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.



Tried this tip? Let me know in the comments!
Have your own tip? Email it to [email protected]!
Want to see more tips? Click here for all 744!

Want even more travel tips? Subscribe to the Daily Travel Tip newsletter! All you have to do is sign up for the weekly newsletter by filling in your email address and checking the Daily Travel Tip box in the top-right corner of the homepage.

If you already subscribe to the newsletter, fill in your email and check the Daily Travel Tip box in the same top-right corner of the homepage and you’ll receive an email with a link to update your JohnnyJet.com preferences. On that page, just click the Daily Travel Tip box and Update Profile and you’ll have Johnny’s best tips, straight to your inbox each day. And don’t worry—it’s easier than it sounds!


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

8 Comments On "Travel Tip of the Day: Don’t Rely on a Buddy Pass"
  1. bonnie|

    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.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I do remember and I believe it about your friend. Back then guys had to wear nice pants (no jeans), a button down shirt and shoes not sneakers.

  2. stan williams|

    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

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Yikes! Sorry to hear that happened.

  3. Jeannie|

    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.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Thank you for the kind words and support.



    1. Johnny Jet|

      Some flight attendants don’t want to get on a plane if they’re not working

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *