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Worst Airline To Go Non-Rev/Standby On?  
User currently offlineAirFranceJFK From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 486 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 9066 times:

This is for all of my non-rev travellers out there.

I just back from Non-revving LGA-ATL-MBJ-ATL-LGA making all of the flights along the way. LGA-ATL with DL and ATL-MBJ with JM.

I didnt know what to expect with JM, this was my second time non revving with them, but it was quite a pleasant experience, got confirmed even though the flight was jam packed, seems a few folks missed their MBJ connection.

However, I always wondered what other folks have experienced, especially when non revving with carriers outside of the U.S. and Europe. A friend of mine once non-revved with BWIA JFK-GEO and was bumped one week straight. So whats your experiences.

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineArtsyman From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4748 posts, RR: 32
Reply 1, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 9031 times:

I suppose it depends on the routes and times of the years, but non reving on Continental as a non employee can be difficult at the best of times as a hell of a lot of routes go out full year round, and when they arent full they are downgrading and upgrading aircraft to match demand. From personal experience, I have only been bumped a few times over the years, but I am SA3P87 which is reasonably senior, whereas if you were traveling interline as a SA5P etc, you could struggle

User currently offlineIahcsr From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 3766 posts, RR: 40
Reply 2, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8985 times:
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....'87 eh... Guess I won't try non-reving with you... I'm only a '88.

Working very hard to Fly Right....
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 8879 times:


Where are you trying to go?

User currently offlineAS_GSC From United States of America, joined Sep 2002, 72 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8796 times:

Any airline that is not your own can be tough at any time of the year.

My worst case scenario was being stuck in LHR for four days during the summer when the ATC center went haywire and all flights were cancelled.

I think I am destined to sleep in every major airport in the US. Just one of the joys of non-reving!


User currently offlineZSSNC From Germany, joined Feb 2003, 428 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8782 times:

I also think it always depends on the route you try to non-rev on... From Europe to Southeast Asia, South America and South Africa it can be pretty difficult to get on. But then again, you can always call the airlines call center and not a single CSA has so far not given out the exact (over-)booking figures to me. With those numbers I think you can make a pretty good guess how your chances are to get on. That is how I plan my flights and it always worked.

What I would be interested in, though, have you ever been left behind because you were not wearing formal clothes when non-reving? I have heard that especially US airlines are supposed to be pretty strict when it comes to that. So, when I flew FRA/ORD/CLE with UA this January I was wearing a suit to avoid any difficulties with the check-in agents.


Airbus A340-600 - the longest temptation in the sky
User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8774 times:

Back in the day, I never took chances on clothing -- even on Southwest (where I did most of my jumpseating) I always wore uniform or suit.


User currently offlineFlpuck6 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2123 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8691 times:

I have not non-revved that much but in experience, Delta has been known to take good care of non-revenue passengers, no matter what the class. I really appreciate the first-class when available.

I guess the saying "it depends" really applies, I am sure everyone has had a different experience on all airlines.

Bonjour Chef!
User currently offlineFRA_GIM From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 54 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8683 times:

Hi folks,

I use to fly from Germany to Brazil 9-11 times a year.
The flights are always completely full as well with Lufthansa as with Varig.
90% of the times I travelled, there were always people who had to stay at the airport...even people who were not stand-by.

So, I think that it very bad to fly between Germany and Brazil as stand.by.

Best regards from Frankfurt.


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8688 times:

Try getting out of India on ANY airline between January 1-15 of any year. You ain't seen full planes tell you see those.

User currently offlineGocaps16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4410 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8669 times:

I tried non-reving on United Airlines flights to Europe from Washington Dulles (as based) and they were full and I couldn't get on. Many "blue pass" holders will try to get flights to Europe and such since they're very popular flights out of DC.


User currently offlineBoyShane From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 128 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 8628 times:

I work for Continental and I got an island hopper pass for Aloha. They wouldn't tell me the loads or anything but heard they were packed. All flights were packed and really wasn't going to try and Non-Rev on them, so I just bought the ticket... only like a $30 difference! Must of been a busy travel time.


User currently offlineNy-jfk-lga From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 374 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 8581 times:

I snuck an ID90 on my former national carrier BWIA in Dec of 2001, you may think no one would be flying then, but that's a lie. It was from JFK to POS and twas for the week before x-mas. All flights were jam packed, but I called the reservation agents and they told me I would "possibly" have a chance on the afternoon departure. Sure enough, as I checked in at the ticket counters, I was issued a boarding pass right then and there. Wasn't bad at all. But watch out, because this one stoped in ANU, but they said they wouldn't have boarded me if I could not stay on in ANU. So it all worked out just great.

Bring back McDonnell Douglas & T W A!!
User currently offlineNonrevman From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1326 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 8568 times:

I would not say that one airline is worse than another when it comes to your chances of getting on standby. These following factors really will determine how difficult it is to make the flight:

(1) Destination

Often Difficult: Hawaii, Las Vegas, Orlando
Often Easy: Omaha, Wichita, Midland/Odessa

(2) Time/Day

Often Difficult: Fridays and Sunday afternoons
Often Easy: Overnighters in the middle of the week

(3) Irregular Operations

Often Difficult: Bad weather causes cancellations at your airport. Passengers reaccomodated to the remaining inventory of seats available
Potentially Beneficial: You make the flight to Hawaii only because another connecting flight was late, now you have open seats due to the people who are going to misconnect.

(4) Time of year
Often difficult: Holiday weekends, Spring Break, summer to Europe, etc.
Often easy: Winter to Europe, a war going on somewhere, in the middle of an ordinary week when everyone is in school  Smile

User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 30
Reply 14, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 8478 times:

It doesn't only matter on the airline. I would say the route and the day/date are even more important!

All airlines/routes with a good load-factor can be quite tricky ...

Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineKevi747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 8296 times:

JetBlue is really nice to commuters. They let F/A's from other airlines jumpseat on them for free. AA doesn't return the favor. I always go out of my way to take care of non-revs. I'll even move them up to a premium cabin if possible. I feel like its good non-rev karma that will come back to me someday. Plus I enjoy taking care of my own.

Here's my big pet-peeve though: AA does offer reciprocal j/s privlidges for other airlines pilots (but not F/A's, or anyone else). I've graciously allowed these guys to sit in F/C or B/C in the past. After serving them for 6 hours they'll practically knock me down to get at the CPT and stand there kissing his ass for about 5 minutes ("Oh, thank you so much for the great flight, sir! I hope I can return the favor some day! Thank you! Thank you!...etc.") Then they'll exit the plane without so much as a glance in my direction. I'm like, I'm the one who took on the extra work to serve you in my cabin. The cockpit crew had to fly the plane here anyway, they didn't do anything extra for you.

Oh well. Such is the underappreciated life of a F/A.

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert
User currently offlineDl1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 386 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 8203 times:

Hands down worst-Air France. Have had problems everytime I have flown with them.

Hands down best-Virgin Atlantic. Have had a GREAT trip every time.

User currently offlineFutureFO From Ireland, joined Oct 2001, 3132 posts, RR: 19
Reply 17, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 8197 times:

I found the roughest time I had was LH out of HKG-FRA. The flite was almost completely full and I got stuck in a Center seat for 13 hours. I love AC have not had any problems with them. I had a time where I sweated it out when I worked for SA)">CO but got on as they just called out SA's names and I was the last name called. With UA working for a UAX carrier I got treated right on most of my flights, simply for knowing the cabin crew and gate crew. YX is a great airline to Non-Rev on. VS was the worst as far as comfort and attitude to other airline staff Leaving SA - Virginia">IAD.

I Don't know where I am anymore
User currently offlineLeezyjet From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4053 posts, RR: 52
Reply 18, posted (13 years 2 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8057 times:

I personally find it's not so much the airline, it's the person working on the check-in desk. Some check in agents cannot do enough for you where as others treat you like a piece of shit on their shoe. Though peoples knowledge of how the staff travel system works can vary a heck of alot between airlines.

SAA at LHR have a stupid rule that they will not accept ID90 tickets unless it's made out for SA. I tried to get on with an ID90 on BD paperwork made out to VS and they refused me saying that VS would get the payment, when VS were not even involved except for the fact the ticket showed them in the carrier section due to their tickets being cheaper (Bmi hold the money until the coupon is presented back through the clearing process then pay out to whatever airline presented it - but try telling that to some little hitler working for an airline you don't). When I went to SAA at JNB for the return, they didn't even bat an eyelid at the ticket and checked me in straight away !!!.

I always used to do everything I could to accept stand-by pax when I worked at SA - Illinois">BMI and almost always tried to u/g them into C class, although now I'm at VS there is not alot I can do as staff pax are not allowed to the gate unless they have a seat, and the management check the flights to see if there have been any unauthorised upgrades so can't even bump people up anymore not even into Premium  Sad .Although I have read on here that VS at the outstations can be very helpful in the upgrade department.


