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Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

posts: 24
reviews: 4
Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight


Advice needed with an upcoming flight.

There are 3 people in our group traveling this summer to London.

Our return connecting flight has two options. 1) less than 2 hour connection (to include passage through immigration) at JFK

2) long 6 hour layover.

A short connection makes me nervous, but a long layover isn't pleasant either.

If we chose the long layover, and then land on time and successfully navigate through customs;what is the option of trying to fly stand-by for the shorter connection? ( 3 people )

How does that work? And would our luggage make it onto the shorter flight?


Toronto, Canada
posts: 5,913
reviews: 35
1. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

Totally depends on the airline and the ticket you buy. Normally lower priced tickets do not allow same day airport change for any reason. Mid priced tickets may allow it for price difference. Top priced flexible tickets or people with top status with the relevant airline are more likely to be offered that service/

South Pole
posts: 15,408
reviews: 37
2. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

i have faced similar problems over the years.

sometimes i have been allowed on an earlier flight.....sometimes not.

the main reason given has been, not the fare basis, but that fact they want me to travel with my bags.

so after clearing customs u usually hand your bags over at a transfer point for the ongoing flight as they have normally been checked to their destination at your point of departure.

i dont know what the ramifications would be of not handing your bags over on the basis of getting an earlier flight and then taking them to check in.

all a bit messy i think.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 48,587
reviews: 62
3. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

Every airline is different.

Delta allows same day changes for $50(sometimes they let you on for free)

Other airlines have their own policies.

posts: 24
reviews: 4
4. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

Thanks for your travel expertise.

So, trying to catch the earlier flight is not likely to happen. Good to know so we will plan accordingly.

I think we'll just play it safe and accept the long layover.

Milford, Ohio
posts: 1,520
reviews: 98
5. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

All of the above.... Personally, I'd take the 6 hour layover and not feel stressed if your first flight is delayed for any reason. You will have time to 'stroll' through immigration and customs and grab a bite to eat.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 8,137
reviews: 77
6. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

Long layover for sure. Just ask yourself how many times you've flown and had your flight be 1hr late. Or ask people on this forum how often flights through one of the NYC airports is 1hr late. You have to go through immigration, so all it would take is a 1hr delay for you to miss the connection.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 20,195
reviews: 5
7. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

Good choice for the later flight.

Had you taken the earlier one and missed it, the airline would rebook you onto the next flight with available seats. But with flights being booked to capacity these days, it's quite possible that next flight wouldn't have any spares and you may be stuck at JFK for a while longer. Best to get guaranteed seats on a later flight you're 98% certain to make.

posts: 46,992
reviews: 90
8. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

A point of interest, the OP is a US citizen. I'd have thought therefore much better odds of getting through immigration that a non US, so perhaps its worth taking the chance?

Liverpool, UK
posts: 12,863
reviews: 23
9. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

I would add that whilst the current layover times are 2hrs or 6hrs it's possible or even probable (in my experience) that these could change in either direction prior to travel.

If you see the earlier flight move to a layover time of around 3hrs I'd consider calling the airline to see what your options are - of course the current 6 hr connection could move either way as well.

posts: 46,992
reviews: 90
10. Re: Stand-by on an earlier connecting Flight

In that case, you have more chance if you take the 2 hour one. If they shorten it to say 1 hour they will have to put you on the 6(might now be5) whereas if you book the 6 (now moved to 7) nd the 2 hour goes out to 3 they have no reason to move you to that

I have a feeling 2 hours would be OK for a US citizen - with the proviso that that's if the plane is on tine. It would still be tight.