My First Airline Trip and Student Standby

Back in the 1970’s I was a college student majoring in government in Boston.  I was a member of our college’s Mock UN Team representing Zambia.  We studied the county for months and the issues that the country faced.  To get to the New York, where it was being held, we took AMRAK – an easy trip from Boston.  It was exciting to be in New York sans parents and to participate in this great event.


The mock UN was over several days with it concluding on Sunday.  Unfortunately I was going to a big end of the year frat dance on Saturday as was another member of our team.  We decided to leave a day early and to take the shuttle from New York to Boston.  I was truly a flying novice in those days.

For the shuttle no reservations were made, no prepaid tickets – you just got on the plane and the flight attendants (called stewardess in those days) went down the aisle collecting money for the flight.  I’ll never forget the cost – $25.   Times have certainly changed.


Another thing that I remember from this era was student standby.  We’d go to the gate, register our name and just wait for them to call our name and let us know that there was room for us on the plane  For students, the fare for flying student standby was about half of what everyone else paid.  It was a way for the airlines to fill up their empty seats, a way for us poor students to travel and it introduced many of us to flying.

What memories do you have of your early flying experiences?

1 thought on “My First Airline Trip and Student Standby

  1. This brings back memories for me too! But my standby was as the daughter of a TWA employee. I did not have very fond feelings for those students standing by because they got on before I did! On the other hand, I could get upgraded to FC if there were no seats in coach and they’d fill coach up first. And if I wanted to pay for the upgrade it was a mere $10 or so!

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