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UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki) {Archive}

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki) {Archive}

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Old Jan 5, 18, 12:49 pm   -   Wikipost
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This wiki was created to distill SDC (and related 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, 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 currently 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: 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.
  • Only applies to UA/UX operated flights, domestic or international. Changing from a non-UA operated to UA operated may be possible.
  • 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 Members and Silvers - the fee 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. Once in-route, fees for an earlier connecting flight may be waived per GG SDC Line 118.
  • 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.

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 mobile app
  • Kiosk
  • Phone
  • On united.com, right now only the "Search Other Flight Options" button during On-Line Check-In (OLCI) works. This has spotty availability, particularly if the change would involve paying an additional fare due to fare bucket non-availability.
  • 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)
Please note that the United.com “change flight” link before checking in within T-24, is broken. The website may not show all available options and will often attempt to collect the change fee rather than the SDC fee (if any).


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 = officially permitted and possible using any method
A = not permitted but perhaps 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 (see the old S*FAR/STANDBY): A
  • Change destination to a co-terminal: 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: Y
  • Change from a GPU-upgraded flight into J/F 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
  • Change at origin airport after tendering a checked bag: N
  • Change at layover airport when a bag has been checked: N

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.

Note -- as of 11/27/2017: A datapoint indicates that UA may have updated its GG rule regarding leveling out to state the following:

Code:
EVERYDAY AWARD AND REVENUE BUCKETS ARE TO LEVEL OUT WITHIN 2H OF DEPARTURE
Standby
You may stand by if seats are not available in the purchased fare class. In these cases, the same-day change fee will apply, but will not be charged unless you are assigned a seat on your alternate flight. Changes in routing are not allowed when standing by. Standby may be requested on the day of departure at an airport kiosk or with a United representative at the airport. Once you are added to the flight standby list, you can check your real-time standby status at united.com/flightstatus or on your mobile device at mobile.united.com/info.

Instead of paying a same-day change discounted fee, can I stand by for my desired flight for free?
No. The only time you may standby for free is when the fare does not have any penalties for making changes, or when standing by involuntarily due to a flight irregularity.

Can I pay the same-day change discount fee with cash?
Cash will only be accepted by a United airport representative when the change is available to be confirmed, not for standby travel.

original posting by mgcsinc, initiated by jackal

Previous threads:
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions *now with WikiPost* {pre-2015 Archive}
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Old Aug 5, 18, 5:23 pm
  #4141  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Houston/DC
Programs: UA 1K
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Hard to say without specific flights/dates, but this situation is usually because of inventory, which would also restrict your ability to SDC.

As jsloan notes, routing rules permitting more than one stop are very uncommon these days, so it would be challenging to change to a two-stop itinerary ahead of time. Once the LGA-IAH coupon is lifted, you should have fewer problems SDCing by app, although rumor has it the app has tightened up a bit recently.
I have not seen the rumor discussed on this forum, but anecdotally I can confirm that my last 2 weeks of flights have not provided the same "robust" SDC options at my point of origin airport.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 8:23 pm
  #4142  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Floating around
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Posts: 7,950
Three things to note with SDC. Given I'm traveling basically every single day I always try to check my options and optimize my flights either for miles, arrival time, etc.

1) I no longer need to worry about changing my 545am LGA-IAH flight. Given what happened (see #2 below), I asked the agent in PDX to change my ticket on Monday so that I had at least 12 hours in NY before flying again. He agreed to do so and he booked me the LGA-IAH-DEN-West Coast flight that I asked for. It wasn't ideal but it was good enough. I did look up my routing rules and two transfers are allowed on it so I technically could have SDC'd this ticket as I was asking about above. Not sure whether I would have found a phone agent willing to do it though. Thanks for the advice @jsloan and @findark.

2) I misconnected in Denver this weekend thanks to a "late inbound crew" to PDX. The DEN-LGA flight left 3 minutes before my PDX-DEN plane pulled up to the gate. Anyway, I got rebooked in "F" for the following day as I was already confirmed in first on the original DEN-LGA flight. Interestingly, I had zero SDC options appear all day yesterday on the app even though there were plenty of flights with "F" space open. This morning when I woke up in DEN and pulled up SDC options I suddenly had a whole slew of them, all booking straight into "F". No idea what changed overnight. Anyone have a clue? I also wonder if the flight will post as paid "F" or not. If it does, great. If not, I'm not asking for extra PQM.

3) Related to #1 above, I tried to change my LGA-IAH flight within the SDC window, leaving IAH-DEN-West Coast as-is. The flight opened up with my booking class and I called the 1K line to make the change since the app will not offer two connections via SDC. Two agents I called both said they couldn't see the class open even though EF and United's website confirmed it. In fact, trying to book a new ticket LGA-IAH booked right into the fare class I needed. I found my way to web support who also claimed she couldn't make the change. However, after I noted to her twice that the app was offering to sell me a ticket in the class I needed she put me on hold to talk to a supervisor. Ultimately they made the change but then she had to document the ticket about waiving the change fee. Huh? Maybe this is a result of web support not knowing SDC rules. I'm wondering why multiple agents saw my fare class 0 when the app and EF both said it was 1. (IAH-DEN-West Coast still had plenty of fare class availability for what I needed).

Trials & tribulations of SDC continue. Tomorrow will be real interesting once I board my LGA-IAH flight to see how far I can push the rest of the ticket. Given that it's a manually re-issued ticket I think I might be calling the 1K line again.

-RM
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Old Aug 6, 18, 7:24 am
  #4143  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Jomtien (Pattaya) Thailand
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Not sure if this is a one-time glitch or a "change you are going to like," but I couldn't SDC today's flight without a $200 change fee.

