The Joys of Flying Standby

Around midnight of last night I discovered I had made a terrible miscalculation in my travel plans…

In addition to having oodles of Delta and United miles that are allowing me to criss-cross around the globe, I also have the (sometimes) wonderful privilege being eligible for  non-revenue standby travel as a result of my father’s 30-year career with Delta.  What this means is that I am able to ‘get in line’ for those empty seats on the plane, and if nobody has a higher seniority who is also waiting, I can get into one of those seats for a very reduced price.  So can anyone else who has ever worked for Delta.

Today I had planned to fly from Cincinnati to Atlanta to New Orleans to visit a friend for a few days before flying to Vietnam on Wednesday.  Around midnight I discovered that plan was not going to work, as there were more people ahead of me on the waiting list than there were actual empty seats.  After about 30 minutes of poking and prodding the Delta system for seats and flight availability, I found a way into New Orleans through a 7am flight to Orlando, then Atlanta, then New Orleans.  All was right in the world again …all the way up until I got to the airport in Cincinnati and discovered that I left my drivers license at home.  I didn’t think it would offer any value in Vietnam, and I knew I could get into the bars in New Orleans with my passport (already mailed down here from the Vietnamese embassy).  Then I walked up to the TSA security checkpoint and reached for my ID – oops!  Fortunately I was able to get through security by showing my Delta Skymiles iPhone app that had my name, and my four credit cards that also had my name – all of which matched the name on my ticket.  Eventually I was on my way and able to go to Orlando, and was able to make a right connection because my plane landed at gate 76 and the subsequent flight was out of gate 73.

Things were right in the world until I checked the flight availability again for the flights from Atlanta to New Orleans.  All of a sudden, nearly every flight was oversold or at ‘only’ zero free seats.  In a slight panic, (and with a memory of driving 7.5 hours from Atlanto to New Orleans once before…) I looked up flights to Baton Rouge.  It turned out that there was a flight with open seats scheduled to leave at the exact time (12:05) that I was looking up this information. This offered me no luck – until I happened to check and saw that the flight was delayed by 30 minutes.  I jogged from the B terminal in Atlanta to D28 and managed to get into the very last open seat of the airplane.

An hour later – I’m sitting in the airport waiting on a friend to drive from New Orleans up to Baton Rouge to pick me up.  We’re a little behind schedule – I was supposed to arrive around noon, but also ahead of schedule since I got here today and that wasn’t a guarantee.  Hopefully things will calm down for the next few days, but if they don’t – it’s not like I have a specific schedule that I’m trying to keep.




2 thoughts on “The Joys of Flying Standby

  1. LOL that sounds like my kinda luck and my determination to get where I want allowing nothing to stand in my way. Enjoy your trip.

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