A friend of mine was traveling yesterday and ran into a standby problem that showcases how poorly American Airlines trains its airport agents and supervisors. Yes, you are allowed to standby on an earlier American Airlines flight. No, American Airlines does not only allow standby at certain airports.
American Airlines Agent Says Standby Is only Available At Certain Airports
My friend was flying from Burbank (BUR) in Southern California to Phoenix (PHX) on American Airlines yesterday afternoon. He booked his ticket using Alaska Airlines miles. Upon checking in, he was offered the chance to confirm himself on the evening fight to Phoenix, but the option to go standby or confirm on the morning flight was not offered (because the flight was zeroed out at the time).
He showed up at Burbank Airport a hour before the morning flight, without checked baggage, and asked to be placed on the standby list. He reasonably figured there might be no-shows and wanted to get on his way as soon as possible to Arizona.
Turns out, there were no-shows and a number of seats available on the earlier flight, even after employee standbys were cleared. But a supervisor told him:
“Upper management does not allow it at Burbank…Standby policy varies by location and they don’t allow standby at Burbank.”
Of course this is a bunch of malarkey. AA’s standby policy is very clear:
There is no caveat that the ticket has to be issued by American Airlines. On the contrary:
Travel on partner airlines
If you bought a ticket with a partner airline for a flight operated by American, you can stand by or buy a same-day confirmed change. Use your American Airlines confirmation code to view your trip.
Despite saying that standby (in general) was “not allowed” at BUR, the agent showed my friend his monitor and pointed to the red bar setting, “Unfortunately, same day standby is not available for this reservation.”
I’m not familiar with AA’s passenger service system or how to override this prompt (pressing F3 perhaps?), but the AA policy is very clear…there is no exclusion for award travel.
I told my friend I would write about this, but also encouraged him to write into American Airlines. The agent may have been nice enough at Burbank, but he was misnformed and his refusal to figure it out (or call a help desk to figure it out) strikes me as very poor customer service. The flight morning needlessly departed with opens seats and my friend sat for three hours waiting for the next flight.
Standby is permitted to an earlier American Airlines flight. Full stop.
I’m not sure what the disconnect is between the explicit AA policy and the screen above, but the earlier flight went out with many opens seats and my friend needlessly had to wait several hours for his original flight. That is not the way this should work and I hope that American Airlines will read this and make clear to its airport staff that 1.) standby is permitted on all tickets and 2.) show them how to to make it happen.