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Tips for flying to Vegas standby (non-rev)?

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by BigDofBA, Aug 5, 2012.

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  1. BigDofBA

    BigDofBA Tourist

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    The g/f and I are planning a trip October 17 - October 20 and I was entertaining the idea of flying standby from Tulsa to Las Vegas.

    The ticket from Tulsa to Dallas is $15 and the ticket from Dallas to Vegas is $45.

    I just looked at the upcoming week and it looks as though if we were going this week, we could make there flying standby on Wednesday but getting back on Saturday would be dicey.

    I was thinking about flying standby to Vegas, then buying a ticket to Dallas on the way back, and flying standby home from Dallas to Tulsa.

    It looks as the the Tulsa/Dallas flights are always open.

    Has anyone had any experiences or any tips flying to Vegas standby? This would cut our airfare in half if we could get on a flight.

    The airline is American. Thanks!
     
  2. aliasyoshi

    aliasyoshi Low-Roller

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    Being a total novice to standby, how can a Dallas to Vegas flight be only $45?
     
  3. BigDofBA

    BigDofBA Tourist

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    I've always had the ability to fly standby (family member worked for American Airlines) but I have never done it because I like knowing that I have a ticket.

    With that said, after I paid $100 to fly to Dallas and my sister informed me she had just flown there for $14.95, I started entertaining the idea. I didn't realize it was that much cheaper.

    Here is the price I was given based on my family members retiree benefits. I copy and pasted this.

    PLEASE USE THE CORRECT AIRPORT CITY CODE ON ALL TICKETS

    D3-OTHER PASS TRAVELERS
    TUL DFW 238 14.45 14.45
    DOM TAX 1.08 1.08
    SEG TAX 3.80 3.80
    ADMIN FEE 2.50 2.50
    DFW LAS 1,055 45.10 45.10
    DOM TAX 3.38 3.38
    SEG TAX 3.80 3.80
    ADMIN FEE 2.50 2.50

    SERVICE CHARGE 59.55 59.55
    US TAXES/FEES 17.06 17.06
    TOTAL 1,293 76.61 76.61

    It's considerably cheaper. Looking at flights this week, it appears like you can do this during weekdays but the flights aren't open on the weekend. I would need to purchase a ticket on the way back from Vegas to Dallas and then go ahead and fly standby home from Dallas.

    This is the plan.
     
  4. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    Since you have airline connections, have somebody look at history and bookings to give you an idea what your chances are.

    And, even more important, what to you alternate flights look like.

    A fair chance on Flight A is worth way less if the flights over the next 24-48 hours are terrible.
     
  5. BigDofBA

    BigDofBA Tourist

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    My family told me Vegas was the hardest place to fly standby in and out of it.

    Looking at flights the past few weeks, it looks like I can definitely get there since we're flying out on a Wednesday. That would cost around $76 after all the taxes.

    Getting back seems near impossible since the flights are always full on the weekends and we will be flying back on a Saturday. With that said, the flights from Dallas back to Tulsa always seem open, so I would fly home from Dallas that Saturday stanby.

    I was going to purchase a ticket with Southwest for $107 from Vegas to Dallas on the way back and then fly home standby for $15. That would make my total airfare around $200 roundrip which is about half of what I would pay if I just purchased my tickets normal.

    Normally I wouldn't mind paying an extra couple of hundred bucks but when you're paying for more than yourself it starts adding up quickly.

    If I was traveling this week, it appears like my plan would work since Wednesday is open. I'm assuming traveling to Vegas in August would be a lot harder than traveling in late October.

    If the flights are open this Wednesday, isn't it reasonable to assume the situation would be similar in October? It seems like August would be a busier month.

    This is why I'm asking more experience people. I'm trying to figure out if it's a bad idea and what experiences others had.
     
  6. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    If this will be on American Airlines at least one big plus is that their website will show you how many seats are available on each flight ahead of time, otherwise you have to rely on no shows, late arrivals or people missing connections.

    Taking a peek at the Dallas to Las Vegas flights on Oct 17th it looks like most of them are already around 80% sold, with there still being 10.5 weeks to go.


    Since it looks like the flights might be filling up, a tip I might offer would be:

    If you book your tickets as separate passengers you would have a better chance that one of you can get on a flight if they can't take both of you.

