My husband has a friend who works for AA and has offered to give our family some of his buddy passes. How does this work? Do we pick a destination and just go standby? Can any advance reservations be made? My husband is worried about making hotel reservations and other arrangements, and then having the air portion of the trip fall through. Any advice would be appreciated.
Yes you can get on any flight, subject to availability. There are no reservations possible. Your friend should be able to tell you what the flight loads look like. If you miss the first flight you just stand-by for the next flight.
With a little planning, and picking the right destination, these tickets could be quite valuable.
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Well just don't try going to Hawaii on them or any other popular destination and you should be fine.
Here are some of the rules the rest are on the coupons.
You fly standby and are at the bottom of the standby list below any revenue passengers and below any employees.
You will get the worst seats on the plane back of cabin and generally a middle seat.
If meals are served on your flight you have to call in ahead for them. Your friend will get charged a tax on the tickets.
Try taking the first flight out of the day.
I wish you well,I have flown on them several years ago and for me I would never try it again but hey if you have the time and patients go for it.
Buddy passes (D-3 passes) can be a great thing to have, if you're flexible. There's never a guarantee of getting on board, since cancellations and such can make even the emptiest flights full, but if you are flexible you can usually make them work. Some destinations are nearly impossible at times, and AA actually issues a D-3 embargo every summer prohibiting buddy pass travel to Hawaii or Europe.
While it's true that you have just about the lowest priority of all the people on the standby list (you would be above 2 groups... D-3 travelers who checked in after you and pilots of other airlines attempting to jumpseat), that doesn't necessarily mean that you will be in a middle seat, or even in coach. I'm sure we've all been on flights that have departed with emoty seats in F and J. I travelled with a friend who was flying D-3 last weekend, and not only did she clear to first, we even got seats next to each other.
Speaking specifically to AA's pass program, D-3 travels pay the same charge for F, J, and Y on domestic flights other than JFK-LAX/SFO, while you have to pay for upgrades on International Flagship Service flights and the LAX/SFO-JFK transcons. While your friend can provide you exact pass charges, I can tell you that you will pay the same for any single flight between a US gateway and Europe or South America, and a higher flat charge for any segment to/from Tokyo; that is, IFS flights are charged flat fees, rather than by milage. AA charges D-3 travelers (as well as D-2 travelers) on a per-segment basis, so LAX-DFW-MIA would cost more than LAX-MIA nonstop, for example.
One more thing to remember, try not to wear jeans or tennis shoes or t-shirts. Sometimes..every once in awhile the only seats we have left will be in F class, and if the person traveling on the D-3 pass isnt dressed properly by company guidelines for first class, they will be denied transportation. This is especially inconvenient if you are on the last flight or the next flights are all full. Also children under 6, including infants are not allowed in F class on passes.
Company guidelines for F -- do you mean on a pass or in general? I've sat in F/J many times in shorts/sandles!
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by AAchick: One more thing to remember, try not to wear jeans or tennis shoes or t-shirts. Sometimes..every once in awhile the only seats we have left will be in F class, and if the person traveling on the D-3 pass isnt dressed properly by company guidelines for first class, they will be denied transportation. This is especially inconvenient if you are on the last flight or the next flights are all full. Also children under 6, including infants are not allowed in F class on passes. </font>
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by AAchick: and if the person traveling on the D-3 pass isnt dressed properly by company guidelines for first class, they will be denied transportation. </font>
I'll share my experiences with the D3, but I haven't flown non-rev since 9/11, so this may have changed.
First, I've found flying non-rev generally to be not worth the effort. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting at the gate waiting to see if you will get a seat, only to encounter a revenue passenger showing up at the last minute, possibly taking your seat. Then, once you DO board (IF you get a seat), you'll generally find no overhead bin space, so your bags end up getting checked. (Remember, you're flying non-rev, so complaining about it is not a good idea).
My wife and I tried to fly on a D3 to LAS from MIA, and we ended up having to spend one night at DFW after being denied seats on full flights over and over again. When you think of the loss of one day of vacation, plus hotel, plus cab fare, that D3 doesn't seem worth it.
That's the bad news. The great news is, if you want to fly International and you're not in the middle of peak season (non-rev travel is blocked during parts of the year), great deals can be had. We managed to fly F RT MIA-CDG and we paid about $200 total for the two of us. I'm told it's not a cheap ticket!
One word of advice: if you want to fly F as a non-rev, you need to be meallisted 48 hours in advance. Otherwise, even with room in F, they won't give you the seat. You can
call AA reservations during non-peak hours, just tell the agent you're a non-rev and you want to be meallisted for flight x on date y.
Last thing, post 9/11, the employee giving you the D3 needs to furnish AA with your passport number or other ID prior to your showing up at the gate, I'm told.
Bottom line -- in my experience, flying domestic on a D3 is a waste if you can plan the trip in advance. Long-hauls can pay off nicely, but only if you know the flights are not overbooked.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Joyce15: My husband has a friend who works for AA and has offered to give our family some of his buddy passes. How does this work? Do we pick a destination and just go standby? Can any advance reservations be made? My husband is worried about making hotel reservations and other arrangements, and then having the air portion of the trip fall through. Any advice would be appreciated.</font>
Most important is that the AA employee has registered you at the JetNet Website. Your names are entered in the AA system with some personal info (SS nbr, license nbr, etc.)
Something that has not been mentioned, you need to be very nice to the agents as well as do not sit at the desk asking if you are going to make the flight or keep going up to the agents to ask. We always tried to be discrete and extremely polite. (Sitting away from the counter)
As most have said it is a great cost savings on the tickets but, you can loose a day or more waiting on flights. The only time I enjoyed it was going to London over a New Year's Eve in First everything seemed great until we tried to come home. The flight before ours was cancelled and they were placing all the pax from the previous flight on to ours. Needless to say 8 hours at LHR was not fun as well as explaining to my boss why I was not able to come in to work due to the flight.
After several other problems with passes I decided to spend the money on tickets rather than all the hassels of the pass.
EVERYONE knows that the airline business is a mess. United Airlines, operating in bankruptcy, just succeeded in punting four employee pension plans, covering 122,000 people, to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation - and, hence, taxpayers. Delta Airlines lost $5.2 billion last year, its worst performance in 70 years of operations. Other airlines, including American, have been allowed by Congress to defer up to 80 percent of their pension obligations.
Pretty dire, all around.
So when an American Airlines flight attendant stood up at the company's annual meeting last Wednesday and suggested how the company could save an estimated $50 million a year, you'd think its executives would have leapt out of their seats with joy. Instead, they hemmed, hawed, said they were looking into the idea and shortly thereafter declared the meeting over.
The flight attendant was Patti Haddon, who had traveled all the way from New York to attend the annual meeting of the AMR Corporation, the airline's parent, in Fort Worth. She is also an AMR shareholder.
Once there, she proposed that the company's executives should revamp the system of travel perks received by thousands of people who don't even work for American. Ms. Haddon said at the meeting that the travel privileges extended to an estimated 70,000 people who are not American employees are, by her calculation, a $50 million-a-year luxury the airline cannot afford.