Have you ever wondered if those friendly faces welcoming you aboard your flight get to travel for free? As a frequent flyer, you’ve likely crossed paths with hundreds of flight attendants over the years. But do they receive free flights as an employee perk?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Most flight attendants do get free flights as a work benefit, though policies differ across airlines. Standby seats, buddy passes, and flight discounts are common.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at flight attendant travel benefits across major U.S. airlines. You’ll learn how standby policies work, requirements for free travel eligibility, cabin attendant discounts, and more airline-specific perks.
By the end, you’ll understand exactly how flight crews take to the skies on their days off.
An Overview of Flight Attendant Travel Benefits
Flight attendants are often envied for their glamorous lifestyle and the opportunity to travel to various destinations around the world. One of the perks that many people wonder about is whether flight attendants get free flights.
While it’s true that flight attendants enjoy certain travel benefits, it’s important to understand the specifics of these perks.
Free and Discounted Flights
Flight attendants typically receive free or heavily discounted flights as part of their employment package. These benefits allow them to fly for personal reasons or to visit friends and family without incurring substantial costs.
However, it’s important to note that the availability of free or discounted flights may vary depending on the airline and the flight attendant’s seniority.
Some airlines offer a limited number of standby seats to flight attendants, allowing them to fill empty seats on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that flight attendants may need to be flexible with their travel plans and be prepared to wait for available seats.
Other airlines provide flight attendants with a certain number of buddy passes or guest passes each year, which they can use to bring friends or family members along on their travels at a discounted rate.
Airline Policy Differences
It’s important to note that the travel benefits for flight attendants can vary significantly between different airlines. While some airlines may offer generous travel perks, others may have more restricted policies.
It is always advisable for flight attendants to familiarize themselves with their airline’s specific policies and limitations regarding free and discounted flights.
For example, some airlines may require flight attendants to wait a certain period of time before they can start using their travel benefits, while others may have blackout dates during peak travel seasons.
Additionally, the availability of free or discounted flights may depend on factors such as flight load, seat availability, and the number of flight attendants requesting travel benefits.
In order to qualify for flight attendant travel benefits, there are typically certain requirements that must be met. These requirements may include a minimum length of service, maintaining good standing with the airline, and adhering to company policies.
Flight attendants may also need to follow specific procedures when requesting and booking their travel benefits.
It’s worth noting that while flight attendants may enjoy travel benefits, these perks should not be viewed as a primary reason for pursuing a career in the airline industry. Flight attendants have demanding schedules and responsibilities that go beyond the allure of free or discounted flights.
However, the opportunity to explore new destinations and experience different cultures is undoubtedly one of the many perks of the job.
Standby Flights: How They Work
Standby flights are a unique perk that flight attendants enjoy. They allow them to travel on a space-available basis, meaning they can fly for free if there are empty seats on a particular flight. However, it is important to note that standby travel is not guaranteed, and flight attendants must follow certain procedures and guidelines to take advantage of this benefit.
Requesting a Standby Seat
Flight attendants typically have the ability to request a standby seat for themselves or for eligible family members. They can do this by contacting their airline’s employee travel department or using a designated online portal.
It’s important to request a standby seat well in advance, as availability can vary depending on the flight and destination.
When it comes to assigning standby seats, airlines have specific priorities in place. Generally, flight attendants and their eligible family members are given the highest priority, followed by other airline employees and their families.
After that, the priority may be given to employees from other airlines or industry partners. It’s important to note that standby passengers are usually accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis within each priority group.
Dressing for Standby
Flight attendants are often advised to dress professionally when traveling on standby. This is because if there are limited seats available, the airline may prioritize passengers who are dressed appropriately.
While there is no strict dress code, it’s wise to avoid wearing casual attire, such as flip-flops or sweatpants, when flying on standby. Dressing smartly can increase the chances of securing a seat on the desired flight.
Tips for Improving Standby Chances
There are a few tips that flight attendants and their eligible family members can follow to improve their chances of securing a standby seat. First, it’s important to be flexible with travel dates and times.
Flights that are less busy, such as early morning or late-night departures, are more likely to have available seats. Additionally, being polite and courteous to the airline staff can go a long way in securing a standby seat.
Lastly, it’s important to have a backup plan in case the desired flight is full. Having alternative flights or destinations in mind can help ensure a smooth travel experience.
Nonrevenue Benefits by Airline
One of the most common questions asked about flight attendants is whether they get free flights. While it is true that flight attendants enjoy certain travel privileges, the specifics of these benefits can vary from one airline to another.
Let’s take a closer look at the nonrevenue benefits offered by some of the major airlines.
Delta Airlines offers its flight attendants and their eligible family members unlimited standby travel on both domestic and international flights. Standby travel allows flight attendants to occupy any available seat on a flight after all paying passengers have been accommodated.
This benefit is a huge perk for flight attendants, as it allows them to explore various destinations at a significantly reduced cost.
