Flight attendant buddy passes – do you REALLLY want one?

2233750434_635de9d1f5_mHi Heather,

I had an intriguing conversation with my best friend yesterday. His mom is now a retired American Airlines flight attendant. I’ve always been enamored with his ability to just hop on a flight whenever he wants for virtually no money. Just yesterday he was telling me the story how his mom only gets one registered companion (or whatever they call it) and since his sister is her register person, his mom had to find a friend to put him on as that persons registered person. That got me thinking, I wonder if I can find a really cool chick that I can compensate nicely to have her put me on as her registered companion (or whatever). Then I thought of who I know that’s a flight attendant and I remembered your blog! Since I’m running my small company, I’m always forced to pay ridiculous fares for last minute trips, and the inability to be more flexible with my flights. Wanted to hear your thoughts on this. Do you know of this taking place? Or is it too good to be true? Anyway, great blog!….looking fwd to hearing from you.



Dear Jason,

Do you feel me smiling as I simultaneously shake my head slowly back and forth? Do you know this is a HUGE flight attendant pet peeve – asking for passes? You must have no idea how many times people ask flight attendants about their buddy passes, and these are mostly people we rarely even know, like people we just happen to meet in the course of our day! Like the mailman, or a taxi driver, or even a random colleague of the spouse. Just last month my son’s preschool teacher hinted around for a pass. And my mother, who is also a flight attendant, was hit up by a nurse at her doctor’s office.

You mentioned that your friend, the one whose mother is an ex flight attendant, is able to fly back and forth whenever he wants for “virtually no money”, but that little bit of money is actually a lot of money to a flight attendant who is probably making on average 40K a year, and that’s only if he/she works for a major airline and has decent seniority with the airline. Keep in mind that money is automatically docked out of a flight attendants pay check, which, after we pay our bills, could be described as “virtually no money” leftover for anything else. Did you know that flight attendants also get stuck paying the taxes on your trip at the end of the year? We do.

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “Marry me, fly free?” That has since been changed to “Marry me, fly standby!” Have you flown standby recently? Do you really want to spend your day running from gate to gate, waiting for an agent to call your name, praying each time the agent picks up the phone that they’ll please call your name, please call your name, please call your name, only to feel as if you’ve just won the million dollar lottery when your name is actually called?

When I mentioned on Facebook that someone I didn’t know had asked about compensating a flight attendant for a buddy pass, Tom, a flight attendant, wrote, “I can get you a standby pass, which will allow you to ‘stand’ around all day then drive home mad at me!” Bob, the singing pilot, added, “I only give buddy passes to people I hate. Then I can gleefully relish when they get stranded in Senegal for 10 days.”