One of the major perks of working for an airline is the travel benefits – it’s the reason why you see me in San Diego one weekend, back to New York during the week, and then in Phoenix the next (my actual schedule for this week). But this kind of traveling comes at a different price – flying standby, meaning we don’t have guaranteed seats and we won’t know that we’re going to get on until we get on.
I remember the first flight James and I took – it was two weeks into the job and we thought we’d try something low key like Austin. Super easy! A few weeks later, we flew down to Fort Lauderdale in the middle of spring break. Getting there was a breeze, but getting back – well, to make long story short, we couldn’t get on three or four flights, so we ended up flying to Baltimore, renting a car and driving all the way back to New York by 1:00 AM. And by we, I mean James drove, while I slept. 😁
There have been days when we got to our vacation destination a little later than expected. And there have been times when we trekked all the way to the airport only to have to come back again the next day. This past weekend, we had planned to fly with our dog to San Diego to surprise my dad for Father’s Day. The seat situation was looking good, until we were told there were too many pets on board (yes, there’s a limit!). So we quickly figured out a different route to get home and made my dad drive 1.5 hours up to Long Beach to pick us up – surprise!
Flying standby isn’t for the faint of heart, but it has changed the way I approach life. I used to be the type of person that would plan trips out by the minute. At the risk of revealing how nerdy I am, I would prepare vacation itineraries down to the very detail (where we’re staying, contact information, restaurants, activities). These days, we don’t even book a hotel until the aircraft door is closed and we’ve pushed back from the gate!
I never used to be a spontaneous person – and yes, to a degree, it still makes me uncomfortable. But it’s also exciting and fun. I’ve learned to go with the flow, pivot when I need to and make the best out of every situation. Just thinking about it makes me excited to see what adventures lie ahead!
If you could hop on a plane and go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Let me know in the comments section below!