Unexpected events can cause travelers to at a different time than originally planned. While some airlines allow customers to show up at the airport without a ticket and purchase a standby ticket, Southwest Airlines requires standby passengers to have previously purchased a ticket. Standby tickets are only valid between the same city pairs and on the same day for which the ticket was valid.
Purchase a Southwest Airlines ticket. Business Select and Anytime tickets allow travelers to change the time of the flight with a standby ticket for no additional fee. Wanna Get Away, Senior fares and Ding! fares require travelers to upgrade to an Anytime ticket before obtaining a standby ticket. If you know ahead of time that you may be changing your flight and require a standby ticket, purchase a Business Select or Anytime ticket to avoid additional charges.
Check with the Southwest Airlines ticket agent at the departing airport. She will be able to convert your flight to a standby ticket. She will issue you a standby voucher and direct you to your departing gate.
Check in at the departing gate. As a standby passenger, check in at the departing gate and wait for your name to be called. Before the flight departs, the ticket agent will determine any seats are available.
Receive your boarding pass. If there are any seats on the departing flight, the agent will issue a boarding pass and you will be able to board.
If you must purchase a ticket upgrade to receive a standby ticket, do that during your initial check-in.
A standby ticket does not secure a seat on the plane.
Traveling standby during the holidays is much more difficult than traveling standby during the rest of the year.