We took a friend to the airport who, as a family member of an airline employee, was flying standby. We learned that this was also termed a “non-revenue” ticket, as the airline charges them next to nothing – they make no revenue from this type of ticket. The cost, of course, is that you’re flying standby.
Even though earlier checks had indicated at least 10 unfilled seats on the flight, when she checked in she was 21st in line for those 10 seats. Apparently it was a busy evening and many people (also apparently airline employees) were also attempting to take the same flight – and as it turned out any reasonable substitute flight as well.
She wasn’t going home that night, and the next day wasn’t looking all that great either.