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Standby on earlier flight on UA award ticket

Standby on earlier flight on UA award ticket

Old Jul 7, 22, 12:29 pm
  #1  
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Standby on earlier flight on UA award ticket

I'm looking at booking an award ticket from HND-SYD-BNE via UA, where HND-SYD is on NH and SYD-BNE is VA. Based on award availability and a 2 hour MCT, UA is only showing a 6+ hour connection in SYD, though it looks like this route is flown every hour/half-hour. Assuming I make it through customs quickly, does VA have a process for going standby on an earlier flight? And if so, does it matter that I'm on a UA award ticket? I do have UA*G status, which affords a number of priority benefits with VA, not sure if standby is one of them. Can't find anything on UA or VA's website on this -- anyone have firsthand experience here?
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Old Jul 7, 22, 3:14 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by seadan View Post
I'm looking at booking an award ticket from HND-SYD-BNE via UA, where HND-SYD is on NH and SYD-BNE is VA. Based on award availability and a 2 hour MCT, UA is only showing a 6+ hour connection in SYD, though it looks like this route is flown every hour/half-hour. Assuming I make it through customs quickly, does VA have a process for going standby on an earlier flight? And if so, does it matter that I'm on a UA award ticket? I do have UA*G status, which affords a number of priority benefits with VA, not sure if standby is one of them. Can't find anything on UA or VA's website on this -- anyone have first hand experience here?
Been to SYD - AU before?
The ANA NH879 HND-SYD looks to arrive at 08:55. Getting towards the end of the peak long haul SYD arrivals. At that time 2:00 would not be a sensible connection time. People missing connecting flights is not unusual.
FT---->Airport info SYDNEY (SYD) - amenities, transfers, transport
From post 525 (30 May 2022)
I budged 3 hours for the transit, and glad I did not take the VA agent's offer to get on an earlier flight (an hour earlier), I needed the extra time for waiting for the bus, and clear security at the domestic terminal. A 40-min relaxing visit in the VA lounge with great coffee is a nice break after a long 15-hour flight. It would be even nicer if the showers were working at the VA lounge.
You could ask at the VA T1 domestic check in area, before going across to T2. On a UA award ticket my guess the chances of changing are low.
VA "Fly Ahead"
https://experience.velocityfrequentf...dion-fly-ahead
Fly Ahead
  • Request to Fly Ahead to your destination on an earlier flight. Fly Ahead requests can be made at the airport for you and up to 3 guests on the same booking.
  • Fly Ahead is available on Virgin Australia domestic Economy Flex and Business fares for flights operated by Virgin Australia. Fly Ahead is not available for Gold members on Economy Choice fares, Economy Lite fares, or for Group bookings.
  • Fly Ahead is available on Virgin Australia Economy and Business Class Reward Seats, and Business Class Upgrades.
https://www.executivetraveller.com/n...requent-flyers

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jul 7, 22 at 7:02 pm
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Old Jul 7, 22, 5:13 pm
  #3  
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Thanks! It's been about 15 years since I've been to SYD, though I have read about some of the recent lines at customs. Interestingly, on the post you quote, it sounds like that traveler was on a UA ticket and VA offered them an earlier flight -- so perhaps it is possible. The T&C you linked to does say it applies to reward tickets (at minimum VA's, but hopefully that encompasses UA as well). If I end up booking this routing, I can report back on my experiences.
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Old Jul 8, 22, 10:25 am
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Remember AU does not have “standby”. You are either rebooked or not. Anecdotally, the domestic agents at the SYD intl transfer have greater flexibility to manage re bookings due to the nature of international arrivals, and it is not really eroding the domestic flexible ticket strategies that the airlines promote here. Ie. Book a fixed outbound and flexible more expensive inbound in case meetings finish early or go late. Good luck, no harm in asking.

as a timing point, I arrived with hand luggage only at 6am for an 8am domestic flight yesterday. Straight and one of the first off the plane, through egates, no queue for customs, walked to transfer, BP in hand, no queue for security, waiting for bus, Ie as fast as it could be and I was in the domestic lounge at 7.20. So as fast as it could possibly be for an able traveller and it was 80 mins. So add luggage and a queue for customs, and I cannot see how it could be safely done in less than 3 hours.
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Old Jul 15, 22, 4:24 am
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Originally Posted by Koru Flyer View Post
So as fast as it could possibly be for an able traveller and it was 80 mins. So add luggage and a queue for customs, and I cannot see how it could be safely done in less than 3 hours.
You were not as fast as you possibly could be, train will often cut 20 mins off the bus trip
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Old Jul 15, 22, 6:42 am
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When I had DL status (and VA/DL were partners), I was able to get on an earlier VA flight after arrival to AU on more than one occasion. They saw my DL Platinum status and treated me as a VA Platinum (which is VA top status).

Not sure if things are still the same (these experiences were 3-5 years ago, and a LOT has changed). But I definitely think if you hold UA status you have a very good chance at getting on an earlier VA flight. As you say, the frequency on this route is very high, usually getting an open seat is reasonably easy. Depends on the day of course
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Old Jul 17, 22, 4:15 am
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Originally Posted by markis10 View Post
You were not as fast as you possibly could be, train will often cut 20 mins off the bus trip
perhaps. Two factors (1) train costs money and (2) train will put me outside of security, which at the moment could be a disaster. However, fully agree, that many people forget the train as an option.

KF
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Old Jul 18, 22, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by Koru Flyer View Post
perhaps. Two factors (1) train costs money and (2) train will put me outside of security, which at the moment could be a disaster. However, fully agree, that many people forget the train as an option.

KF
Don't all options put you outside of security? Haven't been through SYD since 2020 but I've never seen an airside transfer bus for international arrivals. Would be great if so though!
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Old Jul 18, 22, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by Koru Flyer View Post
perhaps. Two factors (1) train costs money and (2) train will put me outside of security, which at the moment could be a disaster. However, fully agree, that many people forget the train as an option.

KF
Its a $5 cost, and as you have to screen anyway to get the bus makes no difference. Domestic screening point can be deserted if you know where to go.
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Old Jul 28, 22, 9:55 pm
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Thanks for all the insight here! I just completed this trip today and wanted to report back on my experiences. Since I originally posted, J award space opened for these flights, so I was able to move both legs up to Business. The ANA flight was on-track for early arrival, but then we ended up circling around a few times due to ATC delays and ended up arriving about 9:05am. It seems like we were the only plane disembarking at that time -- all the immigration, baggage, and customs lines were empty. Off the plane at 9:15a, used the e-passport kiosk/gates and walked out with my carry-ons at 9:20a -- about 5 minutes total from plane to outside (no checked bags this trip). The VA check-in area after customs was empty, and the agent had no issue moving me to the 10:30a flight, which luckily had 1 J seat left. The T-bus was easy enough, took about 10+ minutes from boarding until T2 drop-off.

Perhaps I just got lucky, but this was about as smooth as it could have gone.
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Old Aug 1, 22, 12:06 am
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Glad to hear you were able to move to an earlier flight.

How long was the wait for the T-bus? SYD airport website says it runs every 30 minutes, which seems rather infrequent.
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Old Aug 1, 22, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by keithguy View Post
Glad to hear you were able to move to an earlier flight.

How long was the wait for the T-bus? SYD airport website says it runs every 30 minutes, which seems rather infrequent.
I must have timed it just right, as I recall the wait was less than 5 minutes from when I hopped on the bus to when it left. I want to say I got on the bus just before 9:30a and was at the terminal a little after 9:40? Give or take a few minutes...
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