I have a strong love hate relationship with the airline. I won't mention any names, but a picture is worth a thousand words...
One of the incredible (so it would seem) benefits of working for the airline is the free/discounted standby travel.
Most people just hear the word free in this sentence.
I just hear the word standby.
If you have ever traveled standby, you know what I am talking about. If not, you simply have no idea.
Standby means that you only get a ticket if there is an extra seat on the plane. This means that you have to show up at the airport an hour early, just like everyone else. You must check in, check your bags, go through security, and wait at the gate, just like everyone else. (The only difference is that you are an employee, which apparently gives the gate agents license to treat you like s***.) Then the moment comes when they start boarding the plane. You wait. You wait for the gate agent to call your name and hand you a ticket. But more often than not, it seems, that call never comes. Then you get to sit at the gate and watch the plane fly away. Bye bye plans. Bye bye plane. Bye bye bags.
Then you move on to the next available flight that could possibly get you to your desired destination, even if you have to suffer layovers in Detroit, Atlanta, and Indianapolis to get you there. And repeat the whole story again. And again. Until you give up and go home. Then you have to track down where your bags ended up, as they often get put on the flight you were hoping to get on, and don't get pulled off again.
These are the joys of free standby travel.