View Full Version : How does chance passengers work?

13th Dec 2017, 06:10
My partner is back in Canada and he would be stuck there for the holidays if he couldn't buy any ticket less than CAD 1500. I really want him to be here for the holidays but we are on a tight budget. So I am posting this to know how does chance passengers work? If someone didn't show up for a flight, can my partner buy that seat for a discounted price or will it be more expensive? Please, any advice would be appreciated.

13th Dec 2017, 12:11
Where is "here"?

13th Dec 2017, 12:14
A bit like "Staff Travel" You buy your cheap ticket, turn up and wait to see if there are any empty seats. If there are you get loaded, if there aren't you go away and turn up again for the next flight and so it goes on . . .

13th Dec 2017, 12:22
My guess is pretty much anywhere in the world if the fare is $1500 CAD for a flight.

By chance, I'm guessing you mean stand by. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't, it depends almost entirely on the route, the date and the time.

Airlines routinely over-book, as people regularly miss flights, so this gives them a better chance of filling every seat. For stand by to work then more people have to fail to show than the over-booking margin.

Knowing the route and the date would help, as some here may well have local knowledge as to how heavily booked it's likely to be.

I can say that I've only gone standby twice; once it was to the ME (following a late flight from another airline) and I got straight on the next Gulf Air flight without a problem, the other time it was to the US and I had to wait around 18 hours but did eventually get a flight.

13th Dec 2017, 12:43
Used to do it a lot years ago - the staff tickets we got were (BA) standby. Only had two major waits - arrived at LHR on one occasion with tickets for MIA, all flights full and commercial standby pax waiting. Looking at 2-3 days wait I asked where we could go stateside. There was a plane leaving for ORD within the hour so we took that and made our way down to Miami with a removals car over the next few days - we were on hols, didn't care much. The other was arriving at SFO on Thanksgiving to come back to UK. BA had taken it into their heads to offer discounted fares and all flights to LHR, even indirect, were full. We had three days in a hotel waiting for a flight. I was late back to work.

Dozens of times we got on the flight we wanted.

You pays you money and takes your chance...

13th Dec 2017, 13:14
I’m not aware of any airline offering discounted standby tickets for non-employees. It’s been tried a few times without a lot of success over the years.

You can often find attractive fares travelling on Christmas Day. New Year’s Eve is also a good day for frugal travellers.

13th Dec 2017, 14:19
Years ago, BA used to offer silly discounts for "standby" flights. I wanted to go to the US and went in to the BA office in Liverpool to book a flight from London to somewhere (can't remember now) in the US. So the man serving me said "why don't you wait an hour then we can book your flight?" He then explained that the 1 hour wait would take me to just under 24 hours to the flight I wanted. I could then buy a standby fare for silly money and, for an extra 1.00 I could then confirm my seat on that flight. The rules were that a standby seat could be confirmed when the flight was less than 24 hours away. I went for about 30.00 with a confirmed seat!

14th Dec 2017, 09:37
There is a good reason for those prices being what they are at that time of the year: everyone wants to travel. The 'chances' of getting an empty seat will be as good as nil as there will be a queue of others with 'higher priority' reasons for getting that seat. Tell him to enjoy his time in Canada.

Espada III
14th Dec 2017, 19:14

14th Dec 2017, 19:29
The op appears to have vanished. Perhaps newbies should be given a temporary time out on starting new threads. Even 24 hours might work.

14th Dec 2017, 23:08
Does the RAF still offer indulgence flights on transport aircraft? When I was in Hong Kong I came home in a VC10 for a small fee. I had to show that I had the funds to pay for a civvie flight back at the end of my leave should no indulgence flight be available. I recall this was around 220, which in 1968 was a huge chunk out of a flying officer's salary, so I was relieved when I got to Lyneham (or was it Brize) and found that a seat was available.

A chum of mine tried the same wheeze when he was at Seletar, but unfortunately when he got to Lyneham there were no seats available. Somebody suggested he tried ACE Airways who at the time operated old Constellation freighters out of the base. The captain of a flight which was headed for Singapore said he'd be happy to put him in the book as supernumerary pilot, as long as he made himself useful during the flight, making the coffee, passing up the rations etc

About an hour into the last long leg across the Indian Ocean they lost an engine. He assumed they would turn back to Columbo (or wherever) but the captain was of the opinion that the other three seemed to be running fine, so they "pressed on" on three.

Happy days!

15th Dec 2017, 10:55
I know in the US services, active duty and some retired military and their families can take advantage of MAC flights. You might have a long layover somewhere like Hawaii (or Guam) for a day (or a week), but the ticket prices are incredibly cheap, covering just the theoretical cost of fuel and often much less than $100 for long haul.