Penny-wise, Pound-foolish stand-by policy

I am well versed in US Airway’s stand-by policy.  As a United elite I’m not eligible for a free confirmed seat on an earlier flight (that’s $50) but I can stand-by for free.  The caveat to this is that they can’t be able to confirm me to put me on stand-by.

I got to MCO at around 12:30 pm for a 5:15 pm flight.  I went to the Star Alliance gold check in and requested to go stand-by on an earlier flight.  They had a 1:30 and a 3:30, but apparently both had confirmable seats so she would have to charge me.  Since my bag was expanded I didn’t want to hassle with it on board and I checked it meaning that  I couldn’t play the “if you don’t like that answer ask again” with the gate agents.  I also didn’t want to pay $50 to get home earlier.

By the time my flight came around they were oversold by 2 and were offering $125 in travel credit.  Since that seemed very low compared to what they usually offer I didn’t bother.  I just laughed that they could have waived my confirmed fee and put me on an earlier flight and avoided the need of 1 volunteer.


  1. Yeah…and how about the time where your flight goes out with three empty seats? Is it still penny wise/pound foolish for them to put you on an earlier flight for free?

  2. It doesn’t cost them anything. They do miss out of revenue if I intentionally book the cheapest flight and try to confirm onto an earlier one. I don’t keep the information handy, but I think my flight was more expensive than the earlier flights.

  3. I am not sure what the policy is. However, I have used US Airways “Move Up” program twice. Both times I was not charged, and got a confirmed seat on an earlier flight. The first time I told the TA that I was willing to pay the $50. He informed me that due to my status they would not charge me the fee. I am a 1P on United, and my MP number was on the ticket both times.

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