Our friend works for Delta and gave us a buddy pass. There are quite a few restrictions including only using Delta and flying standby behind employees in priority. We are looking at either Ireland or London in early May. Has anyone used the stand-by buddy pass before? I'm a little worried about some airports and our friend said to travel at a "non-popular" time. We were thinking mid May and travel during weekdays. If we go to Ireland we were thinking Shannon since it is a smaller airport. The downside is only 1 flight per day so if we get bumped we are stuck for a day. Dublin has a flight every 12 hours. We plan to travel via carry on luggage only and be prepared to stay the night in the airport if necessary. Any advice / experience would be appreciated. The price is right of course - basically free except for taxes.
I have not used a buddy pass, so I can't give you any tips about that. I can tell you that midweek flights to Ireland are less crowded. What is it that worries you about particular airports? In many cases, flights from Shannon stop off in Dublin on the way, so they are essentially the same flight. If this is the case with Delta, you'd be better off flying from Shannon so that you have a seat before the flight gets to Dublin. I'm not sure why it would be necessary to spend the night in the airport.
Sounds like the "old days" when we poor students would travel "standby" for about half the usual fare. From that standpoint, I'd probably pick London, since there are more flights/day. We used to stake out the airline with the most flights to Europe, the theory being that the more flights, the better chance we had of finding a couple of empty seats. Once in London, you can arrange to have your itinerary take in Ireland before returning to London for your flight home. One thing to consider, too, is where you're flying from. Check and make sure that you won't be bumped at a connection point. From what I see, there are no direct Delta flights to either London, Shannon, or Dublin via Portland or Boston...and you wouldn't want to get bumped in Cincinnati or Atlanta!
Our last Delta flights to Europe from Atlanta (Shannon and Berlin) went through JFK--might want to consider looking at flights from JFK if it's not too inconvenient. Shannon is a great small airport to fly in and out of--we returned home on a Monday and the flight wasn't full.
Will you be ok? Probably. Will your plans change multiple times and at the last minute? Maybe.
As a former NWA employee, here's what I recommend:
Check if the SNN flight is a stop enroute to Dublin (that used to be the case, but might not be any more). If so, Dublin is the answer.
If your friend doesn't know every possible flight from Dublin/Shannon/London/Glasgow to PWM, have him/her print them out.
Figure out a leave-behind plan. If there are 2 seats available for 3 of you, figure out who goes and who stays behind. It's rarely in your best interest to refuse a seat.
Also, have him look into ways of getting between anyplace that you could depart from if the flights in one city look bad. I don't know the logistics of Ireland/England too well, but trains, ferries, and Ryanair could all play a role.
Consider northwestern Europe as a starting or ending point - within a short (but maybe pricey) train ride you have Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Duesseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Hamburg.
Check the flight loads and standby lists frequently - every day if possible - for the few weeks before your trip and while you're gone.
Keep in mind, most standby flying is subject to change and last-minute issues (and at least for me, endless contingency planning), so anything I tell you now won't be much use to you until early May.
Hi Eric, I had enough miles to have a free ticket on another airline, so our sister in law gave my husband a buddy pass for Delta. We were going to go to Ireland (end of April), but we decided to go to England. Our sister in law was watching the flights to Ireland and they were getting pretty full, flights to London looked better for getting a seat. If your friend didn't tell you, you have to adhere to a very strict dress code. I can't remember all but what I can remember shirt has to have a collar, no jeans, has to be dockers etc., no sandals, no tennis shoes, so I would suggest you getting a copy of the dress code.
Just in case anyone is reading this for general advice on buddy passes, Delta has changed the dress code restrictions but everything else that's been mentioned is pretty much dead on. Also, some countries you have to pay a tax or custom-in cash-before you can even get to check in. I used a buddy pass to fly to Costa Rica and had to keep $30 handy in U.S. dollars to pay the tax to leave the country. I know this is the same in some European countries-so my Delta friends has told me. Just be prepared to spend all day in the airport and be happy when you don't have to and you shouldn't have any problems!