It’s a hot summer for those traveling on standby. Planes are filled to their maximum capacity and many flights get canceled or delayed. Is this the new normal, and is it still worth flying non-rev in 2022?

The recovery

After 2 years of COVID lockdowns and hardly any international or national travel, the airline business is recovering at a rate no one had foreseen. 

In 2020 we wrote an article on how quiet Amsterdam Schiphol airport was. How things have changed!

Back in November 2020, Eurocontrol released the following graph showing that a complete recovery was not expected until 2023/2024 at the earliest, depending on what scenario played out.

* Source:https://www.eurocontrol.int/sites/default/files/2020-11/eurocontrol-five-year-forecast-europe-2020-2024.pdf

The latest information is showing that they were off by a long shot! Eurocontrol has just published its newest forecast, which is showing a faster than anticipated recovery.

Source: https://www.eurocontrol.int/press-release/new-eurocontrol-2021-2027-forecast-expects-traffic-recovery-2019-levels-end-2023

In the USA the recovery has even been steeper with load factors actually being higher on a weekly basis than pre-COVID.

* Source: https://www.airlines.org/dataset/impact-of-covid19-data-updates/

Delays at airports

Over the last couple of weeks, there has been chaos at airports worldwide. Especially Europe seems to be hard hit with severe delays at two-thirds of the European airports. 

Under-staffing at every level, from security to baggage handling is causing disruption to passengers. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Dublin, Lisbon, and many other airports are seeing people queue for hours just to get through security.

In the United States, the situation isn’t much better these days. Thousands of flights get canceled or delayed every day.

Modified flight schedules

Major U.S. air carriers, including JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and others, are planning to scale back their summer flight schedules this season in an effort to alleviate the challenges still facing the travel industry.

  • JetBlue has announced it is cutting or suspending 27 routes starting this summer. The airline plans to cancel 8% to 10% of flights starting in May.
  • Alaska Airlines plans to reduce around 2% of its total flights through the end of June to match its current pilot capacity.
  • Spirit Airlines plans to reduce its flight schedule by 5% to 6% in June after making smaller changes in April and May. This reduced schedule will continue through August.
  • Southwest Airlines has cut around 325 flights per day from April 3 to June 4.
  • American Airlines announced it is cutting several long-haul routes this summer due to Boeing 787 delivery delays.

Source: https://www.valuepenguin.com/news/airlines-cutting-flight-routes

What does this mean for non-rev travelers?

For most of us, it means that besides having a plan, A, B, and C, we need to be resilient and creative.

Traveling on standby might be more challenging than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Most airlines still accept non-rev pax on their flights, and with proper planning and flexibility, you can still get to your destination on a standby ticket. With the soaring ticket prices, it is definitely worth it.

Find your flight options and get the flight loads in the StaffTraveler app for iOS or Android or StaffTraveler for web at https://stafftraveler.app.

Be prepared

As non-rev travelers, we will have to be at the airport early and try to be a minimum distraction for security, gate staff, and baggage handlers. 

Make sure you have the StaffTraveler app downloaded and ready on your mobile device because the situation might change in a heartbeat. With our new live flight status updates, you will stay in the loop if your flights get delayed or canceled.

Now is the time to start stocking up on some credits for your future travels. Don’t forget to read our post on how to get free credits!

We wish all of you good luck and safe travels!

StaffTraveler for web

Takeaways

Is it worth flying on standby in 2022?

Although more challenging than ever, flying on a standby ticket is definitely worth it given the soaring ticket prices. Just be flexible and prepare.

How to non-rev in 2022?

Prepare your trip using the StaffTraveler app. It will provide you with the most actual flight loads and keep you in the loop if your flights get delayed or canceled.

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