Travel junkies, rejoice! I'm here to share a cool travel hack for spontaneous travelers like me. You see, I was able to book a MNL-HKG-MNL roundtrip airfare via Philippine Airlines for less than Php7,000 (originally Php17,000++), just three days before the departure date, and for travel on peak days of Holy Week. Read further to find out more.
STANDBY PASSENGERSBy now, most of us would already know that airlines intentionally overbook their flights for maximum revenues (thanks to the recent United Airlines issue), because they know that not everyone who has a confirmed booking will show up. Naturally, it's not always rainbows and butterflies for them. There would be flights that are not fully booked. So what do airlines do? Unknown to the general public, available seats are offered to standby passengers who are mostly airline employees and their relatives. Wouldn't it be great if these last minute available seats are offered to all of us?
CAPE APP IS BORNHere's why Filipino Founder and CEO Lyle Jover created the Cape app together with his team of Pinoys and foreigners. His goal is to make traveling fun and inexpensive, and standby seats to be reachable by more people. The Cape app is now available for free download on iOS, but will soon make its debut on Android as well. Among the destinations it currently offers are flights to/from Manila, South Korea, Tokyo, Singapore, Kalibo, Cebu, Ho Chi Minh, and Hong Kong -- all flown via Philippine Airlines. They're also preparing to launch flights in Europe and Latin America, as well as new features in a few weeks/months.
In a gist, Cape app shows you available flights for the next seven days, and be on the waitlist until standby seats are either confirmed or cancelled 12-24 hours before the departure time. Confirmation of your booking will depend on the number of last-minute seat availability of a flight. You will only be charged via credit card once the flight is confirmed. Depending on how many people have booked the same flight, Cape allows to bid for a fixed price to get you on top of the waitlist, ahead of everybody else. On the average, prices are cheaper by about 50%, but still depends on seasonality.
ARE YOU READY TO STANDBY FOR A FLIGHT?
Step 1. Download the Cape app and register for an account. It's currently by invite only, but don't worry here's a link you can use -- this is limited only, so hurry!
Step 2. Select your destination and whether you'd like to see One Way or Round Trip schedules, then hit Search. Note that your booking will still be per way even if you select Round Trip.
Step 3. Select your preferred schedule on the next screen. It will show you how many percentage chance you have to successfully get into the flight.
Step 4. Review the flight details and agree with the terms and conditions, then click Reserve. You will see that the flight status is Pending. You can still cancel the reservation for free up to three hours after reserving, but with a small fee of $5 if you're on top of the waitlist.
Step 5. Some people may also book the same flight as yours at a higher price. In that case, you will be demoted to the second or third in line. When this happens, you can either stay put to wait and see if you'll still get in, or you can bid for a higher amount to jump up the waitlist. You will see that the Bid button is enabled.
Step 6. Within 12-24 hours before the flight, your booking status will change to either Confirmed or Bumped Off. Once confirmed, just go to the airport and check-in using the electronic pass on your phone.
IS CAPE FOR YOU?
Cape is best for passengers who have a free-hand in managing their schedules. Your mindset should be open to the possibility of either making it or not to the flight, and even staying longer in the country you're going to, just in case a flight back is not immediately available. Cape is still on beta and has 20,000 registered users. Are you ready to have a chance to fly?