In the airline industry ‘permanent’ only means ‘until we change our mind.’ Several permanent changes were made to airline policies during the pandemic, like the elimination of change fees on most non-basic economy fares. We’ll see how long these last.
When American Airlines dropped most change fees in fall 2020 they also introduced free standby.
If you show up at the airport earlier and there’s space on an earlier flight, you’ll be able to travel for free. Previously only elite frequent flyers could do this. (Non-elites could pay a fee to be confirmed on an earlier flight if confirmed space was available for a same day change.)
The change still required traveling on the same routing. American’s standby and same day change benefits have been less generous than competitors since US Airways management took over. And non-status members cannot standby after checking bags.
Word is circling that the free standby benefit for non-status passengers may be ending. This is being reported by aviation watchdog JonNYC,
("domestic" = Itineraries within and between the following markets:
50 United States
U.S Virgin Islands)
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) June 9, 2022
and, yes, order is:
Involuntary standbys (RI) (IRROPS impacted not able to confirm on anything.)
First class standby (RF) (paid first class voluntary standby for any seat)
Revenue standby (RV) (paid customer voluntary standby)
Nonrevs (employees/travel companions)
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) June 10, 2022
I had separately heard from someone internal at American that free same day standby for non-status customers could end in September. I reached out to American for comment on Thursday but they did not respond.
Update Tuesday June 14: An airline spokesperson offers, “American has no plans to implement change fees for same-day standby flight changes.”