Buddy Pass? Just say “NO”


Asleep in Boston- Hotel Logan

I finally did it. $400+ dollars and many uncomfortable hours later, I was back in Utah. The weight of the world lifted the minute I shuttled to the Diamond Parking lot outside of SL International for my car. You can’t help but vow in these instances to “NEVER FLY DELTA AGAIN”. You know you’ll never stick to your guns because there will be that one time you have to get somewhere and they have the only available, cheap, convenient, whatever excuse, flight in town. But I can say it now.
A buddy pass is no benefit when it costs you $288 + $400, leaves you stranded in three airports, with Delta staffers who treat you like you’re covered in poo, before you finally get home (only because you bought the return ticket). And the last indignity? I pay $348 for a one way ticket out of Kansas City only to be seated in the one BROKEN seat on the filled-to-capacity plane. I couldn’t recline, I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t feel like at least you can get what you pay for.
Sitting in Logan International in Boston on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. praying I get on a flight home, being denied; spending the night on the cold polished floor there, trying again from 6 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. to get on (any) flight, being sent to Detroit, sitting at the gate in Detroit, being seated in the very last (non-reclining) row on a plane to Kansas City International, and sitting in a cramped, filthy terminal from 1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. thinking maybe there will be a standby seat, only to have to check into a roach motel for the night so I can finally get home on the 6 a.m. flight. And then this seat. My back and neck were bitching big time, my ass felt deflated and boney, and there was absolutely nothing I could do. The flight attendant shrugged and said, “I’ll let the captain know.” WTF?
The only reason I took the trek was because of the buddy pass. Had I known I’d lose two days, 10 hours of sleep and over $600, I never would have traveled to Boston and definitely would not have traveled on Delta with a buddy pass. This experience has left a huge disgusting taste in my mouth.
A nasty gate agent that smirks because I am the only person not getting on the flight? That’s out of line. The flight attendant ahead of me in the standby line volunteered to sit in the jump seat so that I could have the last seat on the plane. The agent could have made it happen. He chose not to. It should – and needs- to be his job to accommodate all guests to the best of his ability whether they fly paid or standby, are employees or buddies. I could have been home on Saturday. But this big, flabby, unkempt guy in a T-shirt and big baggy jeans with a belt cinched so tightly the back pockets touched, played God and denied me peace.
And why do gate agents not smile?? If they don’t like their jobs or don’t want to work they shouldn’t be there. I witnessed this attitude at EVERY SINGLE GATE- that’s five in Boston, two in Detroit and four in Kansas City. NOT ONE arrived smiling or greeting those standing in the area. They kept their heads low like bartenders who don’t want to serve certain people at their bar. Don’t make eye contact and they won’t hit you up for something. That’s crap. You can show up with a smile, say, “Hi, give me five minutes and I’ll wave you over” if you need a moment to center yourself.
I felt sick. No sleep, stiff non-reclining seats, and bad attitudes. GRRRR. It was bad enough that on getting to KCI I was in the backseat that wouldn’t recline while five seats went empty in First Class but on my PAID flight home I get stuck again. A miserable experience made worse by nasty, grumpy employees, decrepit planes and airports (with the exception of Detroit’s terminal which structurally sparkled). Even the carpet on the plane home was gross. Usually I can take my shoes off on a plane, but not that one. And there was something dried and sticky in the cup divot of my tray table. Maybe with those soaring profits the airlines are reporting this year they can do something about their service and environment? Nickel and dime us to death but at least use Vaseline.
All passengers regardless of seat number or status should be treated like a First Class passenger. People go to work at McDonald’s every day, 40+ hours a week, serving, dealing with complaints, the superior attitudes of the customers, incorrect orders, and people in a hurry. But they keep smiling. If any of them acted the way Delta’s people do, they’d be fired. Maybe it’s time to clean house and hire people who actually want to be there?? Yet another reason to fly Southwest.
As I sat chatting with other standbyers over the past two days, I learned a few things. Standby ‘buddies’ are treated like the homeless- you step over them. You never fly standby in the summer because the flights are full of vacationing families, and by the time you pay for the ‘non-revenue’ ticket ($288!), the hotel, the food, the extra parking, the aggravation, your time and the stress, you’re better off paying for a fare. Tell your Delta employee ‘buddy’, “No thanks.” And if they tell you there are open seats in Kansas City, laugh and walk away saying, “Good luck with that.”



  • iris

    I’m reading this as I spent my 2nd night in a row in an airport with my 5 year old daughter. We have 20 dollars left, because we’ve spent it all on expensive hotel food. If I don’t get on that flight tomorrow I’m going to call my Mom and beg her to buy me a ticket. I’ve been crying fo1.5 hours. This desperate single mom will never ever use buddy passes again.

    • I am so sorry that you are feeling my pain! Unfortunately, the airlines do NOTHING to help so a “benefit” turns out to be a detriment. If you had a purchased a ticket, however, they’d be all over trying to take care of you and get you home. It really doesn’t make any sense since you should be considered just as much a valued customer as the paying guest. ON the brightside, Delta reimbursed me for the unused buddy pass home so that at least I wasn’t out both the one-way fare and the buddy charge. Good luck and hang in there. You will find a way home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *