Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions *now with WikiPost* {pre-2015 Archive}

Old Feb 27, 13, 5:45 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
This wiki was created to distill SDC (specifically not standby) down to a set of rules in the hopes of benefiting others.

The official "rules" can be found here. In practice, some of the rules almost always apply almost, and some are more flexible.

Note there have been reports of SDC to one segment removing confirmed CPU upgrades on downline segments. If maintaining the confirmed upgrade is important then these changes should be handled with care.

Most Frequently Asked Question: When do I call/go online to make the change?
Follow this flowchart:
Question 1: Are you within 24 hours of your first originally scheduled UA(*) operated flight that you're trying to change off of? If yes, continue to question 2. If no, continue to answer 1.
Question 2: Are you within 24 hours of the first UA operated flight you're trying to change on to? If yes, continue to to answer 2. If no, continue to answer 1.
Answer 1: No, you cannot call/go online yet to make an SDC.
Answer 2: If the answer to both questions is yes, then you can call/go online to make an SDC.

General Baseline Rules

These are the general rules that usually apply to SDC's; falling outside these rules usually requires payment of a full change fee and the fare difference:
  • The departure time of the first segment of the old itinerary and the departure time of the first segment of the new itinerary must both be within 24 hours of the moment that the change is made.
  • The ultimate origin and destination airports must remain the same.
  • Routing can be changed (addition, deletion, or change of connection points) but the routing rules of the original fare usually apply.
  • All remaining unflown segments in single fared itinerary are considered together (i.e., if you're flying WWW-XXX-YYY-ZZZ, you can go to a kiosk at XXX and potentially fly XXX-AAA-ZZZ or XXX-ZZZ direct).
  • SDC can be done an unlimited number of times, and can therefore be used to extend a trip indefinitely (pending availability).
  • SDC costs $75 for GM's and Silvers - the fees is waived for Golds and up (plus any applicable fare difference, see below). *G's may also get free SDC, although there is no mention of this in the official rules.
  • Non-elites on the same PNR benefit from any waived fees for SDC.
  • No fare difference is charged so long as there is availability on all of the new segments in the originally ticketed fare class. Fare class availability in all classes often opens up after T-24 and almost always opens up at T-3 unless the plane is very full.
  • SDC on bulk tickets, including United Specials, is not permitted.
  • SDC is permitted on both domestic and international itineraries.
  • The proposed remaining itinerary must be operated by United or United Express®, and the ticket number must begin with 016. (see nuances below)

How to SDC

SDC can be accomplished in a few different places (in rough order of likelihood of being able to get the rules bent):
  • United.com “change flight” link before checking in, within T-24. (Many have reported recently that this has problems and attempts to collect the full fare difference and $200 change fee.)
  • "Search Other Flight Options" button during OLCI. (This has spotty availability, particularly if the change would involve paying an additional fare due to fare bucket non-availability.)
  • United mobile app
  • Kiosk
  • Phone
  • Counter/Gate (although reports are that most airport agents are not familiar with the SDC policy and may not allow you to SDC to a valid itinerary--you can try to direct them to look up GG SDC, but they often won't understand that what you're trying to do is permitted by those rules)
NB: An SDC where the original itinerary (in one direction) has three or more segments cannot be done online.

Nuances and Loose Rules

Now for the hard part: figuring out where the flexibility is in the rules. This list is compiled from the responses to people saying "Can I do X?" where X is something that is not clearly permitted by the rules. One's likelihood of success here depends a bit on the method used for the SDC.

For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = possible using any method
A = possible using an agent (phone/counter), perhaps having to HUACA
A* = mixed reports of success with an agent (phone/counter),
N* = possible only if you find a very accommodating agent
N = little or no reported success.
  • Violating various non-routing fare rules (day/time, minimum stay, etc.): Y
  • Change destination to ultra-close airport (e.g. JFK-> LGA; see the old S*FAR/STANDBY): A
  • Change destination to a co-terminal (e.g. JFK -> EWR): N*
  • Change destination to an entirely different place: N
  • Change itinerary at the beginning to include illegal layovers (> 4 hours): N*
  • Change itinerary at the layover point (using kiosk, app, or agent) to create an otherwise illegal layover: Y
  • Change itinerary at the beginning to add a layover point not permitted by the routing rules: N*
  • Change itinerary at a layover point to add another layover not permitted (either in terms of number of segments or routing rules) by the routing rules: Y
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before or after the original flight: N*
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before the original flight, if the previous day's flight has been delayed: Y (based on one report)
  • Combining separately-fared segments to do SDC (e.g. XXX-YYY+YYY-ZZZ -> XXX-ZZZ): A
  • Change UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to UA metal: A
  • Change from UA metal to UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment: N (see post 1813 for one exception)
  • Change from UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to a different UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment: ??
  • Change on a non-UA ticketed segment: N* (with potential dire consequences)
  • Change from an upgraded flight into Y on the new flight: A
  • Change from a CPU-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R space on the new flight: N*
  • Change from an instrument-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R space on the new flight: A*
  • Non-elite on different PNR benefiting from Elite's waived-fee SDC: A

If you encounter issues with an agent (phone or counter/gate), you can ask the agent to reference GG SDC. Additionally, GG SDC line 61 specifically references that fare classes are supposed to level out 3.5 hours before departure, so you might be able to use that to your advantage if fare classes have not leveled out and you're trying to ask an agent to open up the correct inventory or force you onto the flight.

original posting by mgcsinc, initiated by jackal
Print Wikipost

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions *now with WikiPost* {pre-2015 Archive}

Old May 17, 11, 5:47 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, AA Plat Pro, VS Gold, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 833
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions *now with WikiPost* {pre-2015 Archive}

Hi all,

Don't know if this has been mentioned, but it looks as if United and Continental have aligned their SDC fees (see hyperlinks). Though it seems that the (differing) SDC time-frames have remained unaltered at both airlines. Specifically, Continental allows SDCs within 24 hours; United only allows SDCs within 3 hours of making the request.

