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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