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Why Don't Airlines Offer Revenue Stby Programs?  
User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3226 times:

I think it would be a fairly good idea... Cheap, but good.

The way it works is simple. Airlines could fill the empty seats that would generally make no money, and give people the chance to pay a fee to fly STBY. Sort of like the AirTran U program. This could be a way for airlines to make more money, and give the less-than-rich traveler an opportunity to fly somewhere.

Imagine an A320 with 156 seats, and It is booked to 136. Well, if they are going to let those seats go out empty, Wouldn't it be smart to offer those seats to stby passengers who need to go somewhere

Any opinions are welcome, and if I am missing something, please let me know. After all, there must be some reason why airlines aren't doing this all the time.

33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12150 posts, RR: 49
Reply 1, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3202 times:



Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
Imagine an A320 with 156 seats, and It is booked to 136. Well, if they are going to let those seats go out empty, Wouldn't it be smart to offer those seats to stby passengers who need to go somewhere

Any opinions are welcome, and if I am missing something, please let me know. After all, there must be some reason why airlines aren't doing this all the time.

For one you effectively piss off the people who have paid for a ticket at a much higher price. Also they do this by selling tickets through sites like price line.



You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3203 times:



Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 1):
For one you effectively piss off the people who have paid for a ticket at a much higher price.

Those pissed off people paid for a confirmed reservation... The higher price guarantees them a seat. The STBY price would be for those who are very flexible, and can board any flight, at any time.


User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7564 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3199 times:

Umm you mean like NW's Fly Now program?

http://www.nwa.com/corpinfo/newsc/2005/pr050220051584.html



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineCBPhoto From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1572 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3174 times:



Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
Imagine an A320 with 156 seats, and It is booked to 136. Well, if they are going to let those seats go out empty, Wouldn't it be smart to offer those seats to stby passengers who need to go

Well..in theory it would be a good idea, but I dont see it ever happening. First off, it actually would not be smart, remember the more passengers you have on board, the more luggage they bring all adds up in weight, which would mean the company would have to spend more money on fuel. No to mention there is the constant hassle with checked luggage, to either put it on, or not put in on your flight.

Quoting Burnsie28 (Reply 3):
Umm you mean like NW's Fly Now program?

Not quite, thats is you already have a reservation. BR751 is talking about strictly buying a rock bottom priced ticket and going standby on any flight you can get on...at least I think thats he means.



ETOPS: Engines Turning or Passengers Swimming
User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12150 posts, RR: 49
Reply 5, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3163 times:

Also keep in mind that with cargo and mail most flights do not rely on only passengers to make it profitable.


You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineREALDEAL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3155 times:



Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 1):
Also they do this by selling tickets through sites like price line.

Priceline offers confirmed only noy subload(standby).

Big problem is, that people inc travel agents can make bogus bookings & even put a reallooking ticket number in booking.

So u could end up with massive overbookings or real high revenue passengers not being able to get a booking & so spill to another airline.

It would only ever work in high frequency markets, like 4 or more flights per day.

Having worked previous in travel industry used to be able to get subload tickets.

Once in DEN with a ticket to west coast, couldn't get on any flights to LAX, SFO & so got an a flight to another CA port without boarding pass & didn't care where luggage ended up (almost always arrives sometime).

Might not be abelt o do this post 911 ?

There are also lots of programmes for filling aircraft.

The travel industry has lots of relatively cheap tickets just for agents/freight forwarders/int hotel staff etc. which although not subload, they are 2nd to be kicked off flight (after ID90 subloads) & never given accom or any other compensation.

In Australia thewre are 4 websites thaqt know of that anyone can look at for these types of fares.

1) www.travelclub.com.au

2) www.worldinterline.com

3) www.tats.com.au

4) www.interlineres.com

1 & 3 might end in .au - no time to check now


User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12150 posts, RR: 49
Reply 7, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3141 times:



Quoting REALDEAL (Reply 6):
Priceline offers confirmed only noy subload(standby).

I know that, though by airline offering tickets through price line they can fill up those light flights with out the public knowing what cheap prices they are getting for them. Also most price line tickets do not earn frequent flyer miles, another way airlines can keep the costs down.



You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26005 posts, RR: 22
Reply 8, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3123 times:

Standby fares, mainly for youths and senior citizens, were common long ago. Almost all major carriers in the U.S. and Canada had youth standby fares (12-21 years) in the 1960s and 70s. However typical average load factors were rarely over 60% then so the chances of getting on almost any flight were very high.

It wouldn't work well now with load factors often 85% or higher much of the time and many flights completely full. Would require a lot of additiolnal airport handling and more staff. There are enough problems with delays now without having to deal with last minute standby passengers.

Airlines today have very sophisticated revenue management systems and can do a pretty good job of filling the last few seats by simply opening up more capacity in the lowest fare booking classes.


User currently offlineREALDEAL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3075 times:



Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 7):
I know that, though by airline offering tickets through price line they can fill up those light flights with out the public knowing what cheap prices they are getting for them. Also most price line tickets do not earn frequent flyer miles, another way airlines can keep the costs down.

another way airlines fill seats (dumping) without disclosing a cheap fare is by selling them to wholesalers who package them with accommodation etc.

Eg. if airline like FJ can't fill SYD/LAX (via NAN) where they use 744's & say "normal" cheap fare inc taxes & surcharges was $1999, they could talk to wholesalers & Fiji accom & car hires & say ...

we want a killer rate on hotel rooms for these wholesalers, so they can package.

So a package might appear for $1999 return SYD to LAX with stopover in NAN for 3 nights accom & 3 days car hire included.

Hotels pick up on room upgrades & time extensions & food & beverage & other in house sales, car hires pick up when people upgrade from micro cars to a full size & time extensions & everybody wins, WITHOUT DISCLOSING THAT THE AIRFARE PAID WAS ACTUALLY $1200 OR $1400 inc taxes & surcharges.


User currently offlineThirteenRight From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 340 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3057 times:

what would be the incentive, other than a confirmed seat, to buy a confirmed ticket? If, I dunno, I bought a rev stndby ticket on an airline that had a lot of frequency somewhere, chances are, I'd get on. That's good for you, if you can take the chance, but bad for the airline.

User currently offlineNonRev From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2006, 59 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3053 times:

Plus airlines will miss out on all those who don't have to travel urgently (students, retirees etc.) who currently pay a higher confirmed price.

NR


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8770 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3028 times:



Quoting NonRev (Reply 11):
Plus airlines will miss out on all those who don't have to travel urgently (students, retirees etc.) who currently pay a higher confirmed price.

Exactly. You could lose money if you give those people a cheaper option. You create a new, cheaper ticket category that just drains your customers out of the more expensive categories. That's not good for the airline.


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13200 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3000 times:

I took 'standby' or same or next day flight bookings on BA & VS back in the 1980's to early 1990's JFK-LHR/LGW. You could buy your ticket at a city ticket office, they used to advertise the prices and availability that day in the windows and sometimes elsewhere. Depending on the year, season or demand, typical pre-tax prices were from $129 to $249 o/w (taxes were a lot cheaper then too, less than $40 each way). At least 2 times, I went to work in NYC with my bags packed, bought my ticket on the way to work, and left for the airport from the workplace.

I believe that the end of US-UK 'standby' fares had several reasons that also thawt their return.
First was the increasing demand for seats when the economy was better starting in the early 1990's. Then you had the end of the city ticket offices of many airlines. It was found that some people instead of buying full last minute fares, were taking their chances with standby fares, especially in mid-week and slow seasons. As computers got more powerful, pricing could be better set with more sophicated yield programs reducing the need to fill up the a/c with standby pax. Airlines no longer operated 747's/DC-10's/L-1011's for such flights that had to be filled up and went to smaller capacity a/c like 767's. Security demands over the years I suspect was a minor factor although may be a factor limiting it's revival.

Including for flights all over the world, intercontinental and just across the country, the rise of the internet, online brokers like Expedia, more discount airlines with reasonable last minute fares, may be a modern substitute for standby fares.


User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5158 posts, RR: 43
Reply 14, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2882 times:

In my opinion, one of the fallacies of our business is that an empty seat at departure is worthless. In fact it raises the value of every other seat on the aircraft, simply by being empty.

If passengers thought that at departure, a (soon to be) empty seat had no worth, then that is what they would expect to pay for every seat. By refusing to sell a last minute seat cheaply, you are keeping value in the product.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineREALDEAL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2870 times:



Quoting LongHauler (Reply 14):
In my opinion, one of the fallacies of our business is that an empty seat at departure is worthless. In fact it raises the value of every other seat on the aircraft, simply by being empty.

If passengers thought that at departure, a (soon to be) empty seat had no worth, then that is what they would expect to pay for every seat. By refusing to sell a last minute seat cheaply, you are keeping value in the product.

Yes but by yield managing seats well, you don't have empty seats, you have subloads sitting around waiting.

With Australian domestic sale fares getting down to single digits, there's no reason why those who book long in advance can't get cheap fares & those who book last minute pay top dollar.

For an airline to have last minute seats on sale is bad management.

If however, there was a short series of charters, with no definite extension, they airline could dump seats. An example was a few years ago, in Jan-Feb from memory, the last few flights back to LGW, ThomsonFly stuffed up on flights PER/LGW & they dumped seats last minute for AUD$99 + taxes/charges !!! But didn't effect future PER/LGW Thomsonfly sales as there haven't been any since then.


User currently offlineEvan767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 2957 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2838 times:



Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
Well, if they are going to let those seats go out empty, Wouldn't it be smart to offer those seats to stby passengers who need to go somewhere

If they needed to get somewhere, they'd buy the ticket.

Now adays, for those who bought cheap, "confirmed" reservations, it's like standby at the gate anyway. Airlines often overbook to the max which, at the end of the day, results in a standby list of paying passengers.



The proper term is "on final" not "on finals" bud...
User currently offlineZBBYLW From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 1993 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2831 times:

This would be horrible for employees. Imagine that having 10 open seats on a flight you want to fly contingent but 10 people pay 200 bucks to do that trip (not really covering much of the cost for the trip) and it would piss off employees wanting to non-rev. In this day and age of companies pissing off employees by reducing pay and benefits this is one of the last benefits employees have. Though today with higher load factors due to charging less, it is becoming really hard to non-rev.


Keep the shinny side up!
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5158 posts, RR: 43
Reply 18, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2831 times:

I guess an airline looks at whether one would travel or not. If you are going to travel regardless, then they don't need standby passengers ... they already have him "hooked". If that passenger is more price conscious than schedule conscious, then that too is answered in yield management. Namely, the 9pm flight is cheaper than the 4pm flight. Or the Tuesday flight is cheaper than the Friday flight.

If last minute "top ups" are desired, then the airline actually does adjust last minute fares. In fact Air Canada's res system recognizes "runs" on flights, or "abandoned" flights and adjusts fares up or down.

This is a far easier way to handle passengers than low yield stand-bys. Handling stand by passengers is very difficult when they dont fly. They have already cleared security (at a cost) and possibly even cleared Customs (at a cost), and last minute baggage handling on or off is always a delay nightmare.

Note that I said "low yield" stand-bys, as high yield stand-bys, while still a handling nightmare, are more worthwhile, as they usually pay the highest fare, or are very frequent fliers.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineA340Crew From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 279 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2740 times:

FL has there x-fare program which is a rev standby program....

User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13754 posts, RR: 61
Reply 20, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2717 times:
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Such a program, as you've outlined, would make it very difficult for Yield Management to gauge demand, as you're taking an already inexact science - guessing how many people would buy your tickets at X, Y and Z fares (or A through Z, depending on the market!) - and now you have to factor out the number of customers who would normally have paid for a ticket but now want to try their luck at saving money by standing by at a much lower fare.

End result - to offset the loss of those travelers who would normally have bought a ticket, you'd have to charge more for the other fare levels, or tighten up the inventory buckets on the other fare levels. Either way, other travelers end up paying more.

Also, while employees accept the unpredictability of standby travel as part of their benefits, it's not something that paying customers embrace*, not to mention that such unpredictability often leaves a bad taste in people's mouths - something you do NOT want your valued customers to have when trying to build brand loyalty.


* Before you say, "Of course people will be okay with standing by if it saves them money!"....ask any airline employee about people who have used OTHER employees' discounted "Buddy Passes" and how they howled like mad over not getting on one, two or three flights. In the mind of the vast majority of people, if they're paying money, they're entitled to a seat. And they pitch a fit if they don't get on, even if they know the rules going in.



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineDALMD88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2614 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2690 times:

Like others have said in this day of 85+% load factors the program would just create headaches. Right now most airlines already offer this service in the form of employee Buddy Passes. They are a nightmare to manage sometimes. These are people that have suposedly been coached on how the fly for almost nothing system works, but when it leaves them stranded in say OGG they freak. Even the airline employees freak and really should know better. So now just to add more 'I want to fly for almost nothing, but get treated like a king' people to the mix. It isn't worth the hassle for the incremental dollars earned.

