I am a flight attendant and I have buddy passes. Michelle is right, you do have to fly stand-by. Avoid flying during holidays and spring break (which lasts about 1 1/2 months). The person that earned the buddy pass can loose their pass travel benefits if the person using the buddy pass does not understand the rules and behavior of a buddy pass traveler. This is why I am very careful about who I give my passes to and make sure I do the research on flight loads for my buddy pass people first. Depending on the airline, buddy passes are for free travel, a set fee, or a percentage of full fare. On my airline it is a percentage of full fare, so booking a discount fare in advance through someone like priceline.com can sometimes be cheaper or close to the same amout. One of the benefits of a buddy pass is you don't have to worry if you miss the flight, or want to change your plans because the ticket is usually good for a year, as long as there is room on the flight you want to fly on.