Real Answers from Real Pilots

Travel Benefits with Alliances

Evening gentlemen,

I’m not sure how alliances work with SkyWest and Hawaiian for Yarden and Adam but I do know United is part of Star Alliance, Chris, so I was wondering how travel benefits work with alliances.
Specifically, really, do your travel benefits of non-rev extend to your Star Alliance partners - those airlines?

Thanks for all your work on here answering our questions.

Kind regards,
Eric

Eric,

Your travel benefits do not extend to alliance partners. Basically you get free travel on the mainline and the express carriers that operate under the mainline name, but no alliance carriers. Now you can purchase highly discounted standby tickets on almost any airline, but your free travel is limited to what I described above.

Chris

Same at Hawaiian.

Adam

So when at a regional, say Skywest, do you get free travel on the majors that your regional flys for? Or do you just get the discounted standby, and how big of a discount?

Tucker,

Yes you do and Yarden has said since SkyWest supports many Major carriers he gets to travel on all of them which is great. The only caveat is you’re at a lower priority than the Major’s own employees. That said being able to fly on a variety of carriers balances that out.

Adam

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Tucker,

Yes, we at the regional level get benefits on the mainline partners that we work with. Like Adam said, we are lower in priority than the mainline guys, but we have a lot more options to choose from.

With regards to your main question, most airlines have what is called ZED fare agreements. Basically, you can purchase stand-by travel on a long list of airlines for set segment fees and airport taxes. I have found that this usually works on the long-haul flights. For example, I can fly from JFK to TLV on EL AL for $200, saving me about $500, which is pretty decent. On the other hand, a one-way LHR to TLV on British Airways would cost around $170. A round trip ticket (regular fare, not ZED) would cost about $300-$400. So it is more convenient to fork over a few extra bucks for a confirmed seat.

Yarden