Pack up your duffel bag: it’s time to travel. Image courtesy of Flickr user Jeff Harbert. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

AirTranU is a fairly well-known program among students, but it’s worth revisiting during the summer months when schedules are likely to be freer than during the school year. AirTran offers $49, $69, or $99/leg standby flights for people ages 18-22 through its AirTranU program.


To use the program, students have to show up to the AirTran desk at your airport and work the flight out with an employee—so it takes longer than just buying a ticket online, and getting a seat isn’t guaranteed (AirTran recommends calling ahead at 1-800-AIRTRAN to check on availability, but my friends who use the program tend to just go and see what happens). However, if you need to book a last-minute flight home or are up for a spur-of-the-minute visit to a friend, it’s a cheap way to fly—particularly during the week, when flights aren’t as crowded.


To boost your chances of getting a flight, check when departures for your city are that day and plan to arrive as early as possible. Early morning flights can be less crowded, and even if you don’t get a seat on that flight, you’ll be first in line for standby on the next flight. (Plus, if you miss the first flight of the day you want to have a chance of getting another flight.)


If you crash with a friend or family and don’t spend much money while in your city, the program can set you up for a vacation for under $200—a great price to either cure homesickness or get away from your family for a couple of days, particularly with the price of gas making driving very far pretty expensive.


While you’re traveling, be sure to pack efficiently, keep track of travel itineraries, and keep your devices juiced up. (And don’t do what my dad did this weekend and leave your iPad in the airport.)


Do you have any travel tips? Are you a frequent flier ninja? Let us know in the comments!