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American Drops Free Standby for Coach, but – Do You Care?

February 10, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Passengers

American drops free standby coach

Goodbye to free standby for Coach passengers on American Airlines (though elite members can still do this gratis).

There is another option, though – what American calls “Confirmed Flight Change” – which means, for $50 you can switch same day/same itinerary flight, anywhere from an hour before your scheduled flight to 12 hours after for a confirmed seat (that’s assuming seats are available).

This “confirmed flight change” policy and the 50-bucks also applies to elites, though there are some loopholes for full-fare customers plus other restrictions, so be sure to check out the fine print on the AA website.

I’m curious – when’s the last time you (or someone you know) flew standby?

14 Responses to “American Drops Free Standby for Coach, but – Do You Care?”

  1. Flymonthly says:

    I just flew standby on Alaska Air on Monday. I don’t like American’s change, just another reason not to fly them when I don’t have to.

  2. Rick Seaney says:


    Thanks for letting us know that some people do use the standby option.


  3. Vince says:

    We also fly standby. We buy the cheaper fare for the day, then try to fly standby on an earlier flight. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Just another reason to fly Soutwest. No fees.

  4. Rick Seaney says:


    No fees is definitely working for Southwest – as I noted in this recent post: http://rickseaney.com/2010/01/21/southwest-makes-4q-profit-tells-competitors-to-raise-bag-fees/


  5. Chris says:

    I love flying AA standby, it’s kind of exciting. The $50 is better than $150 change fees and can be better than paying the full fare on Southwest.

    But still…something going from free to $50 is a pain =( Granted, this might free up the time of gate agents who are hurriedly going through standby/upgrade lists before flights. I’m sure that factored into this decision as well.

  6. Rick Seaney says:


    Yes, it is kind of a pain, and I also agree that it sure beats that change fee. I’m not so sure about the “exciting” part, though!


  7. Lindsay says:

    I use it all the time! I really prefer standby to same day confirm, as there’s always a last minute chance that you can get on the plane with standby. With same day confirms, they will only put you on planes that have enough open seats. It’s nowhere near as helpful.

  8. Rick Seaney says:


    I’m beginning to understand just how popular “free” standby was – thanks for sharing.


  9. Gem says:

    I liked flying AA because they didnt charge for standby. I just flew them this past weeked 2/6/10 and they did not charge me. I will try not to fly with them if they will charge me for standby.

  10. Rick Seaney says:


    Charge you, they will – for standby, anyway.


  11. Rocky says:

    I use the standby option a lot… if I get to the airport early and there’s another flight going, I’ll get on it. It’s so valuable to me that I will pick carriers like United that offer free standby over those that charge for it. You might try to get the $50 from me, but you’ll lose the $300 on the fare.

  12. Rick Seaney says:


    It will be interesting to see if any of the airlines join in on this latest fee – typically, where one goes, the others follow – but not so far.

    Thanks for your thoughts,

  13. Rocky says:

    IIRC, a few of the carriers have had this for a long time. e.g. US Air charges non-elites $50 as well. Continental has also long charged such fees.

  14. Rick Seaney says:


    Well for some reason, the fact that American did it really struck a nerve with folks.


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