Real Answers from Real Pilots

Flying on other airlines

Hey guys!

Just a question about traveling on other airlines. So say I work at United and I want to travel on another airline like Delta, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, etc. How much of a discount do I get? I heard that you only have to pay 10% of the fare. Is there any truth to this? Also is there any way to get free flights on another airline? Thanks guys!

Cameron

1 Like

Cameron,

Yes we can travel on other airlines. Most times we Jumpseat which is free. Now while the term is Jumpseat, you don’t necessarily have to ride in the cockpit if there are seats in back. Some airlines however don’t allow international jumpseating in which case you can usually purchase a “zed” fare. Zed fares are not based on the price of a ticket but the distance traveled. Regardless they’re usually very cheap. Not sure where you got the 10% but I’m not familiar?

Adam

Can you also jumpseat just for leisure? If I want to go on vacation, but fly another airline can I use the jumpseat for a free ticket?

And about the zed fare, that is good for you and your family who have the flight benefits, right? Can I use the zed fare to get a business/first class seat? Does the zed fare work like a confirmed ticket, or do you still have to fly standby? Are these fares the same price for each employee at each airline?

Cameroan,

Yes you can JS for leisure for free but again keep in mind, THERE MUST BE AVAILABLE SEATS.

Zed fares are available for you and your travel dependents (usually one companion, parents and children till a certain age). You can pay extra and list for a First or Business but yes it is standby. Fares and what airlines are available vary by the airline and the agreements they have.

Adam

I believe that Cameron is referencing the old ID 90 program when he says 10%. It used to be that you could buy a standby ticker on another airline for you and your family for 10% of the highest fare, hence the “Interline Discount 90%” or ID 90. Now ZED fares are more widely used and are a better deal for the employees.

ID 90 is what it was! Also one last question that I have. Can I get a zed fare for someone who is not family, or someone who doesn’t have flight benefits through me? For example could I get one for my friend? I guess I am asking is there like a buddy pass system for zed fares, or is it employee/dependents only?

Travel dependents and employees only. If they were available you could be sure some fool would be selling tickets for a profit. You may have buddy passes available for YOUR airline but no zeds. Also keep in mind 2 things when it comes to Buddy passes. First the boarding priority is the lowest of anyone so the flight needs to be WIDE open. Second when someone is traveling on your passes YOUR name is attached. There have been many cases of employees losing ALL their travel benefits because a friend on a pass behaved badly.

Adam

Where do ZED passes fall on the standby list? Are they at the very bottom, or somewhere near the middle? Does it also depend on the airline?

The very bottom of the list. I have never actually used one, I find very little need to travel on other airlines as our route structure is so large.

Would that include their own ability to fly space available, even for commuting?

Carl,

When it comes to commuting pilots in the US can “jumpseat” on virtually every airline in the country (and some foreign carriers as well). That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to ride in the cockpit jumpseat, if there’s a seat in the back you’ll get that. But since none of the other employees (other than pilots, dispatchers and the FAA) can ride up front, more times than not at least you can get to work.

Adam

You can often get discounted tickets for your family on other airlines. I have never used this as I find it is easier to stay within my own network.

That part I understand. My question was more " If a friend FUBARs on a buddy pass and you ‘lose ALL travel privileges’ like you mentioned, does that affect ones ability to commute because you would lose your ability to fly space available?". The ability to jumpseat on another would theoretically be a workaround but I didn’t know how far that went.

Carl

Carl,

I don’t believe it would impact your ability to JS, particularly with other carriers. Fortunately the people I trust with passes know how to conduct themselves so I don’t have any personal experience nor plan to.

Btw, if you’re going to refer to a post 7 mos later you may want to be more specific in your question.

Adam

Carl,

You would likely still be able to jumpseat, but it would certainly make your commute more difficult. Be careful who you give your buddy passes to.

Chris

Thank you both for the information. Adam, I thought it was going to post directly under the remark you made that I clicked the reply button on. Next time I will include a quote.

Carl

I have a follow on question i hope can be answered. I should be hired on with an airline following my next deployment, and I am curious about the discount that I could apply, if any, to a first class ticket for my wife and myself. I know the Business and First class tickets are the money makers for planes, so i’m Sure it. Wouldn’t be a nearly as big if a discount.

Josh,

Travel benefits vary from carrier to carrier but usually your wife and children will fly free. First Class is based on availability and seniority meaning if it’s available AND there’s no one senior to you they’ll get it. While many airlines will often discounted tickets to purchase the discount is usually not significant.

Adam

Josh,

The discounts vary by airline. At my airline it is generally 20% off the base fare. Some airlines do not offer a discount program at all. However, all airlines offer free standby travel.

Chris

He’s talking about ID90.