User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5130 posts, RR: 55
Reply 22, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2672 times:

This is a basic RM tenet .. by providing a Rev Standby Program you are incentivizing late bookings and altering pax behavior. Customers now expect late discounts and are willing to wait for them.

-A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineBAW716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2028 posts, RR: 27
Reply 23, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2630 times:



Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Thread starter):
I think it would be a fairly good idea... Cheap, but good.

The problem with creating a revenue standby program is that
a) it would undermine the pricing structure to a large degree because those that are driven by price (a large majority of fliers) would standby to fly to get a cheap price.
b) it would be difficult to manage unless you restricted it to people that didn't check bags. That creates another whole can of worms itself.
c) because of the nature of standby and our security requirements, standby passengers would have to be cleared before security; otherwise, you would have a large number of people in the sterile area without a boarding card and seat assignment. TSA would have all kinds of issues with that. Non-revenue passengers that do not have AOA access would have security issues, because they have not been screened to the degree that airline employees that work on the airside are screened. Even then, non-revs get selected for extra screening as it is, so multiply that times thousands and you can see how that would not work.
d) The only way it could work is that revenue standbys are cleared one hour before departure; however, this would require reworking the requirements for reserved passengers to show up so that a reserved seat is not inadvertently given away to a standby passenger.

These are just a few of the reasons why it can't work in this environment. I was around when Pan Am used to have a standby program on their SEA-LHR flights. They would have a standby line that would open six hours before the flight (and by then, there would be a huge number of people). They would only accept enough passengers for standby between the number of passengers booked on the flight and booking level on the aircraft. In other words, if there were 400 seats on the aircraft, 350 booked and the flight was authorized to book to 440, they would accept 80 standbys. A couple of points: Once you purchased a standby ticket, it was non-refundable, so if you didn't get out, you didn't get your money back. Also, you could not check your bag until you were accepted on the flight (the flight was closed one hour before to accept standbys). Eventually the program was dropped, because it was so unmanageable during the summer that they were not even taking the passengers' money ...because they were reasonably certain that they could not get them out in the next five to six days (such were the loads in the summer). In the wintertime, it wasn't too awful...but then again, most people didn't travel in the winter in those days...

It's a nice idea to fill up the plane and get a little money; however, given today's environment, it's completely unworkable, in my opinion.

baw716



David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
User currently offline777WT From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 877 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2465 times:



Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 17):
This would be horrible for employees. Imagine that having 10 open seats on a flight you want to fly contingent but 10 people pay 200 bucks to do that trip (not really covering much of the cost for the trip) and it would piss off employees wanting to non-rev. In this day and age of companies pissing off employees by reducing pay and benefits this is one of the last benefits employees have. Though today with higher load factors due to charging less, it is becoming really hard to non-rev.

I'll 2nd that...it'll make the non-rev travel benefits with the airlines worthless to their employees...to the point it'd be like they'd win the lottery if they get on the flight somehow.


25 EXAAUADL : It would be dilutive if it was systemwide with no fences around how or who uses the ticket
26 EXAAUADL : That's called dilution. If you simply offerred standby fares to everyone to use anytime with no restrictions, you would dilute your existing revenue
27 Luv2fly : . Yeah there is the way to build the empire, "Cheap, but good". There is a slogan you want associated with your company
28 N757kw : Uh, not to say anything, but this happens everyday. Go to any airline hub and there is a very large number of people without boarding passes and seat
29 HPAEAA : Well, one thought that I had would go for and prevent the arbitrage would be to have a price for participation (i.e. a upfront fee for a period) for l
30 Nickofatlanta : Delta used to have a very good value stand-by air pass for overseas visitors to the United States. I believe it was called the Discover USA pass and w
31 EA CO AS : Eastern Air Lines offered a "Get Up and Go Passport" for seniors for awhile - you paid a flat fee and for X number of days you had unlimited travel wi
32 VonRichtofen : When I was younger I flew "Student Stand-by" quite a bit on AC. It saved me a lot of $$$. Not sure why they discontinued it. Kris
33 Rwy04LGA : If they offered standby tickets, no one would buy regular tickets and everybody would crowd at the gate to be guaranteed a seat. The airline would los
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