FYI: Flying standby is incredibly convenient.

11:00 pm, Northern Sunsets.

I’ve been away on a sneaky holiday in a sneaky location for the past week. It was exactly what I needed – to get away from reality, just for a few days. Though it rained the entire time, though everything didn’t go according to plan, though there’s always a ‘what could have been’ floating around the back of my mind, it was an incredibly calming, much needed week away.

For the first time ever, I flew standby for this trip. I’d always wanted to try flying standby before but have never really had the opportunity. It’s a luxury awarded to employees of airlines and their friends/family. Luckily, on of my connections decided to use his standby pass for me.

After five days, four standby flights, three airports and two time zones here is one list of things to know about flying standby:

  • It’s cheap. Hella cheap! For a trip that regularly costs roughly $1,000 Canadian, the entire trip’s fees were just airport taxes. I’d travel every trip this way, if I could.
  • It’s convenient. If you’re not needing to be anywhere at any given time, flying standby means you can show up at the airport whenever you want to and hop on any flight that happens to have an extra seat.
  • If the plane isn’t full, you have the opportunity to sit in your own row without paying an extra fee. One of the planes I boarded was only half booked. Not only did the airport gate attendant assign my seat to my own row, she assigned my seat to a row that didn’t have anyone around (four rows in front and four rows behind). You can always ask. It never hurts to ask!
  • If the plane is full, they will put you in whatever seat remains – which can include premium and plus seating. The second flight I got on was full. I was the last person to get a seat on the plane and the last seat available was premium seating… a seat/ticket that those sitting in paid an extra $500 for. I got it for free! Premium seating included having free drinks and a flight attendant waiting on us the entire flight… a perk I’ve never had before in my life as I’ve never booked a premium fare.
  • If the plane is full, you’re waiting for the next one. If you’re in a large airport, this might not a big deal. Another flight could be leaving for your destination in an hour, in which case I recommend grabbing some Starbucks and relaxing. But, if you’re in a small airport in a smaller city, this could mean several hours to a half day of waiting. This could be kind of a pain in the butt. It all depends on what type of traveller you are.
  • You can’t really check a bag. If you don’t know that you’re for sure getting on a flight, checking a bag would be rather stupid. Your bag will get to the destination and you just might not. For that reason, I highly recommend only bringing a carry-on bag and not paying for a checked-bag.
  • If you have connecting flights, you won’t know if you’re getting on them until you get there. You won’t know if you can get on flight two until you get off of flight one. If you’re a nervous/anxious traveller, this might not be an ideal scenario for you.

All-in-all, if you’re a laid back or easy going traveller and you have the opportunity to fly standby, I highly recommend it. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, and packing in a carry-on promotes the minimalist lifestyle we all dream of finding on holiday.

On the other hand, if you get nervous about flying, anxious about connections, fearful of lost baggage or any of the other worries travellers experience, I would say that flying standby might not be an ideal option for you. Some people really don’t want to have to worry about anything so booking flights 5+ weeks in advance is ideal for them.

If you know someone who works for an airline, or you just have the opportunity and want to try it, go for it! Sneak away for the weekend, or for a longer holiday. Everybody needs a little more adventure in their lives.

11 thoughts on “FYI: Flying standby is incredibly convenient.

  1. The suspense! I really wanna know where you ended up flying to >_<

    In a couple of weeks, we’ll be flying across the country to visit relatives…. they’ve been nagging us for months. It’s not really worth taking pics since it’s hardly a vacation for me. I’m not looking forward to it at all.

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    1. Try to escape for an afternoon or evening to go see something exciting! There are so many beautiful sights I want to see in Southern Ontario. My friend has told me he’d take me to all of them if I come. But I’d have to go every weekend. HAHA.

      But yeah, plan a little excursion. Maybe some of your family can babysit and you and your husband can escape! Who knows.

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      1. I’m originally from southern Ontario 😂. Lake Ontario is nice and I recommend Oakville just for the pretty houses and shops. My dad has a boat on Lake Ontario. Then there’s St.Jacob’s farmers market which is so close to where I grew up, and my parents recommend Niagara on the Lake if you like fresh fruits and more vendors. Then there’s Toronto which a whole other animal. My husband grew up close to TO and there’s lots of shopping if you’re into that sorta thing. For me, I like the Asian Malls and Toronto has a lot to offer. So does Markham. They’ve built an Asian mall in Calgary that looks just like Pacific Mall in Markham, except this one is lame (so far – I’m waiting for more stores). Pacific Mall in Markham, ON has the best, affordable bubble tea. Also, go to Canada’s Wonderland if you get the chance. 💗😊🌸✌️

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      2. I really want to go and see the Elora Mill Hotel and Spa. I also want to see the Bruce Peninsula Grotto, The Cheltenham Badlands… there’s so many places to see and so little time. Also, there’s a bunch of places up around Ottawa I want to go see too. I don’t think my friend would take me to Wonderland though, he’s afraid of heights. haha

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      3. I heard that Elora Mill Hotel and Spa is nice. My cousin was supposed to have her wedding there but had to change location. I used to go to Elora with my parents every weekend back in elementary and high school – for pub food. I’m not sure if Shepard’s Pub is still there or run by the same people, but they have really good pub grub. Also, I highly recommend Langdon Hall if you like fine dining and spas. It’s a beautiful mansion that they turned into a high class restaurant. They have a spa there as well, and a bed and breakfast. I’ve been to Ottawa many many years ago and felt a bit homesick so I don’t remember much of that trip. Wonderland does have some scary roller coasters. I’m scared of heights too! If I can do it, so can your friend 😀

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      4. I’ll Have to let you convince him of that. Lol! Thank you for the Langdon Hall suggestion, I always like hearing the good spots from locals. And since you grew up there you’re still a local.

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      5. If you’re the type that likes food, Langdon Hall portions are SMALL and $$$$. Their drinks are reasonably priced, so you can hang out in the beautiful sunroom while sipping a strawberry Daiquiri. I’s free to explore the mansion, spa, and the gardens. There is even a trail in the woods nearby to explore as well. Great opportunity for photos!

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