US Airways Late Night Flights Disqualify You for Standby?

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I discovered a fun glitch in the US Airways system Sunday night.

I was flying to DC on the last flight of the night, well, technically the first flight of the morning. It left Charlotte at 12:20AM and arrived a little before 2. I’d been tempted to book the earlier flight that got before midnight, but only had a 40 minute connection — too risky.

But when my first flight got in early, I ran to the gate to see if they could  add me to the standby list. Turns out they couldn’t because technically my flight left the next day and they could only do standby for the day of travel.

This should not have surprised me.

They advised me to go to customer service and ask them to put me on the list.

While the agent was attempting to, he discovered that I had been removed from my original flight and now had no seat on either plane. He tried to fix it, but apparently the gate still “had control of the ticket” and only they could reinstate me. And also that he couldn’t put me on standby but they could — “just tell them the service desk said they could”.


So not only might I not get home before midnight, I might not be getting home at all that night!

I ran back to the gate where they were already boarding. Tumbled out an explanation — a little too panicked to be extra differential deferential, but only made them slightly defensive (which I was able to overcome) and watched the agent punch a bunch of keys a bunch of times, repeatedly shaking her head in confusion.

Eventually she was able to reproduce my ticket and upgrade on the original flight and then added me to the standby list. Whether it was because she felt bad for the confusion or because the customer service desk had now authorized their ability to do so, I didn’t know. But I did clear standby and everything turned out.

So…what I learned is that if they tell you you can’t be added to the standby list because of a late night flight, go ask other agents until you get a better answer. And if they do access your ticket, double check that your original itinerary still stands!


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  1. Jason

    July 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    “a little too panicked to be extra differential”

    I really hate to nitpick, Keri, but it took me a few tries to figure out what you meant here — deferential, right? 🙂

    • Keri Anderson

      July 9, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Hahahaha Thanks for seeing that! I really shouldn’t blog with a head cold!

  2. PainCorp

    July 9, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Not trying to be that guy, but I’ve now seen two posts where you (or your blog co-writer) were surprised by very basic information. First lounge policies that are easily found online, and now that same day stand by really is same day.

    • Keri Anderson

      July 10, 2014 at 2:43 am

      I see your point. In my case I thought an itinerary booked for departure on that day would qualify for Move Up even if the connecting flight left 20 min into the next day. And not to speak for Jeanne, but had it been my trip I would have assumed that if the airline considered upgrades to the Caribbean as domestic, they would have applied the same standards for lounge access.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      July 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      PainCorp, thanks for the comment! The point of my post (which probably wasn’t clear enough) was that what ended up being true was what I thought was true initially, but the lounge agent and the phone agent had insisted differently.

  3. Segments

    July 10, 2014 at 2:18 am

    Problem is compounded by how US defines “day” differently in different situations. If you want to book the 12:20 am ticket it shows as the last flight of the prior day, but the move up / standby rules “see” it as the first flight of the next day.

    • PainCorp

      July 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      On the other hand though, how many people are going to go looking for a 1am flight on 7/15 when they want a late night flight on 7/14.

      That being said, I completely understand what you mean.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      July 11, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Phone Agents also get confused. One told me it’s hard for them to tell if 12:20 gets booked as today or tomorrow.

  4. Jason A

    August 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    You also have to be careful booking the correct departure day on the US Airways website for middle of the night flights. For example if you want to depart on Thursday from LAS for example: if you book the “red eye” flight (which leaves at 12:59 am) it departs on Friday AM not Thursday AM. The website does not make this clear until you proceed to the following page. Just have to be careful to make sure you have the correct day marked!

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      August 6, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      The agents on the phone get confused by this too because in their system, Thursday 12:59 am IS a Thursday flight, where as on the customer facing website, the 12:59 Thursday is a Friday flight. So if you tell the agent you searched for Thursday and got the flight you wanted, they might accidentally put you on the Thursday early morning flight instead of the Friday early morning flight you are seeing.

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