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If you’re flying with Alaska Airlines, but for some reason have to fly out earlier or later than your originally scheduled flight time, you can try to fly standby. Depending on your destination and the type of ticket you have, you may or may not be eligible, so you have to understand Alaska’s rules.
In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about flying standby on Alaska Airlines, from understanding the rules and restrictions to tips for making the experience as smooth as possible.
Here is everything you need to know…
Alaska Airlines Standby Rules: Who is Eligible?
You are eligible for same-day standby with Alaska Airlines if your reservation falls into any one of the three categories below, and you are not traveling on Saver fare:
- Ticket Type
- You have a refundable First Class or Main cabin ticket eligible for a same-day confirmed flight change, but space is not available on the desired flight to make a confirmed change. This applies to fare class Y or J.
- MileagePlan Status
- You are an MVP Gold Mileage Plan member (or traveling in the same reservation as one) and are eligible for a same-day confirmed flight change, but space is not available on the desired flight to make a confirmed change.
- You are traveling on a nonstop flight between:
- Anchorage and Fairbanks
- Seattle and Portland
- Seattle and Spokane
- Note: If you have a connection itinerary that includes flights between the cities above, you may fly on standby on those flights only. If you aren’t sure what to do, it’s best to see an airport customer service agent for help with this.
- You are traveling on a nonstop flight between:
How to Fly Standby on Alaska Airlines
Follow these steps to fly on standby with Alaska Airlines:
- Request same-day standby during check-in.
- While you’re checking in for your flight using the airline’s online check-in, mobile app check-in, or one of the airport kiosks, choose “Change flight” to request standby. All standby requests must be made before the departure of your original flight.
- Request same-day standby at the airport.
- If you are already at the airport and decide to fly on standby, ask an Alaska Airlines customer service agent to add your name to the standby list. All standby requests must be made before the departure of your original flight.
- Head to the gate for your chosen standby flight as early as possible.
- Remember that you may only know seat availability for same-day standby travel 30 minutes before the flight departs. During that time, be sure to stay in the boarding area, wait for your name to be called, and respond right away when the gate agent calls your name.
Rules for Missed Flights
If you miss a flight (and it’s your fault), you can ask to be placed on the standby list. You may be charged a fee, depending on the discretion of the gate or ticketing agent.
If you miss a flight because of a canceled or delayed flight, Alaska Airlines will try to confirm a seat for you on another flight. If all seats are filled, you can request to be placed on the standby list instead. You may have to wait for more than one flight before a seat becomes available, and you can proceed with your trip.
It’s best to ask the customer service or gate agents about your chances of securing a seat. If you are flying during peak season, it may be better to reschedule your trip instead of waiting it out at the airport.
Rules for Guest Pass (Employees, Friends & Family)
Alaska Airlines grants its employees and their dependents unlimited free flights on Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air through their “Guest Pass.” These are valid for travel system-wide on Alaska Airlines, flights operated for Alaska Airlines by Horizon Air, and SkyWest. Airline employees also get discounts on other airlines.
Using the Guest Pass to Purchase a Ticket
To use Alaska Airlines’ Guest Pass, you need to have an Alaska Airlines Guest Pass Discount Code. This code lets you and five more passengers purchase reduced-fare standby tickets. When you enter the Discount Code in the “Discount Code” field, you can view flights, discounted fares, and flight availability. However, you can only buy tickets 90 days or less from your desired travel date.
Guess Passes are only for the Coach Class cabin. You cannot use one for a First Class cabin. You can also only book a one-way trip with your Guest Pass. If you need to book a round trip, you must have two Discount Codes and shop separately for your outbound and return flights. Also, Alaska Airlines does not allow you to upgrade your ticket when traveling on a Guest Pass.
Alaska Airlines “Guest Pass” Standby Ticket Rules
This standby ticket means you do not have a confirmed seat on your desired flight. When your departure day comes, go to the airport as early as possible. If extra seats are available during boarding time, a customer service agent will call your name and allow you to board the plane. If there are no seats left on the plane, you can be placed on the standby list for the next flight.
With Alaska Airlines’ Guest Pass, you can monitor your flight as the departure date draws near. If it might seem like the flight you are eyeing will be a full one, you can change to a different flight and schedule as long as the departure city is in the same country of origin.
You can even change your ticket for up to seven days after the original travel date has passed. If you decide not to fly anymore, you can use the ticket number to access your monetary value and create a new itinerary (with similar routing) or request a refund.
Standby Guest Pass Passenger Rules
- Confirmed passengers have priority over standby passengers.
- Guest Pass (GP) standby travelers must be checked in and available to board at the designated boarding gate at least 40 minutes before posted departure for all flights. Failure to do so may cause the gate agent to bypass your name when assigning seats.
- Depending on the remaining available seats at the time standby passengers are boarded, GP passengers may not have their choice of seat assignments or be seated with a traveling partner.
- Standby passengers who are not accommodated on their desired flight should check with a gate agent so they can activate you on the standby list for the next available Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air flight.
- Gate agents have the final authority on boarding standby passengers.
- The Company will not reimburse costs of transportation purchased on Alaska, Horizon, or other airlines, or related expenses incurred by GP passengers encountering travel delays, nor will the GP passenger be eligible for meal or hotel expenses or Denied Boarding Compensation (DBC). When there is a flight interruption or non-routine operation, GP passengers will not be accommodated on another airline.