American Airlines provides flight attendants with similar nonrevenue benefits. They have access to unlimited standby travel on both domestic and international flights, allowing them to travel the world at a fraction of the regular cost.
Additionally, American Airlines offers flight attendants discounted rates for confirmed seat bookings, making it easier for them to plan their trips in advance.
United Airlines grants its flight attendants and their immediate family members unlimited standby travel privileges on both domestic and international flights. In addition to standby travel, flight attendants can also enjoy discounted rates for confirmed seat bookings.
These benefits make it convenient for flight attendants to travel, whether it’s for leisure or visiting family and friends.
As one of the most popular low-cost carriers, Southwest Airlines provides its flight attendants with generous nonrevenue benefits. Flight attendants and their eligible dependents have unlimited standby travel privileges on both domestic and international flights.
This allows them to explore Southwest’s extensive network of destinations at no additional cost.
JetBlue offers its flight attendants and their eligible family members unlimited standby travel on both domestic and international flights. In addition to standby travel, flight attendants can also take advantage of discounted rates for confirmed seat bookings.
This allows them to plan their trips effectively and enjoy the convenience of confirmed travel.
Alaska Airlines provides its flight attendants and their immediate family members with generous nonrevenue benefits. Flight attendants have unlimited standby travel privileges on both domestic and international flights.
They can also enjoy discounted rates for confirmed seat bookings, making it easier for them to plan their trips in advance.
Frontier Airlines offers its flight attendants nonrevenue benefits that include unlimited standby travel on both domestic and international flights. This allows flight attendants to explore various destinations at a reduced cost.
Additionally, flight attendants can enjoy discounted rates for confirmed seat bookings, making their travel planning more convenient.
Spirit Airlines provides its flight attendants with nonrevenue benefits that include unlimited standby travel on both domestic and international flights. This allows flight attendants to explore different destinations at a significantly reduced cost.
Similar to other airlines, Spirit Airlines also offers discounted rates for confirmed seat bookings, providing flight attendants with more flexibility in their travel plans.
Hawaiian Airlines offers its flight attendants nonrevenue benefits that include unlimited standby travel on both domestic and international flights. This allows flight attendants to enjoy the beauty of Hawaii and other destinations served by the airline.
Additionally, flight attendants can also take advantage of discounted rates for confirmed seat bookings, making their travel experiences more affordable.
Other Perks: Buddy Passes, Lounges, and More
Flight attendants are often considered lucky when it comes to travel perks. While they do not typically receive free flights, they do enjoy a range of other benefits that make their work in the skies even more rewarding. Let’s explore some of the additional perks that flight attendants get to enjoy.
One of the most coveted perks for flight attendants is the availability of buddy passes. These passes allow flight attendants to extend the privilege of discounted or even free air travel to their friends and family members.
This means that flight attendants can share their love for travel with their loved ones, creating unforgettable memories together. Keep in mind that buddy passes often come with certain restrictions and are subject to availability, so it’s always a good idea to plan in advance.
When it comes to comfort and convenience, flight attendants are in for a treat. Many airlines provide their flight attendants with access to exclusive airport lounges. These lounges are a sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the airport, offering comfortable seating, complimentary food and beverages, Wi-Fi access, and other amenities.
It’s a great way for flight attendants to relax and recharge before or after their flights. So next time you see a flight attendant enjoying a quiet moment in the lounge, don’t envy them too much!
Flight attendants often receive special discounts when it comes to hotel accommodations. This perk allows them to enjoy comfortable stays at reduced rates during layovers or when they are traveling for personal reasons.
These discounted rates can make a significant difference in their travel expenses and enable them to explore new destinations without breaking the bank. It’s just another way the airline industry shows appreciation for its hardworking flight attendants.
Need a rental car at your destination? Flight attendants often enjoy discounted rates with various car rental companies. This perk not only makes it more convenient for them to move around during their layovers but also allows them to save money on transportation expenses.
So the next time you see a flight attendant hopping into a rental car, remember that they are not just enjoying the convenience, but also benefiting from a great discount.
Yes, you read it right! Some airlines offer their flight attendants the opportunity to enjoy discounted or even free cruises. This perk allows flight attendants to take a break from the skies and embark on an adventure at sea.
Whether they choose to explore the Caribbean, Mediterranean, or any other stunning destination, flight attendants can enjoy the luxuries of a cruise ship while experiencing new cultures and destinations. It’s a well-deserved reward for their hard work and dedication.
So, while flight attendants may not receive free flights, they certainly have an array of other perks that make their job even more exciting. From buddy passes to exclusive lounge access, discounted hotel rates to rental car discounts, and even the opportunity to go on cruises, flight attendants can enjoy a variety of benefits that enhance their travel experiences.
While flight attendant nonrevenue travel policies vary between airlines, the majority provide free flights and discounts as an employee benefit. Standby flying, buddy passes, priority ahead of passengers, and other unique perks make travel easy and affordable for cabin crews on their time off.
So next time a flight attendant welcomes you aboard, know they’ll likely be taking to the skies again soon on their own adventures – this time for free.