Next time you think about flying standby on American Airlines, be prepared to give the gate agent your name and $50.
The second-largest US airline said Wednesday that starting with tickets bought on Feb. 22, only elite frequent fliers, travelers in first or business class, military personnel and people who bought pricey coach tickets will be allowed to fly standby.
Everyone else switching flights on their day of travel will have to pay $50 to get a confirmed seat.
In announcing the change, Fort Worth, Texas-based American played down the $50 fee. Instead, it said it was improving the boarding process by eliminating the gaggle of would-be standby fliers who flock to the desk before flights.