Standby Guest Pass Passenger Etiquette
- The dress code for GP passengers is a neat and clean appearance. Business casual attire is suggested. Short shorts, torn or tattered jeans, bare feet, halter tops, exercise clothing, T-shirts, or “sweats” are inappropriate.
- At all times, within hearing of confirmed passengers, GP passengers should refrain from mentioning that they are traveling on a special fare or other privileged discounts.
- Please remember the employee who has extended you the courtesy of a Guest Pass is accepting responsibility for your actions both on the ground and in the air even though he/she is not traveling with you.
- GP passengers must ensure their tickets, baggage, passports, and other documentation comply with the rules and regulations of travel to and from that country. Any fines levied against the Company due to a GP passenger being judged inadmissible by any country will be collected from the GP passenger.
Rules for Upgrades on Alaska Airlines
For First Class Upgrades
Getting upgraded is one of the perks of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status. Some fares are eligible for an immediate upgrade to First Class, as long as space is available. If not, you will be placed on the upgrade waitlist and cleared in the order of tier and fare class booked as soon as upgrade space becomes available.
Once you are on the waitlist, Alaska Airlines will keep looking for available upgrades and process them until approximately one hour before departure. When check-in begins, you can view the waitlist via the mobile app, the gate information display, or the website under flight status.
The gate agent will assign available First Class seas that are still available less than 1 hour before departure.
MVP Gold, Gold 75K, and Gold 100K may upgrade one companion traveling with them on the same flight, provided they are under the same reservation and service class. If a reservation has more than one companion, it will not be eligible for complimentary upgrades. Saver fares are also not eligible for Elite upgrades.
Premium Class Upgrades
Some fares are eligible for immediate upgrade into Premium Class, as long as space is available. If you book a fare class eligible for upgrades, but no Premium Class seats are available for your flight, you will be placed on the upgrade waitlist.
MVP members can receive upgrades for only themselves. MVP Gold, Gold 75K, and Gold 100K may receive upgrades for up to two passengers (themselves plus one companion).
The upgrade list is processed by elite status level within specific upgrade windows, fare class, then booking time. Once you are on the upgrade waitlist and within the upgrade window for your status level, the airlines will continue looking for available upgrades and process them until approximately one hour before departure. The gate agent will process upgrades that become available less than an hour before departure.
Fare classes are cleared in the following order: Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S, N, Q, O, G, T. Saver fares (booked in X class of service) are not eligible for complimentary upgrades. Once check-in begins, you can view the waitlist via the mobile app, the gate information display, or the airline’s website under flight status.
Alaska Airlines uses a single waitlist for both First Class and Premium class upgrades. They clear wait-listed members into First Class first, then into Premium Class. If you opt out of either First or Premium Class upgrades during the booking process, your name will be skipped as they process upgrades for the upgrade type you declined.
How Does the Alaska Standby List Work?
When you are placed on the standby list, the gate agent will place you according to priority. Full-fare and elite-status passengers will be given priority boarding before discount fare passengers, Guest Pass holders, and so on. You may have to wait for more than one flight to get an available seat.
What Can I Do If I’m Not Eligible to Fly Standby?
If you are not eligible to fly standby, Alaska Airlines has another option you may want to try: a same-day confirmed flight change. This allows you to switch flights for $50 if seats are available on your preferred flight.
Same Day Confirm Flight Change with Alaska Airlines
You may request a same-day confirmed flight change during the check-in window for your original flight. Your new flight must depart on the same calendar day as the initial departure.
Request this flight change by selecting “Change flight” when you check in online, via Alaska Airlines’ mobile app, or when checking in at an airport kiosk. You can also request this change through an airport customer service agent or by calling Alaska Airlines reservations.
If you are traveling on Alaska Airlines’ shuttle flights (flights between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Seattle and Portland, Seattle, and Spokane) and flights entirely within California, same-day confirmed changes cost $25. All other flights cost $50.
Who Can Make a Same-Day Confirmed Flight Change on Alaska Airlines?
To qualify for a same-day confirmed change, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You must be holding confirmed reservations and tickets for flights operated by Alaska Airlines.
- You must request the change before the departure of your original flight.
- You must have the same origin, destination, thru, and connection cities as your original flight. Co-terminal changes are not allowed.
- Your new desired flight must depart on the same calendar day as your original flight.
If you don’t meet the qualifications above, you can still make changes, but normal change fees and restrictions will apply.
Exceptions to Alaska Airlines’ Same-Day Confirmed Flight Change
- If you are traveling on Saver fare, you are not eligible for same-day confirmed changes.
- If you are traveling on a vacation package booking, you are not eligible for same-day confirmed changes.
- If you are booked in J (First) and Y (Coach) classes of service, the same-day confirmed change fee is waived.
- If you are MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K, and MVP Gold 100K Mileage Plan members, the same-day change fee is waived. It is also waived for American AAdvantage, Concierge Key, Executive Platinum, and Platinum Pro members. The fee is also waived for those traveling under the same reservation.
- If you are traveling on a group reservation, you must make same-day confirmed changes through the Group reservations desk. They cannot be made online, using kiosks, or with an airport agent.
- If you have a refundable coach or first-class tickets (fare class J or Y), you may request flight changes at any time for no change fee through the website or by calling Alaska Airlines reservations. If a seat cannot be confirmed, you may request same-day standby.
How to fly standby on other airlines:
Here are some more articles that explain how the standby list works on other airlines: