7 Tips for Business Travelers Who Are Flying Standby

7 Tips for Business Travelers Who Are Flying Standby
7 Tips for Business Travelers Who Are Flying Standby. Image source: Pixabay


The business world experiences last-minute changes daily. Those changes have a ripple effect. For example, the company representative scheduled to travel gets sick. Someone else has to fill in. That person becomes you.

Obtaining a last-minute flight to a busy destination poses a challenge.

Finding yourself on the standby list is better than having no flight altogether. Airports are a chaotic place. Spending several hours there unsure if you’ll board a flight requires patience and optimism.

The following are seven tips for business travelers who are flying standby.

1. Understand the Rules

In 2019, an estimated 464 million domestic business trips took place in the United States. Some business professionals travel frequently for their job. Others only travel once in their careers.

The more you travel, the more you learn about the corporate travel rules that govern standby flight status.

This status means that you do not have a flight reserved and purchased in your name. However, you are on a waitlist. The waitlist status allows you access to an open seat on a designated flight if it becomes available.

In 2021, some airlines require potential passengers to register over the phone for this flight status. It’s no longer possible to arrive at the airport without a ticket or standby registration.

Previously, standby meant arriving at the airport at the last minute without a ticket. Individuals aimed to obtain open seats at discounted prices. Now individuals that have a ticket but require a same-day flight change receive the status

It’s also reserved for individuals who experience a flight cancelation or delay.

Keep in mind that the exact rules depend on the airline.

Every airline aims to fly full airplanes every flight the same hotels aim to book every room every night. Each works with customers to reach 100% capacity.

2. Arrive with Time to Spare

When seeking to board a flight on standby status, arrive at the airport with time to spare. Give yourself enough time to go through the check-in process.

Sometimes making the travel arrangements is out of your hands. If you find yourself in a last-minute situation, you work with the circumstances at your disposal.

The trick to getting through these situations is learning the ropes. For beginners, Hotel Engine offers a guide to planning business travel arrangements.

As you become a veteran, you’ll learn how to work standby status in your favor. You’ll also learn how to prepare for the wait at the airport and remain productive.

3. Show Up Dressed in Your Best Business Attire

As a company representative, present a professional appearance and demeanor while you travel. It helps to look the part of a corporate traveler. Professionalism goes a long way in several aspects of life.

If you dress the part, you might come across additional benefits such as upgrades.

4. Be Kind to the Airline Staff

People who fill consumer-facing positions deal with many kinds of customers. Airline staff who work the airport counters work with the tools at their disposal. Sometimes they can finagle miracles for individuals seeking last-minute flight changes. Other times they can’t.

To encourage them to help you out, be kind to the airline staff.

Some consumers deal with customer service representatives that don’t have the best bedside manner. Sometimes confronting the representative forces them to work a miracle. However, it’s not the best tactic.

Although it sounds cliche, it’s best to catch flies with honey rather than vinegar.

5. Sit By the Boarding Gate

Once you make your way through the standby process and arrive at the airport, sit by the boarding gate.

If you hear your name, find your way to the booth near the gate in seconds. The airlines allow passengers a set amount of time to arrive at the gate after calling their name. That time moves quickly.

When the passenger fails to show up promptly, the staff proceed on to the next name. Remember, the flight needs to leave on time too. Thus the staff moves things along.

6. Remain Productive While You Wait

While you wait to hear your name, remain productive at the airport. It’s not a good idea to take a nap, but you should rest and relax. If you feel anxiety, consider reading or focusing on your work.

You can listen to music, but keep your ears open.

7. Explore Alternate Options

In business situations, having a Plan B is important. Consider the distance between your starting point and destination. If it’s within a reasonable distance, check the train schedule.

Driving is another option to consider.


When you find yourself on the standby list, maintain a level head on your shoulders. If you fly during the busy season or to a busy hub, you are far from alone. Follow the above tips, and remember to exercise other transportation options as necessary.