All in all, the fee changes are good for everyone but lower tier elites. For GS, Pres Plat, 1K, Plat, Prem Exec, and Golds, SDC is free. For Premiers, Silvers and non-elites it is $75.

EDIT: these fees also apply to unconfirmed standby at the gate on both UA/CO

Last edited by boat9781; May 17, 11 at 6:00 pm Reason: more info, fix
boat9781 is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 5:56 pm
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: YVR SFO EOF
Programs: UA 1K, VX S
Posts: 4,864
Wow, this is a huge change for 1Ps! Note that this affects the SDC and standby fees.

Those of us on the 1P "bubble" have been stuck with the much-lamented $50 standby and $75 SDC. Finally those days are over ^

Another big change is that UA SDC now allows change of routing when done at the airport! I believe this means we can now officially book connecting flights and change to non-stops.
unavaca is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 5:59 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Canada
Programs: UA*1K, BA Silver, AC35k
Posts: 22,743
Originally Posted by unavaca View Post
I believe this means we can now officially book connecting flights and change to non-stops.
Or the other way around and change non-stops to out of the way connecting itineraries for extra mileage

This 1P says ^ to this change, but does not like it doesnt include Canada
rankourabu is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 6:03 pm
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: US
Programs: AA/UA/DL
Posts: 2,724
Finally, I want to give ^ to the merge airline.
pigx5 is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 6:20 pm
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,211
They're getting closer but the CO policy is still the better version IMO. They have the full 24-hour window for changes and it is not limited to trips wholly within the USA. Still, nice to see them getting closer to a single plan.
sbm12 is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 6:30 pm
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Everywhere but home far too often
Programs: Too many
Posts: 401
This is a good change. Even though I was exempt from the standby fee I thought it was unfair to 1P's. ^ to this.
mogulskiir is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 6:33 pm
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: FLL
Programs: AA Gold, DL Gold, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Gold, Starwood Gold, too many cruise programs to list
Posts: 655
Mark me another 1P very happy with this change! ^

Now to get the 24-hour window added, too.
BurBunny is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 6:49 pm
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chicago, Berkeley
Programs: UA 1P, AA, SPG
Posts: 15
AWESOME! The Standby fee was my single-greatest pet peeve, by far.

I travel mostly on high-frequency routes and I appreciate getting home a couple hours earlier when I have the opportunity. Before the fee started I estimate 25% of my flights were standby. In my book, at least, this single change outweighs all the negatives from the merger.
ynotzzz is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 6:50 pm
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,211
It should also be noted that the CO rules for SDC are in the fare rules rather than just a published policy. This means that for CO tickets issued prior to today the old rules still apply. Gonna be plenty of confusion on this one I would imagine.
sbm12 is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 7:19 pm
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Maine
Programs: UA Gold, Hyatt Glob, Marriott Plat, National EE, Hertz PC
Posts: 700
Glad to see this - I always thought it was ridiculous that UA charged 1P's the same standby fee that GM's were charged.
Pingtung is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 8:30 pm
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SFO
Programs: AA Plat, IHG Plat, HH Diamond, Hyatt Plat, Hertz Gold
Posts: 1,933
Finally! The old UA policy was the worst for midtier elites, but now we not only get standby but SDC. I'll be 1K again soon so it wouldn't have affected me too much, but I'm glad they changed it as it was unfair to the 1Ps.
Antipode is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 10:14 pm
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,657
The way I'm reading this is that if you book through CO - CO ticket, you can SDC at 24 hours on United, but on United you can SDC at 3 hours?

Applicable to United and Continental flights - its not exclusive anymore
meFIRST is offline  
Old May 17, 11, 11:36 pm
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist, Virtuoso Travel Agent, Commercial Pilot
Posts: 2,058
That's tremendous news. Just last Friday I skipped taking an earlier flight because I didn't feel like spending extra cash on a personal trip. ^
Sykes is offline  
Old May 18, 11, 12:45 am
Join Date: May 2008
Programs: DL AA UA
Posts: 2,359
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

Good job, and finally some good news! Now let's hope the 24 hr. CO model prevails as well.
ADLFO is offline  
Old May 18, 11, 4:44 am
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Programs: AA EXP/3mm+, UA 1k/1mm+, National EE, IC Plat, Marriott Plat
Posts: 2,604
Before you guys all go out of your way to praise this move, allow me to dampen the celebration a little...On CO, SDC was free BUT only possible if CO still had seats for sale in the fare bucket you had originally purchased. I can't tell you how many times I was locked out of being able to do SDC. Think about it...with today's capacity in the market and demand, especially in hub markets, how many cheap fares are still being sold close to day oif departure?

I would much prefer a system where I pay $50 and don't have to worry about fining seats in my original fare bucket. But I guess YMMV.
AAExPlat is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread