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United Airlines Buddy Pass

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United Airlines Buddy Pass

Flying with a United Airlines buddy pass can be an exciting and cost-effective way to travel, but it comes with its own set of rules and considerations. This article will guide you through the essentials of using a United Airlines buddy pass, including how it works, the costs involved, and the specific policies you need to follow.

What is a United Airlines Buddy Pass?

A United Airlines buddy pass is a standby ticket that United employees can distribute to their family and friends. This pass allows the holder to fly at a significantly reduced rate, making it an attractive option for those looking to save on travel costs. However, it’s important to note that buddy pass holders are not guaranteed a seat and will only be accommodated if there are unoccupied seats after all paying passengers have boarded.

How does a United Buddy Pass work?

To use a United buddy pass, you need to be a family member or friend of an employee at United Airlines. The employee will set up your rider account, which you can access through the United app or website. Once your account is activated, you can book flights, but remember that you will be flying on standby which means you need to be flexible with your travel plans as you may not get a seat on your desired flight.

Here are some important things to consider while using a United Airlines buddy pass:

  1. Buddy pass holders fly on a standby basis, meaning they are the last to be accommodated after all paying passengers.
  2. United Airlines has a specific dress code for buddy pass riders that they must be well-groomed, neat, clean, and good in taste. Passengers must be well-groomed and dressed in a manner that reflects well on the airline. Revealing or inappropriate attire is not allowed.
  3. When flying with a buddy pass, you represent the United employee who provided the pass. It’s crucial to be polite and patient, as any misconduct can reflect poorly on the employee.
  4. Buddy pass holders have the lowest boarding priority, so it’s essential to be flexible with your travel dates and times.
  5. While the buddy pass itself is free, you will need to pay applicable taxes and fees for each segment of your journey.

United Airlines Buddy Pass Rules

When using a United Airlines buddy pass, it’s essential to follow specific guidelines to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience. Here are the key rules you need to be aware of:

  • Only active United Airlines employees can issue buddy passes. Retirees are not eligible.
  • Each employee can issue up to 12 buddy passes per year.
  • Buddy passes cannot be sold or transferred. Attempting to do so can result in the termination of the employee’s benefits.
  • For international flights, buddy pass holders cannot travel in first or business class unless accompanied by the employee.
  • Buddy pass travelers must adhere to the same baggage policies as regular passengers, including paying for checked bags if applicable.

Costs and Savings

The cost of flying with a buddy pass on United Airlines varies depending on the route and availability. Typically, you have to pay a percentage of the base fare plus taxes and fees. For example, a flight from Chicago to Honolulu might cost around $147, while a flight from Washington DC to Tokyo could be approximately $384. Despite these costs, buddy passes can offer significant savings compared to regular ticket prices.

  • Check flight loads and choose routes with multiple daily flights to increase your chances of getting a seat.
  • Avoid peak travel times like holidays to improve your chances of securing a seat.
  • Minimize checked baggage to avoid additional fees and complications if you need to switch flights.
  • Use the United app to stay updated on flight statuses and standby lists.

In conclusion, using a buddy pass can be a fantastic way to travel affordably with United Airlines, but it requires flexibility and adherence to specific rules. By understanding how the buddy pass system works and following the guidelines, you can make the most of this travel benefit. Always remember to respect the dress code and behave appropriately, as your actions reflect on the United employee who provided the pass.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does United Airlines buddy pass work?

United Airlines buddy passes are standby tickets allowing friends and family to fly at reduced rates if seats are available.

How many buddy passes do United Airlines employees get?

Active United Airlines employees receive up to 12 buddy passes per year.

How to use the United Airlines buddy pass?

Set up a United Airlines buddy pass rider account, book flights, and fly standby, paying applicable taxes and fees.

Can I use a United Airlines buddy pass on Lufthansa?

No, United Airlines buddy passes are only valid on United Airlines and United Express flights.

Can United Airlines flight attendants give out buddy passes?

Yes, active United Airlines flight attendants can issue buddy passes to friends and family.

Can you use a United Airlines buddy pass for an upgrade?

No, United Airlines buddy pass holders cannot use the pass to upgrade to higher classes.

Do United Airlines retirees get buddy passes?

No, only active United Airlines employees are eligible to issue buddy passes.

Do United Airlines buddy passes work on connecting flights?

Yes, but you must pay taxes and fees for each leg of the journey separately.

Do United Airlines buddy pass only work with United flights?

Yes, United Airlines buddy passes are only valid on United Airlines and United Express flights.

Does the United Airlines app give information about buddy passes?

Yes, the United Airlines app provides information and allows booking for buddy pass holders.

When can I use my buddy passes with United Airlines?

United Airlines buddy passes can be used anytime, subject to seat availability and standby status. 

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