If you want to surprise your loved one by getting home earlier than expected, then flying standby may be the perfect solution. While you will need either an airline employee buddy pass or an exchangeable ticket, you may be able to fly home early without paying extra fees.
Use only carry on luggage
You can do some things to increase the odds that you will get to fly home on standby. Try to use only carryon luggage whenever possible as your luggage may not make your flight with you. Get through security and let the ticket agent know that you want to fly standby. They will put your name on a list. Do not bug them with countless questions. Look for the board where your name will be posted if you get to catch an earlier flight.
Stay in the boarding area
If you miss the first flight out, then know what gate the next flight will leave from and get there quickly. Go to that gate as soon as the boarding door is closed and repeat the procedure. Keep repeating the process until time for your original flight to leave, but do not leave the area until the boarding door has been closed completely. Sometimes, last-minute missed connections can leave seats open, and you will get to take a seat at the last minute.
Call the airlines
You may also want to call the airline representative. In that case, you can find out if earlier flights have openings before you even arrive at the airport. This is especially true if there are a couple of airports in the area because you may be able to catch an earlier standby flight from the other airport.
Accumulate frequent flyer miles
You can increase your odds by always flying on the same airline, allowing you to accumulate frequent flyer miles. Airline representatives are taught to try to make these customers happy so that they will continue to be their customer. Therefore, they may put extra effort into trying to find you an earlier flight.
Arrive early in the day
Early flights are more often missed by passengers than those later in the day. Therefore, make it a point to get to the airport early. This also may allow you to have more flight options because there is a set number each day. When possible, you may also want to consider trying to fly standby on a different day. Usually, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are the best days to try to fly standby.
If your plans change, then flying standby may be an excellent solution to get home sooner or to get to spend some extra time in your destination city. Getting prepared and waiting patiently are necessary if you want to fly standby.