Buddy Passriders Get Stuck In Salt Lake City Airport For Five Days

by Passrider on August 21, 2012

Downtown Salt Lake CityA friend of mine just sent me this story about a family of four that got stuck at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) for 5 days.  Of course I read with earnest as I wanted to know what happened.

In short, they got a buddy pass on JetBlue (B6) and all the flights were full on the return flight so they got stuck.  Now I won’t be an armchair quarterback as getting bumped for days could happen to any of us.

But this situation though highlights a few points that we should always be aware of when we give out and receive buddy passes:

  1. Research the flights thoroughly. In this case the flights were full for five days; clearly this did not occur overnight, so it seems that not enough research was done.
  2. Remember that the employee is responsible for the action of the buddy passriders.  This was a bad situation and I’m hoping that the employee don’t get into too much trouble.  But I’m sure there will be some reprimand.
  3. You have to have backup routings.  In this case, looking at JetBlue’s routings, it seems they were trying to get back to JFK, then to Virginia.  From the schedules they can only go non-stop from SLC or connect via Long Beach, CA (LGB).  I don’t know if they tried LGB, but that would have given more options since B6 has service to Boston, MA (BOS); JFK and Washington-Dulles, VA (IAD) from LGB.  Now perhaps the flights were full out of SLC to Long Beach, who knows.  There’s a 5:35p to LGB and the 11:35p to JFK.
  4. Try alternate transportation modes.  Was Greyhound ($240.00 per person) or possibly Amtrak options ($400 per person) as a return journey? Fares are usualy pricey though and that is why they got buddy passes in the first place I guess.  SLC is really not in any place that is close to other airports that JetBlue serves so it would have been difficult to rent a car and drive one-way. Or maybe take Greyhound to Long Beach, CA ($123.00 per person) if the flights from the Los Angeles area were more open.
  5. Have alternate plans.  Decide what happens if there’s only one seat left.  Who takes it?  So basically figure out the splits so you don’t have to do it at the last minute.  In this situation, maybe one parent and one child could have gone ahead, who knows.  Just work that out beforehand.

Luckily the people of Salt Lake City and other airline employees came to their rescue and they eventually got a ticket out of there.  Lessons learned though.  When you give a buddy pass to someone, please research the flights and ensure they can get out and back.  When I had access to buddy passes, unless the flights were wide open, I told my friends to buy a ticket.  Sometimes, you just have to be firm.

What’s your take? Please leave a comment below.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jenny August 22, 2012 at 8:35 am

This is why I don’t give out my buddy passes to anyone. With all the airlines cutting back on flights, it is really hard to get anywhere unless you try getting out on the originators. Also, I don’t advise any body trying to non rev in the summer time, especially with that many people in the group. I usually travel April/May and October, when school is back in and loads are light. Plus I usually make sure I have lots of options. But on buddy passes, you are usually at the bottom of the list, so they aren’t really worth much as far as I am concerned. I usually trade them with another employee who does work on my house in exchange for buddy passes.

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avatar Jenny August 22, 2012 at 8:35 am

This is why I don’t give out my buddy passes to anyone. With all the airlines cutting back on flights, it is really hard to get anywhere unless you try getting out on the originators. Also, I don’t advise any body trying to non rev in the summer time, especially with that many people in the group. I usually travel April/May and October, when school is back in and loads are light. Plus I usually make sure I have lots of options. But on buddy passes, you are usually at the bottom of the list, so they aren’t really worth much as far as I am concerned. I usually trade them with another employee who does work on my house in exchange for buddy passes.

Reply

avatar cj August 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Sounds like they didn’t tell them all the ups and downs of buddy passes. if they were stuck in SLC for that long why didn’t they drive to Denver and hop on a flight back? ask other airlines for passes? Jet (cordon) Blue flies to Denver from the east coast. hell I have even shown my badge to other companies when I was in a real bind saying I needed to get out and if they had spare passes. if they were that hard up for tickets, they should have done better planning. when i have people flying out on passes i am basically their travel agent looking at flights all the time leading up to their flight and coming back so they don’t get stuck like that.
one guy i knew who was a fueler got a pass for not having any delays and he went back to MCI and was stuck there like that trying to get back. i can’t say i have much sympathy because i know the rules of the gig but the person who did the passes for the family should have made them more aware of the chances of getting bumped, especially during the summer. i am glad to see though that people out there helped them as much as they could.

CJ

PS: when i try looking at passrider.com on my phone i get redirected to the mobile site no matter what i click i can’t see the full site. is there anyway you can have a link to the full site at the bottom of the page?

Reply

avatar cj August 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Sounds like they didn’t tell them all the ups and downs of buddy passes. if they were stuck in SLC for that long why didn’t they drive to Denver and hop on a flight back? ask other airlines for passes? Jet (cordon) Blue flies to Denver from the east coast. hell I have even shown my badge to other companies when I was in a real bind saying I needed to get out and if they had spare passes. if they were that hard up for tickets, they should have done better planning. when i have people flying out on passes i am basically their travel agent looking at flights all the time leading up to their flight and coming back so they don’t get stuck like that.
one guy i knew who was a fueler got a pass for not having any delays and he went back to MCI and was stuck there like that trying to get back. i can’t say i have much sympathy because i know the rules of the gig but the person who did the passes for the family should have made them more aware of the chances of getting bumped, especially during the summer. i am glad to see though that people out there helped them as much as they could.

CJ

PS: when i try looking at passrider.com on my phone i get redirected to the mobile site no matter what i click i can’t see the full site. is there anyway you can have a link to the full site at the bottom of the page?

Reply

avatar Rob August 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

This is exactly the situation I wish to prevent my friends and family from experiencing. I no longer give out “buddy passes” to anyone. My parents, on the other hand, and I have an understanding that they are on their own when they travel non-rev. They’re seasoned travelers and do a great job of getting to where they need and want to be. But they are very flexible and plan extensively for nearly every contingency.
As far as “buddy passes” go, I agree that due to the capacity reductions across nearly every airline, these passes are no longer valuable.
Plan ahead and buy a ticket at a price you can reasonably afford.

Reply

avatar Rob August 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

This is exactly the situation I wish to prevent my friends and family from experiencing. I no longer give out “buddy passes” to anyone. My parents, on the other hand, and I have an understanding that they are on their own when they travel non-rev. They’re seasoned travelers and do a great job of getting to where they need and want to be. But they are very flexible and plan extensively for nearly every contingency.
As far as “buddy passes” go, I agree that due to the capacity reductions across nearly every airline, these passes are no longer valuable.
Plan ahead and buy a ticket at a price you can reasonably afford.

Reply

avatar Melbourne September 23, 2012 at 6:32 am

These stupid people weren’t just buddy pass riders… They were FAMILY! AND were told nooot to go at this time because this would happen but they wouldn’t listen! AND if they didn’t have money to home another way.. Why are they going on vacation!

Let’s family members riding on a buddy pass and they go to they media.. What do you think happen to the employee??!!

Reply

avatar Melbourne September 23, 2012 at 6:32 am

These stupid people weren’t just buddy pass riders… They were FAMILY! AND were told nooot to go at this time because this would happen but they wouldn’t listen! AND if they didn’t have money to home another way.. Why are they going on vacation!

Let’s family members riding on a buddy pass and they go to they media.. What do you think happen to the employee??!!

Reply

avatar Bob Weenig October 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Hey, the name of the game is FLEXIBILITY. I always tell folks that you have to be flexible when traveling standby. If you cannot be flexible, then DO NOT try traveling Standby. Purchase some kind of a reserved seat instead, standby travel is not for you. When traveling standby, if there are not seats on your desired flight, go to your “Plan B, Plan C” & so forth. If that doesn’t work out, well, then lucky you! your vacation just got extended…enjoy wherever you are a little bit more more until you figure out how to get back home or on to your next destination. After all, you wanted to go wherever you are stuck for some reason, getting to stay there longer is really just a bonus! It’s all up to you. Be FLEXIBLE and enjoy yourself, wherever you are, don’t worry, be HAPPY!

Reply

avatar Bob Weenig October 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Hey, the name of the game is FLEXIBILITY. I always tell folks that you have to be flexible when traveling standby. If you cannot be flexible, then DO NOT try traveling Standby. Purchase some kind of a reserved seat instead, standby travel is not for you. When traveling standby, if there are not seats on your desired flight, go to your “Plan B, Plan C” & so forth. If that doesn’t work out, well, then lucky you! your vacation just got extended…enjoy wherever you are a little bit more more until you figure out how to get back home or on to your next destination. After all, you wanted to go wherever you are stuck for some reason, getting to stay there longer is really just a bonus! It’s all up to you. Be FLEXIBLE and enjoy yourself, wherever you are, don’t worry, be HAPPY!

Reply

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