Continental charging travelers to fly standby

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Continental has just implemented a $50 standby fee to help the airline offset rising fuel costs. The change went into effect starting with tickets issued June 17, a representative for the airline says. If you purchased a ticket before that date, Continental will still let you fly standby for free.

It’s not the first time that Continental has passed costs on to its passengers (and some other U.S. airlines are even more guilty of the practice). In April, Continental raised its fee to change a ticket reservation on a domestic flight from $100 to $150, following United’s move to raise its change fee from $100 to $150. US Airways followed suit within days.

I only found out about the change in Continental’s standby policy because I’ve called the airline several times over the past several weeks to ask about flying standby from Pittsburgh to New York this weekend—and today was the first time an agent mentioned the new policy. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere on Internet news sites, or on Continental’s own website…

Are other airlines going to follow Continental’s lead by charging passengers to fly standby, or by raising the penalty to change a ticket reservation? And if so, is the public going to know about it?


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