$25 standby fee when 60+ seats empty????

Old Jun 27, 2005, 3:33 pm
  #1  
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Thumbs down $25 standby fee when 60+ seats empty????

I was in Charlotte on Thursday and was early for my 9:35pm to PVD. Decided to try and jump on the 7:10pm. The agent was very helpful and said the plane was "wide open." He got through with all of his checking and said it would cost me $25 to do it. I am a Premier Exec on United and had been Gold Preferred until ths year with US Air. United never charges a standby fee. The agents insisted that all airlines charge the fee and if I wanted to get on the earlier flight I would need to pay. Needless to say I paid to save myself 2 hours but its a matter of principle over the money. There were over 60 seats open on the plane. Why offend a good customer for $25? Should I even bother contacting US Air? If so, any suggestions on who to contact?

Thanks

Todd
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 3:57 pm
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That's the policy at US. I think for a few years now. It's one of the reasons why I switched most of my flying to United. My employer won't pay the fee and I'd rather catch an earlier flight to be home with the family. CP at US for the last two years. Did a status match and now only 20 k miles short of 1k on United. Dumb mistake for US!
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 4:05 pm
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And here's the real catch. If your agent screws up like mine did, and doesn't charge you the fee, but lets you on, your return ticket will be cancelled since, naturally, you weren't on your original outbound. Loved that. A lot.
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 4:07 pm
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Originally Posted by tan70ri
I was in Charlotte on Thursday and was early for my 9:35pm to PVD. Decided to try and jump on the 7:10pm. The agent was very helpful and said the plane was "wide open." He got through with all of his checking and said it would cost me $25 to do it. I am a Premier Exec on United and had been Gold Preferred until ths year with US Air. United never charges a standby fee. The agents insisted that all airlines charge the fee and if I wanted to get on the earlier flight I would need to pay. Needless to say I paid to save myself 2 hours but its a matter of principle over the money. There were over 60 seats open on the plane. Why offend a good customer for $25? Should I even bother contacting US Air? If so, any suggestions on who to contact?

Thanks

Todd
While the agent shouldn't have said all airlines charge....US does give you the benefit of confirming you on all available segements if possible for the $25 - something UA would only do as an exception to the rule.

Furthermore, just be happy you're not on WN where going standby will always cost more than $25 and could cost up to $400 (must upgrade the entire ticket to full-fare).
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 4:42 pm
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I'd take Greyhound before I'd fly Southwest.
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 4:44 pm
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But if you fly on US via a UA codeshare (with a UA ticket), there's no change fee. Figure that double standard.

That's also true if you fly on UA segments with a US ticket... changes are free on UA and if you have status your US status helps too (along with E+ seats in advance if available).

Then again... I flew the brown buses about 10 years ago from MDW-MCI. I did a standby on a flight departing about 90 minutes earlier than my scheduled departure. I paid the difference (almost the price of the one-way fare I had paid), the flight became delayed, and the original flight ended up leaving before the flight I switched to. And NO, they would not refund my $$ nor put me back on my original flight (which was not full). I think I've only flown them once since in a market that no one else competed in (and won't again unless absolutely positively necessary).

Last edited by jimcfsus; Jun 27, 2005 at 4:48 pm
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 4:51 pm
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It was a United ticket!

I was on a UA ticket $530 and the flight I was scheduled on was a US Air codeshare. Should I not have been charged the fee?

Originally Posted by jimcfsus
But if you fly on US via a UA codeshare (with a UA ticket), there's no change fee. Figure that double standard.

That's also true if you fly on UA segments with a US ticket... changes are free on UA and if you have status your US status helps too (along with E+ seats in advance if available).

Then again... I flew the brown buses about 10 years ago from MDW-MCI. I did a standby on a flight departing about 90 minutes earlier than my scheduled departure. I paid the difference (almost the price of the one-way fare I had paid), the flight became delayed, and the original flight ended up leaving before the flight I switched to. And NO, they would not refund my $$ nor put me back on my original flight (which was not full). I think I've only flown them once since in a market that no one else competed in (and won't again unless absolutely positively necessary).
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 4:55 pm
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Originally Posted by tan70ri
I was on a UA ticket $530 and the flight I was scheduled on was a US Air codeshare. Should I not have been charged the fee?
That's correct. UA tickets do not have change fees, even on US codeshares. I'd be writing a letter/email to consumer affairs on both airlines and complain if I were you.
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by djlndc
I'd take Greyhound before I'd fly Southwest.
I'm going to call "bull$#!t" on that.
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by jimcfsus
That's correct. UA tickets do not have change fees, even on US codeshares. I'd be writing a letter/email to consumer affairs on both airlines and complain if I were you.
It's also fare-specific at US (as though then could make it more convoluted). I stood by Sunday for free on a Q-fare. The folks next to me at the GA stand were asked for $25 each and took a pass as the agent wouldn't confirm their seats even if they paid the fee. Go figure...
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 6:50 pm
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On US, I have good luck asking gate agents for flight changes. Batting 100% on the last 2 or 3 changes, confirmed change on the spot without a fee. On NWA, batting %100 from the kiosk. Kiosk said it was going to charge a fee, but didn't. Finally on Delta batting 50% 1 for 2. Second time also got on an earlier flight, but did have to pay a $25 fee for a confirmed seat. Bottom line, ask gate agents rather than counter check in agents and be very polite. If they have space available, it works most of the time. YMMV...

--Jon
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 9:17 pm
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In HP's "business friendly" LCC model, there is no such fee. You can standby for any flight on the same day at no charge. (In fact, if a flight is wide open and you check in at the kiosk, it will offer you the ability to go an earlier flight and, assuming you say yes, will issue a boarding pass and seat assignment on the earlier flight straight-away.) HP adopted this policy when they eliminated the Saturday night stay requirement. I would expect this to be part of the new US/HP structure as well (though probably at the expense of something else).
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Old Jun 27, 2005, 10:57 pm
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World
In HP's "business friendly" LCC model, there is no such fee. You can standby for any flight on the same day at no charge. (In fact, if a flight is wide open and you check in at the kiosk, it will offer you the ability to go an earlier flight and, assuming you say yes, will issue a boarding pass and seat assignment on the earlier flight straight-away.) HP adopted this policy when they eliminated the Saturday night stay requirement. I would expect this to be part of the new US/HP structure as well (though probably at the expense of something else).
That would be nice but not sure if sustainable. AC's also very successful low fare model has substantial standby fees on the lower fares although they do confirm you on any seat on any flight regardless of fare bucket. It's one of the things that encourages people to "buy up" to the next fare level at time of booking for about $30 a segment - much lower standby fee as well as increased miles and free seat selection. Since the lowest fare is designed to compete with the LCC fares, having people buy up for more services covers their higher costs nicely - and seems to be working. Expect more airlines to adopt a structure like that.
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Old Jun 28, 2005, 4:14 am
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I think it always depends on the day, time and cehck-in agent.
I also had recently made use of the standby flight chaneg on US. Despite expecting a fee of $25, the agent changed the flight without even asking a fee.
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Old Jun 28, 2005, 7:38 am
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Last year while traveling PHL to CDG, since we were at the airport early we paid the standby fee to get on the earlier of the two flights. The counter agent was very helpful, confirmed our (good) seats and charged us the fee. About 15 minutes later I checked back to ask a question, and she noticed that the early flight was now delayed and likely to leave later than the original (later) flight. She offered to rebook us back on our original flight and refunded our standby fees. (We were only traveling with a carry-on each.) Very nice service!
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