|Quoting questions (Reply 13):|
Please clarify. Apologies for not having the lingo down. Are buddy passes space available? In other words you don't fly on a buddy pass unless the airline is going to fly the seat empty? If that's the case how is the airline going to make money flying an empty seat?
So I can't speak specifically for AA
... this is going off of when I worked at DL
/OH back in 2003-2006.
Buddy passes were fared as a certain cost per mile. For arguments sake, let's say it's 2CPM. Internationally, there was also the cost of taxes, and I want to say that the domestic CPM was lower than the international CPM, though I can't remember for sure. The general idea was that it was enough to cover costs (fuel, food, etc.). I once booked one of my friends a flight to Spain on a buddy pass. I think he paid something like $80, and the load was light so he confirmed to J. Not a bad deal.
it was loudly stated that anyone traveling on your buddy pass was representing you. If they had foul behavior or didn't dress acceptably, etc. it was on you, and your flight benefits would be witheld for a period of time as penalty. We also had a rule that if you missed your shift because your were non-reving somewhere that you'd loose your flight benefits for 30 days, though I never saw it enforced.
We got 8 buddy passes a year, and I'll say that the scenario of a travel savvy friend on a low load flight was fairly atypical (at least in my experience). Most folks gave them to people without explaining how the system worked. Buddy passes were stand by, and they were the lowest boarding priority. We had a 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 4B, type of tiered system. Employees on company business were positive space, treated as revenue passengers outside of this tiered system. S1's were reserved for critical things. We had a coworker who's mom got really ill and the company gave her a S1 priority so she could get home (though those were pretty rare). Active employees were S2
or S3 (we got unlimited S3's, and a quota of S2
's, so if you were traveling international and really wanted a shot at J you could burn an S2
to jump ahead of the other S3's). S4
's were company subsidiaries... as a Comair employee, if I flew on say ASA, I would be an S4
, since I was on another companies metal, other than DL
. 4A's were retirees, and 4B's were buddy passes. Within each of those tiers, the order was based on the employees hire date. So a buddy pass of a 10 year employee would ride ahead of a buddy pass of a 5 year employee. Same for all of the other tiers. Everything was based on how long you'd been with the company, which in my mind is the only fair way to do it.
So all of that said, most of the buddy pass travelers I saw had no idea that they were behind everyone else and their brother and that they were actually standby. The problems come to play when they don't know this. Half the time the employee that listed them either wasn't in reservations (say a maintenance employee) and maybe didn't understand all of the lingo, or just booked their friend on the day they wanted to travel with no consideration of load. Half the time they didn't even know they were standby. Then you have to explain the whole process to them, and they inevitably ask "but I paid for this ticket, how am I on standby". At the end of the day, even if the "fare" covers fuel and taxes, there's also an opportunity cost of maintaining this whole system. Agents have to find other options, relist them, get them on other flights, explain the whole thing; and that's all time taken away from that platinum revenue customer with a full fare F ticket who just missed his connection to Asia.
Then this whole process gets repeated on the other end. They've been relisted and moved to 7 different flights through 3 connecting cities to try and get them where they're going 2 days before Christmas. What a shocker, none of their checked bags make it. Now you have to take a claim, explain that you're technically a non-revenue passenger, so we won't pay $50 to deliver your luggage to you. Two days later their bags finally make it to the airport and they complain about coming to pick them up. Then three days after that they show up to do the reverse of this cluster to try and get home.
In the almost 4 years I worked under DL
(with 8 buddy passes a year), I only ever issued 3 of them. They're (or at least were at that time) just a royal pain.
[Edited 2014-06-05 07:44:22]
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