"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
User currently offlineAirFranceJFK From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 486 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (13 years 2 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 8015 times:

I dont know about AF being the worst, to me, we're pretty great in our treatment of all airline employees. The only thing is that AF does not usually upgrade employees, especially if the flight is empty. I know they usually rather upgrade a paying passenger from Y to J and put the airline employee in Y. I know for sure, they will not send an plane out with empty seats when they're are employees still on standby. In my 3 years at AF in JFK, I only saw this happening once and that was because there was not enough meals to cover the employees that were on standby, but they all made another AF flight later that day.

I don't really have any bad standby stories, I once missed a JM flight from JFK-MBJ because they changed from an A310 to an A321 and they went from having open seats to being overbooked, but I managed to get the next flight a few hours later.

To me, DL can be pretty crazy, because they always seem to have about 15 employees travelling non rev on every flight, and they always get a higher priority than non DL employees like myself, so if the flight is tight, you better be prepared for a long wait.

To the other member who wrote about BW, a good friend of mine who works with NW once took BW non-rev from GEO-JFK. He was checked thru with seat and all, but the plane made a stop in POS and he was offloaded after the flight got overbooked in Trinidad.

As far as dates to travel, well I think you ought to be pretty crazy to travel non rev during the summer and somewhat insane to attempt it during the Christmas holidays. Thursday-Saturday is also kinda iffy throughout the year. The worst is when you see airline employees with their children, some under 5 travelling non rev during the peak season, I think thats pretty crazy.

Up until September 11th, I used to travel with cabin bags, but now that my trimming scissors are no-go in the cabin, I have to check it in, which I hate doing, however, knock on wood, never once lost my bag, in fact, in a few cases, it actually got there before I did!!

User currently offlineDl1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 386 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (13 years 2 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 7929 times:

AirFranceJFK- Just my opinion. We have had enough problems with AF that we just avoid them.

User currently offlineDrewwright From United States of America, joined May 2001, 621 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (13 years 2 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 7835 times:

I just had the worst attempt at Nonrev flying today in the history of aviation. Well maybe it was not that bad. But I did get bounced from 10 flights. I was trying to go to IND for a interview with CHQ and I spent the whole day at MCO trying to get on any Usairways flight. I tried all of the flights to CLT PIT and some to PHL and even a DCA flight but they were all oversold! Well it is a good thing the HR manager is letting me try again tomorrow. I am going to get to INDY if I have to walk!


User currently offlineCaptaink From Grenada, joined May 2001, 5119 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (13 years 2 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 7821 times:

I non-reved GND-PHL-LGA abd LGA-PHL-BGI last week. It went pretty ok. I got on all my flights with no problems. BUt i would not really fly unless i have to, if i know the flights are full.

There is something special about planes....
User currently offlineNonrevman From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1326 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (13 years 2 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 7791 times:

I was just in MCO yesterday (Sunday) and it was crazy. There were lots of buddy pass riders getting stranded for sure. At every gate, you could hear announcements about the flight being oversold and that they were looking for volunteers to take a later flight. In some cases, the later flight was the next day! If someone gives you a buddy pass for Orlando on a Sunday, they might not really be your buddy  Yeah sure

User currently offlineAcidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1880 posts, RR: 10
Reply 24, posted (13 years 2 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 7782 times:

I don't know about anybody else's experience, but I find it easier to get perks (or just get on a flight at all) at spokes of an airline rather than hubs. I get jacked around regularly flying NW out of MSP, but often people at spoke stations will really go out of their way for you. The NW agents at LAS and MDW have worked magic for me before. Also, I had a great experience with the people of CO in CLE recently. While everything to LAS (my intended destination) was way overbooked by the time I got there, the people in the Staff Travel office were really cool and looked around for me for lots of other solutions. Unfortunately they didn't pan out so I hopped a flight home. At the time I decided to go home, it was only 20 mins to departure for my flight to MSP. They called the gate to let them know I was running there. All the cart drivers along the way whisked me to where I had to be and as soon as I got there the gate agent handed me a boarding pass and even got me a good seat! I hope I can somehow reciprocate the good treatment in the future.

Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineKearnet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 243 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (13 years 2 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 7751 times:

Although I can't speak for person from other carrier flying on US, but they treat their own very well, including retired person.

As my Gandparents are my legal guardians, I get to travel under my grandfathers free travel pass. I've spent a few nights at airports, but usually it's not to bad (Then again my grandfathers hiting date of 12/1947) certainly doesn't hurt, can you say "seniority"? Obviously he started out with Mohawk Airlines (Or did they come later?), then stayed on through Allegheny and USAir.

The only place where I've ever had problems non-reving was in TPA. Except for the people at the main check in desk downstairs who were nice, all the other gate staff were rude, and A-holes.

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