Buddy passes

Old Jul 8, 13, 9:42 am
  #1  
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Buddy passes

A friend offered me to fly on her buddy passes. Can someone share their expience if you've used them?
kvolvo is offline  
Old Jul 8, 13, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by kvolvo View Post
A friend offered me to fly on her buddy passes. Can someone share their expience if you've used them?
This coming from a crewmember, I would recommend against using them. I almost always refuse to hand out my buddy passes because of the hassle associated with them. Long story short, you pay a small fee, well under published ticket prices, in order to ride on a flight. You are flying on a standby basis and are not guaranteed a seat. There's a good chance that you may miss several flights before getting a seat. You are boared after all revenue standby's, company must-rides, and company non-revs. Any changes to your travel plans and you must go through the crewmember which can be painful if the crewmember is unreachable when you need them. You MUST MUST MUST be on your best behaviour when on a buddy pass because one slip can cost the crewmember their job. With flights running at or near capacity it is becoming more and more difficult to free-load on airlines any more.

That being said if it works out if can be an extremely cheap way to travel however you have to be EXTREMELY flexible in your travel plans and understanding that nothing is guaranteed to you because you are a non-rev on a buddy pass
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Old Jul 8, 13, 11:08 am
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If you expect to go anywhere during Spring Break or during the holidays you will be out of luck. If you are flexible and flying off times and start early in the day you have better odds.

If you can't afford to spend an extra night in your destination (either because of hotel fees or time off from work) then I wouldn't suggest it.
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Old Jul 8, 13, 3:14 pm
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I echo JetBlueFA's comments about the need to be EXTREMELY flexible and on your absolute BEST behavior. I'll also add that you should not opt to fly on a pass, unless you're willing and able to purchase a (very expensive) ticket at the last minute should you NEED to get to where you're going or return home ASAP. Also, keep in mind that there are numerous factors that come into play leading up to departure that may alter (both in or not in your favor) your odds of receiving a seat. With all that said, pass riding is an awesome privilege. Just make sure you're fully informed of the DOs and DON'Ts.
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Old Jul 8, 13, 3:48 pm
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I don't even give out my buddy passes due to the headache of dealing with a friend who get stuck (exception being if I'm flying with them, then they share employee priority). Flights are extremely full these days, last minute airfare can be sky high, and hotel+rental car+ eating out the first night of getting stuck typically exceeds any savings.

If you do use them, always leave on the first flight out of the day, always plan 1-2 days of getting stuck and standby around at the airport (paying airport bar/food prices), and be willing to risk not getting to even go on your vacation if you get stuck leaving. IMO not worth it.

We jokingly call them "strand a friend tickets"
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Old Jul 8, 13, 4:27 pm
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All of the above are very, very helpful pieces of advice.

You're an "employee" by proxy so you must present yourself with the utmost respect and courtesy. If you don't clear the flight do not beg, plead or cause a scene. You are not getting on!

As the brother of a JB crewmember I've been fortunate to have had access to the buddy pass benefit. In 10 years, though, I may have used 4 buddy passes. I take them rarely as I hate the nail-biting stress at the gate. You won't know anything until after EVERYONE has boarded and you're still sitting there as each standby gets picked off.

Your friend should track the loads of the flight(s) you intend to take. The friend should also track the list of other standbys. You will be the lowliest of the status rank of standbys however checking in as early as possible will get you a jump over another lowly standby like yourself.

I practically always decline my sister's offer to come visit on a pass.
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Old Jul 8, 13, 7:29 pm
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And one other word of advice - IF you are lucky enough to get on the plane, do NOT tell the person sitting next to you about how your are flying for $X on a buddy pass. It won't go well with the person and if you are heard saying this....bad things can happen for your friend.
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Old Jul 11, 13, 10:06 am
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I agree with what most has been stated above, however, I do not have any problem giving them out. The catch, they only go out to people I KNOW can handle the non-rev operation and are extremely flexible.

The people I have given passes to are mostly former airline employees and a few relatives that are grateful to get them. (My travel companion is a former inflight crewmember with us). They know my job is on the line if they misbehave. I also make sure loads are wide open.

Good luck!
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Old Jul 11, 13, 12:03 pm
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I use passes frequently, not on JetBlue but another airline, and I've had good luck. But I'm considered the "companion" of an employee so maybe I have higher status than a "buddy" pass? Not sure about that. I have companion status even when we're not traveling together. I only use the passes when I can be extremely flexible. Only one time I did not make it to my destination on the day I wanted to be there. I had to do an overnight in St. Louis enroute SEA-AUS on a holiday weekend as this was the only connection I could get, all other flights were full. Not a big deal to me, I got a cheap hotel at STL and arrived AUS the next morning. If I absolutely have to be somewhere, I buy a ticket. Another thing, never check a bag when flying non-rev. And take the smallest carry-on you can get by with, because you quite likely will end up in a middle seat with all overhead bins full.
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Old Jul 11, 13, 1:09 pm
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Originally Posted by WNHHTraveler View Post
I use passes frequently, not on JetBlue but another airline, and I've had good luck. But I'm considered the "companion" of an employee so maybe I have higher status than a "buddy" pass? Not sure about that. I have companion status even when we're not traveling together. I only use the passes when I can be extremely flexible. Only one time I did not make it to my destination on the day I wanted to be there. I had to do an overnight in St. Louis enroute SEA-AUS on a holiday weekend as this was the only connection I could get, all other flights were full. Not a big deal to me, I got a cheap hotel at STL and arrived AUS the next morning. If I absolutely have to be somewhere, I buy a ticket. Another thing, never check a bag when flying non-rev. And take the smallest carry-on you can get by with, because you quite likely will end up in a middle seat with all overhead bins full.
To my knowledge, every US airline allows Employees as well as their travel partners, domestic partners, children, wives, and parents to board before buddy passes. JetBlue I know does.
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Old Jul 11, 13, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by jj1987 View Post
To my knowledge, every US airline allows Employees as well as their travel partners, domestic partners, children, wives, and parents to board before buddy passes. JetBlue I know does.
Good to know, Southwest uses the term "companion pass" which I think is kind of strange, but whatever works, right?! You can designate any one person to have companion privileges, you don't have to be married, partnered, etc. or even live together, which is nice. I suspected that I have higher status than others as they have pulled other non-revs off before but not me.
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Old Jul 11, 13, 5:24 pm
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it's also helpful to be flying where they have several flights a day rather then just one...
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Old Jul 11, 13, 9:27 pm
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Buddy Passes can be a blessing and a curse, if done right they can be awesome, if done poorly, can be a nightmare.

My best advice, use them smartly have the employee look up and track the flight loads.
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