    If you are willing to split up like that one would assume you would let your girlfriend take the first flight... if you are willing to do that you should make sure she can be OK in Las Vegas.

    IE: You want to make sure she can get to the hotel. Explain the shuttles, how much they cost, where she is going, etc.

    You might think she could just wait at the airport for you, but who knows how long until you arrive or if you even will be arriving that day?

    To that end she has to be able to check in to the hotel. Her name should be on the reservation and if she doesn't have a credit card to cover the room she would need enough cash on hand to pay for the room.

    Then beyond that its just extra planning: she'll need money for food and drink, is she going to want to gamble or do something or just sit in the room waiting for you to arrive, etc.

    If one or both of you doesn't have a phone then a good plan is to have a note pad where you can leave messages in the room if whoever arrives first leaves the room, to detail things like: where they will be, when they will be back, where they can be found, etc. so that if the other arrives they can find the note, leave an updated note like "going to find you, will come back to room at 5PM if I don't"


    Other than that, I would say if you've never flown standby it can be no big deal to some people and totally nerve wracking to others - I'm in the latter group: when my father in law worked for Air Canada I could fly anywhere they fly in North America for free so long as I was willing to do it on standby and at first that sounded awesome, but after a couple of flights I just couldn't get in to it and would rather pay for my flights so I know when to get to the airport, when my flight departs and when I am getting where I am going... rather than showing up at the airport at 6-7AM and sitting around for possibly hours not having a clue if/when I'll get on a flight (never happened to me, but my brother had a couple of occasions where it actually took him more than a day of waiting to get on certain flights)
     
  7. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Its the other way around.

    A lot of people are leery of going to the desert in August - it can get pretty hot during the day and while some people love it, some don't mind it, the majority don't like it.

    Whereas for October: not just Las Vegas, but for couples with no kids September and October are when they take their "summer" vacation. As rates are generally a lot cheaper and wherever you go there are almost no kids to be seen since they are all back in school by then.

    Specifically for Las Vegas: the weather is still going to be great in mid October, probably starting to get a little cool-ish at night but should still be high 80s and low 90s during the day with the occasional spike up to 100 degrees now and then...

    But the big one is: by October convention season is back on in full swing, with an average of 4-5 conventions going on every day... so thats a lot of people coming and going.
     
  8. BigDofBA

    BigDofBA Tourist

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    Thank you very much for the info!

    I just looked at the flights for October 17 through jetnet.aa and it was showing that the flights were about 15-20% full or 20 out of 124 seats had been purchased.....

    Part of what you explained is why I haven't bothered to fly standby before. I like knowing when I need to arrive and when I will leave. I do not like the uncertainty of not knowing if I'll make it or not.

    If worse comes to worse, i could just use my standby tickets to fly from Tulsa to Dallas since those are always open. This would save a little coin.

    Last time I flew to Vegas was in 2008. Roundtrip flying United cost me $220 a person. Now it's over $400 a person for pretty much every airline. That trip was in February btw.

    Thanks again for the input.
     
  9. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    I did this, or attempted to do this, ONE time using US Air Non-Rev tix from STL-Vegas through Phoenix. Night before showed plenty of seats open. We drove to STL for the early morning flight, didn't know that Southwest had pulled a bunch of planes overnight for emergency maintenance and US Air was picking up the bulk of their passengers.

    Long story short - we didn't get to go on our trip at all. We had Bon Jovi tickets which I sold on Ebay and had to cancel hotel and other stuff. It was a major downer driving home with no vacation. I tried to use the tickets to another destination later and, even tho the seat maps showed there were seats available, evidently there were a number of passengers who had purchased tickets but not reserved their seats, so those planes were full as well when we arrived at the airport.

    That said, I know a number of people who do this regularily with good luck. It's not worth it to me since I schedule vacation at work and, if the flights fall through, then I still am required to take the vacation days.

    Good luck!
    diane
     
  10. earth-3

    earth-3 High-Roller

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    My son works for United and I agree with Las Vegas being a difficult stand-by ticket. The best thing to do is fly into another airport like Denver, Pheonix or even San Francisco and then purchase a short flight ticket into and out of Las Vegas. You need to purchase this ticket as far ahead as possible, it seems, for good pricing. Your cutting your distance and cost down as much as possible, but still have a guaranted ticket in and out of Las vegas.
     
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