Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

Standby… (Non-rev travel)

Bf and I decided some time back that we would take our first trip with baby on a plane this summer. He bid for several trips away that we could do whilst the schools are still on (to give us more chance of securing a cheap ‘standby’ seat).  We lucked in, he has a Caribbean flight this week and we booked a standby ticket for £60 return.

Great! Right? Hmmmmm. Personally I am starting to think that the ‘perks’ of this lifestyle are more trouble than they’re worth. Great if you are without children, commitments or a career; but let’s face it-who IS free of all these things?

Let me elaborate. When I was pregnant, I arranged to go on one of his trips. I was fine for the trip out, as there were at least 20 free seats. But coming home, it looked like there were none, as all had been sold to a third party by the airline for them to sell. I ended up booking a very pricey single trip home in order to avoid being stranded and not making it back here on time for work and the children.

Another time we went, I had to sit in the airport until the plane was pretty much boarding before they finally agreed to let me have a seat for a no-show. Very stressy; as I had to sprint from check in, through security and all the way to the gate.

This time, Bf has checked the loads going out, and there is only one spare seat going out. I don’t fancy my chances, and I will be gutted if Baby and I don’t make it on after all of our planning. But even if I do, the flight is almost equally full coming back. So I could still get stranded there with baby and looking at other airlines, a ticket home could run into the thousands!

So last night, I woke up at 3:30am, and couldn’t stop mulling over the ‘do-we, or don’t we?’ dilemma. Even If I get on, I’ll have to run like a cheetah through to the gate, and with the super strict security regulations, I don’t think I can even take baby milk through… Yet I won’t have time to stop and shop for supplies airside!


Even IF I get through all of that rubbish sane; I then get to sit in a cramped seat with baby on my lap for 9 hours without Bf to take a turn. She has just this month reached the ‘I’m partially walking, therefore it’s all I want to do’ stage, and I just *KNOW* that she is going to throw a paddy if with boredom.

Not to mention, if I DO get stranded in the Caribbean, I know that Bf will not completely relax for the rest of his flight home, no matter how professional his head that day. So no, actually I don’t rate the ‘perks’ of this lifestyle anymore. I think they pretty much exclude employees with families. As the chances of being able to take advantage of this with your whole family is slim.

We have agreed that from now on we will book only confirmed tickets when travelling with the children in tow. It just isn’t worth the stress and sleepless nights. Even when you’re out there on ‘holiday’ you’re stressing about whether you’ll make it home. We are looking into booking a confirmed ticket home even for this trip now. So the cheap standby ticket is suddenly pretty pointless any way.



One Response to “Standby… (Non-rev travel)”

  1. Oh dear! The least you expect from having to deal with alot of bad things from this lifestyle is at least some nice perk!! I hope you get something sorted!!

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