Alaska Airlines Standby Policy

Understanding Alaska Airlines Standby Policy

Flying standby is a convenient option offer by airlines allowing passengers to get earlier flights with empty seats for discounted fares. Alaska Airlines allows standby travel for eligible passengers seeking flexibility and additional options. However, Alaska’s standby policy has specific requirements, procedures, and restrictions that passengers must understand before opting for standby flights. This article will provide an in-depth explanation of Alaska Airlines’ standby policy including eligibility, standby lists, procedures, fees, restrictions, and tips for getting confirmed on standby flights.

Who is Eligible for Alaska Airlines Standby Flights?

To fly on standby on Alaska Airlines, the following passengers are eligible:

  • Customers who have existing confirmed tickets on Alaska Airlines looking to fly earlier on standby.
  • Customers with reservations on partner airlines can standby on Alaska’s flights per the airline agreement.
  • Mileage Plan members with miles booked award tickets may stand by for earlier Alaska flights.
  • Passengers on alternate or overbooked flights volunteered by Alaska due to irregular operations.
  • Alaska Airlines employees with complimentary standby privileges subject to availability.
  • Elite level Mileage Plan members with complimentary standby privileges based on their status.
  • First class passengers can stand for First Class on earlier flights subject to availability.
  • Unaccompanied minors and passengers requiring special assistance are not permit to fly on standby.

How Standby Lists Work on Alaska Airlines?

Alaska Airlines maintains the following categories for standby lists at the airport:

  • Priority list contains elite Mileage Plan members, first-class passengers, and airline staff. Cleared first.
  • Positive space list has passengers with existing confirmed tickets on Alaska flights seeking alternate options.
  • Free standby list contains Mileage Plan members using miles to standby. Cleared last after all paid standby passengers.
  • Passengers on the Positive Space list are cleared based on fare class – full fare tickets get preference over discounted economy tickets.
  • Within the Mileage Plan tiers, higher elite status holders are cleared before others.
  • Standby lists are prepared airport-wise for each flight leg and are not based on any reservations or check-in time.
  • Alaska also has connecting standby lists to accommodate passengers with layovers seeking alternate connecting flights.

Procedures for Flying Standby on Alaska

Following are the standard procedures for standby travel on Alaska Airlines:

  • Request standby at the check-in counter at the airport mentioning desired flight details.
  • The agent will add you to the appropriate standby list based on eligibility.
  • Alaska issues a standby boarding pass with ‘Standby’ mentioned for the requested flight. The Main confirm ticket is unchanged.
  • With this boarding pass, go through the security check to the assigned gate and wait for clearing.
  • Gate agents start clearing standby lists 45 minutes before scheduled departure based on seat availability.
  • Listen carefully for standby announcements at the gate. Approach the agent once called and confirm seat assignment.
  • If successful, the agent will collect your previous boarding pass and replace it with a new confirmed seat pass.
  • If standby is unsuccessful, go back to the gate of the originally confirmed flight to board.

Fees and Charges for Alaska Standby

Following additional fees apply when flying standby on Alaska:

  • Standby is free for eligible customers with existing tickets seeking earlier flights.
  • Mileage Plan members using miles to standby need to pay taxes/fees for new flights plus a $25 booking fee if standby is successful.
  • Fare difference may need to pay if the standby flight has a higher base fare than the originally booked flight.
  • If bags were already checked in with a confirm flight and standby is successful, bags will be transferred for free by Alaska.
  • Additional checked baggage charges may apply if bags exceed the free allowance as per the new flight.
  • For unsuccessful standby, no new charges apply and the customer flies on the original confirmed flight.
  • First-class passengers standing by to first need to pay an upgrade fee for first-class if standby is confirm.
  • No refund or credit will given if the fare of the standby flight is lower than the original booking.

Restrictions to Keep in Mind

The following restrictions apply when flying standby on Alaska:

  • Standby flights must be on the same day as your originally scheduled flight.
  • Standby is permit only for Alaska-operated or Horizon Air-marketed flights. Not valid for partner flights.
  • Flights with ‘Guaranteed’ standby are ineligible – these are very high-demand flights.
  • Not permitted on specially priced promotional awards or companion fare tickets.
  • Only one standby flight change is allow per ticket.
  • Standby is not allow earlier than the original departure city of booking.
  • Standby lists are closed out 15 minutes before scheduled departure for operational requirements.
  • Successful standby is subject to seat availability – Alaska does not guarantee confirmation.
  • Check standby rules for flights to/from Canada, as additional restrictions may apply.
  • Other airline rules may prohibit standby for their flights even if ticketed on Alaska.

Tips for Improving Standby Confirmation Chances

Here are some useful tips for getting your standby confirm easily on Alaska Airlines:

  • Opt for less busy direct flights and avoid layovers to have higher seat availability.
  • Target flights early morning or late night as they tend to have more empty seats.
  • Light travel seasons like September to November and January to February have better odds.
  • Join Alaska’s Mileage Plan program and build up elite status privileges for standby priority.
  • As an elite member, check what other elites are on the standby list to gauge competition.
  • Alaska’s mobile app shows standby lists for your upcoming flights. Monitor them for patterns.
  • Get ready to rush to the gate as soon as standby clearing announcements are made.
  • Have your bags pre-checked, if possible, to move fast if successful.
  • Always keep your original confirmed seat as a backup in case standby gets full.
  • Request standby again for subsequent legs in case the initial leg doesn’t clear.


Flying standby can provide significant benefits like earlier travel, accommodating emergency changes, or additional options for frequent passengers. Alaska Airlines offers standby privileges for eligible flyers but requires following the standard policies and procedures. Factors like elite status privileges, fare classes, flight demand, and timing play key roles in determining standby confirmation chances. Restrictions on partner flights, promotional fares, and flight legs must kept in mind. Monitoring airport standby lists, avoiding busy flights, having pre-checked bags and promptly reporting for cleared standby can improve your odds significantly. With proper research and planning, flying standby on Alaska Airlines provides a useful option for adding flexibility to your upcoming travel plans.

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