate Notifications: For airlines, especially with standby flights, announcements are made at the gate indicating if there are available seats for standby passengers. Gate agents often call out names or announce passenger numbers for those who can board.
Electronic Notifications: Some airlines provide electronic notifications via their mobile apps or through SMS alerts to inform passengers on the standby list if a seat becomes available.
Check-In Desk or Counter: Standby passengers might also receive information at the check-in desk or service counter. Staff will typically inform them if they’ve been accommodated on the flight.
Flight Information Displays: At the airport, flight information displays usually show the status of standby passengers, indicating if they’ve been cleared for a seat or if they’re still on standby.
Personal Inquiry: In some cases, especially if waiting at the gate, standby passengers can approach the gate agent or airline staff to inquire about their status on the standby list.
It’s important to pay attention to announcements and stay close to the gate or check-in counter for updates if you’re on standby. Electronic notifications, where available, can also be a reliable way to receive immediate information about seat availability. If uncertain, asking the airline staff directly for your status can provide clarity.