We asked longtime airline staff, Anette Friberg for some insight from her experience as standby traveller. Having visited nearly 80 countries thus far, Annette is a veteran ID passenger and together with her husband (and co-worker) Magnus and son Fred, the family travels as often as they can.
Anette Friberg, what is your position and at which airline do you work?
I’m the manager for our Frequent Flyer Program at Malmö Aviation, a Swedish domestic carrier.
Please share a crazy standby experience with us!
Well, one time, all the flights from Copenhagen heading to Dubai looked like they were fully booked. But as experienced standby passengers, we still decided to chance it and stay until the very last flight. That flight was delayed for whatever reason, and so some of the passengers went to a nearby pub. Upon returning, two of them had gotten so incredibly drunk, they were denied boarding. So, we got the flight’s last two seats!
I couldn’t believe our luck, and just to be sure, once we passed through the gate, I literally ran onboard, sprinted through the cabin and jumped right into my seat – just to make sure no one else would take it.
One of the craziest checkin precedures I’ve ever experienced actually took place outdoors on the sidewalk in Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar (Tanzania). It was really weird and didn’t at all feel professional. But, they took our tickets, checked us in and we and our luggage arrived safely.
Name one of your favourite destinations and please give us a few tips on what to do there.
Really difficult to choose a favorite place as I’ve visited almost 80 countries so far but…South Africa, as that country really has it all; wildlife, great food, wonderful climate, wine tasting, lots of interesting culture, not to forget, at least if you’re flying in from Europe – no time difference = no jetlag!
Dubai is also a good destination, if you want great shopping, beaches and a reasonably short flight – if you live in Sweden, like I do.
What is one of the first things you do at a new place and what’s your favourite source for destination tips?
Whenever I come to a big city, I always jump on a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. It’s the ultimate way to get an overview as you get to see everything from above in a relatively short amount of time. A Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour of a new city is also a great complement to walking around.
Everywhere I go, I always ask for information from locals – people working and living in a city usually have valuable insidertips. But I also read great travel stories before I visit a new place.
Ever had any really weird experiences onboard?
Once during a flight with LAN Mozambique, I read an article in their in-flight magazine about how the airline was not trusted to land in the EU! Perhaps not the kind of information you should share with your passengers onboard a flight – ha-ha!
It’s wonderfully weird when Southwest’s crew sing and rap onboard and in the gates. Less amusing are the crazy passengers on some of Turkish Airlines routes where they literally fight with each other and try to change seats during take-off – puh!
What do you love most about your job?
The combination of large and small challenges, my colleagues and our partner companies and the opportunity to constantly meet new people and grow my network. And with all the standby traveling my family and I get to do, it’s really hard to think of working in any other business.
What is your best tip to avoid jetlag?
I honestly don’t have any surefire tip – aside from that I prefer to travel to countries with zero or very little time difference, ha-ha!
Finally, is there a blog you want to recommend or anything else you’d like to share with airline colleagues at AirlineStaffRates.com?
– People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all their lives for happiness…I travel!
Thank you, Anette Friberg!