Travel Tip of the Day: Don’t Rely on a Buddy Pass

picfornewsletterMarch42003JJAAonFlight_edited_editedDon’t Rely on a Buddy Pass
Last week, the BBC published a story about “nearly 200 Mexicans stuck at Madrid airport for days.” It turns out the travelers were using Aeromexico buddy passes. Those are tickets that are issued to airline staff and their relatives.

I’m very familiar with buddy passes because my old girlfriend, “Amber Airplane,” was a flight attendant and made me her domestic partner. This enabled me to use her buddy passes so I could fly pretty much anywhere on United Airlines as long as there was a seat available and she paid the taxes. It was super fun to go to Hawaii for dinner or fly first class to Australia but we were usually smart about it. We would fly off-peak and when the flight loads were low.

Back then (over a dozen years ago) it was much easier to fly on buddy passes because planes weren’t as full. A couple of times I learned the hard way that buddy passes aren’t to be used when you really need to get from point A to point B. For example, we once missed a wedding in Hawaii because we couldn’t get an empty seat. Another time in Washington, DC, we were asked to get off the plane to Cleveland just before they closed the aircraft door because a frequent flyer showed up. It was not only embarrassing but also ended up costing us more money since last-minute plane tickets aren’t cheap.

Just like Aeromexico “advised ticket-holders not to fly during the peak holiday season,” I advise thinking twice before using a buddy pass. If you really need to get somewhere don’t rely on a buddy pass. It may end up costing you more in the long run.



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About the Author

Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

8 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: Don’t Rely on a Buddy Pass"

  1. Not sure if this is still the case -would be nice to know though. A friend using a buddy pass was denied boarding because she was wearing sandals. It seems that anyone using a buddy pass had to be dressed appropriately (as an employee would). This happened on Delta at the Atlanta airport.

  2. tried Delta buddy pass- going Atlanta to Argentina about 2 years ago- then the great snow hit NYC and Boston- all Delta planes going to Argentina got routed to Atlanta- and as we were ready to board-about 35 diverted passengers showed up and took all the seats- and we we told that would happen for the next 3 days- ruined a week fishing trip and costs a ton- it was a very expensive lesson

  3. Johnny, I want to first thank you for your posts. As a Travel Consultant for almost 15 years, it is nice to hear about your journeys and what to do and not to do.

    I know when I fly on Alaska Airlines, I have to dress nicely and professionally as I am not only representing Alaska Airlines or the discounted airline I am flying, but also my own business.


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