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Standby - shame

New Arrival

What a shame!  My wife and I had a 3pm flight booked but got a call from my mom that my toddler was sick and that we should get home sooner if possible.   We headed to the airport and thought we would get on standby like every other airline allows.  Except now southwest makes you upgrade your flight, we had to pay $362 in order to make it home on an earlier flight.   Here is the kicker, the earlier flight was only 60% full and when I spoke to the manager, he told me that SW just wants to make more money and that’s why they don’t allow standby any more.   Shame on you southwest!  This used to be a great airline that was hassle free, now they only want to nickel and dime.  I’ll be flying different airlines for awhile, maybe for good.   


Re: Standby - shame

Top Contributor

Regretably, what you ran in to  was a policy that has been in place for as long as I can remember.


Did you try to explain your situation to the gate agent? Many times they can be quite accomodating to passengers. 

Re: Standby - shame

Top Contributor

@dfwskier wrote:

Regretably, what you ran in to  was a policy that has been in place for as long as I can remember.


Did you try to explain your situation to the gate agent? Many times they can be quite accomodating to passengers. 

The new part of the policy is that A-list can same-day standby under certain conditions, so it is specifically clarified as a benefit for frequent flyers now. Also if your original flight is delayed more than two hours I believe, although that implies you are at the airport waiting for an earlier flight way in advance.





Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Standby - shame

Top Contributor

Free same-day standby will be provided for A-List and A-List Preferred Members traveling prior to the original scheduled departure, between the same city pairs, on the original date of travel, where a seat is available. This perk is also available to those on Anytime or Business Select fares.


Additionally, if your flight is showing a significant delay (reportedly now at the discretion of the gate agent -- anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour minimum) you may be able to utilize standby.


All others are asked to upgrade to the then-current full-fare.


Prior to the A-List perk, it was much easier to get an agent to give you standby. These days, it's very much by-the-book.

Re: Standby - shame

Active Member

I'm sorry to hear about your sick toddler and completely understand the need to get home early. Having to purchase what basically amounts to another ticket is frustrating but I can assure you that Southwest is not the only airline that charge for standy. I know that United charges for standby on original day of travel on most fares (and even more for standby on a different day). I'm fairly certain that American and Delta charge a fee for same-day standby on most fares also.

In the past, passengers would purchase a cheaper ticket on a flight at an undesirable time, such as late at night, and then standby for a more expensive flight at a more desirable time. Thus, the airline was giving away an expensive seat to a passenger who purchased a cheap ticket. To stop this behavior, the airlines started charging a fee for standing by. It's actually been this way for years.

Once again, sorry for your frustration. I sincerely hope your child is okay.

Re: Standby - shame

Top Contributor

Sorry your child was sick. The upgrade to the anytime fare rule has been around for some time now. I always tell people to check on the mobile site if you need to make a day of travel change just in case a WGA fare is available as they will try to get you to the anytime fare at the airport even if a WGA fare is available online. 


Just also thought i would let you know the other airlines sell a ticket called basic economy which won't allow you to standby either. if you buy the standard economy ticket they will still charge you to standby as there is no free standby anywhere unless you have status with an airline so just know you would still pay something to move flights unless your lucky and are apart of a weather waiver. 


If you would like to discuss your s your experience with southwest directly you can reach out on Twitter in a DM or you can call customer relations at 855-234-4654 


Hope your next trip goes smoothly! 


Re: Standby - shame

Rising Star

Travel can get tough when you thrown an emergency into the mix! Sometimes, you just have to balance the cost to the need. 


I see it this way: 1) SW offers so much flexibility for changing flight and keeping fees away or low. If that means they have to be strict on the policies that do make them money, I’m ok with that, even if it sucks. 2) As a parent, I would just want to make it home. Period. 


I do understand your frustration, however. I encourage you to offer your feedback directly to SW, and I hope your child is back to healthy now!

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.