I was booked SAN-LAX-IAH-MID with 2.5 hours in LAX and 33 minutes in IAH, and that short layover in IAH made me nervous, so I looked last night and this morning and found some options for $0 (I'm booked in P, based on an S fare) but they all said there would be a $200 change fee right up until the point where I had to submit my credit card details. I tried last night (within 12 hours of departure) and again this morning (within 3 hours of departure) on both the app and the web site.

I called the Premier Desk and the agent there said she also said it was telling her to collect $200, but she put me on hold and when she came back she said she could SDC me for no fee (I'm MP Gold).

This is my first time a actually doing a SDC, but I've looked at it in the past and I *think* the format on the app is different than before. I was forced back on to the new united.com web site after several weeks of enjoying the old "classic" website.
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Old Aug 6, 18, 8:29 am
  #4144  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: LAX
Programs: UA Plat MM, CM Plat, Amex Plat, Hertz CP, Hyatt Globalist, SPG Gold, Vons Club
Posts: 3,752
What do you think??

I have an LAX-EWR-CLT itinerary ( G Fare ) at the end of September. I arrive at EWR on a Thursday morning My connection to CLT is a few hours later. What's your thoughts on rolling a SDC for a few days and keep on rolling to either Sunday night or Monday morning? I don't know that route and curious to know what you think. Thanks in advance

Last edited by Flying Machine; Aug 6, 18 at 8:39 am
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Old Aug 6, 18, 9:03 am
  #4145  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Floating around
Programs: UA 1K (1MM), DL Silver (1MM), Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 7,950
Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
I have an LAX-EWR-CLT itinerary ( G Fare ) at the end of September. I arrive at EWR on a Thursday morning My connection to CLT is a few hours later. What's your thoughts on rolling a SDC for a few days and keep on rolling to either Sunday night or Monday morning? I don't know that route and curious to know what you think. Thanks in advance
Your post doesn't clarify what you want to roll. The entire trip or just EWR-CLT? "G" is the lowest regular economy fare so I put your chances at super slim to nearly impossible for being able to SDC. EWR on a Friday/Sunday/Monday is very hard to route through and have open fare buckets. Not impossible by any means but I put your chances at 0-2%. If you want to SDC the entire ticket then you have routing options via IAD/IAH/ORD at least.

-RM
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Old Aug 6, 18, 9:08 am
  #4146  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
Your post doesn't clarify what you want to roll. The entire trip or just EWR-CLT? "G" is the lowest regular economy fare so I put your chances at super slim to nearly impossible for being able to SDC. EWR on a Friday/Sunday/Monday is very hard to route through and have open fare buckets. Not impossible by any means but I put your chances at 0-2%. If you want to SDC the entire ticket then you have routing options via IAD/IAH/ORD at least.

-RM
Thanks, I'm trying to SDC the EWR-CLT leg only. Seems like there's four or five flights daily that are non-stops and many more with connections thus my thoughts on a good chance. What do others think?
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Old Aug 6, 18, 9:21 am
  #4147  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 7,448
Originally Posted by 1984SW View Post
This is my first time a actually doing a SDC, but I've looked at it in the past and I *think* the format on the app is different than before. I was forced back on to the new united.com web site after several weeks of enjoying the old "classic" website.
It's generally necessary to call to do an SDC when there are two or more stops remaining on the trip you're trying to change. The "Change Flights" link on the website generally doesn't support SDC properly, and the "real" SDC link -- which appears during the check-in process, and from the "Travel Options" link on a checked-in reservation on the app -- generally won't appear in these situations.

Also, it can often be challenging (in the app / online) to SDC to a flight you're already on, if that's what you were trying to do. If you were trying to get back onto the same IAH-MID flight you already had booked, often that option won't appear and you'll have to call.

I don't know why the UA agent was running into problems helping you, but I don't think there's a change here.
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Old Aug 6, 18, 11:21 am
  #4148  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: SFO
Posts: 86
Booked SFO-IAH-LGA. Looking at SDC, offered what appears to be a direct SFO-LGA on a 772(!) - option appears in both app and on website:




Of course flying time is too good to be true, plus direct SFO-LGA? No seat map available, but checking on ExpertFlyer, it's actually a connection through DEN, with DEN-LGA leg on an A320, arriving LGA 11:19PM. It's still all listed as UA1858, though.



I guess this isn't actually a SDC question, but I've never seen the phenomenon before. Is it a glitch, or is it common?

(Apology for image size - expected it to resize, no time to edit...)
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Old Aug 6, 18, 11:44 am
  #4149  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by mehitabel View Post
Booked SFO-IAH-LGA. Looking at SDC, offered what appears to be a direct SFO-LGA on a 772(!) - option appears in both app and on website:




Of course flying time is too good to be true, plus direct SFO-LGA? No seat map available, but checking on ExpertFlyer, it's actually a connection through DEN, with DEN-LGA leg on an A320, arriving LGA 11:19PM. It's still all listed as UA1858, though.



I guess this isn't actually a SDC question, but I've never seen the phenomenon before. Is it a glitch, or is it common?

(Apology for image size - expected it to resize, no time to edit...)
It's a direct flight, that's why you're running into this (the flight number is the same). It's not super common, but a lot of us would know something is up as:
1)UA doesn't operate SFO-LGA nonstop
2) Most certainly doesn't fly 772's into LGA
3) the time makes no-sense. that is a glitch however, as it's showing you the SFO-DEN time, completely leaving out the next time. There was a post about this a couple pages ago.
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Old Aug 6, 18, 11:47 am
  #4150  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
It's a direct flight, that's why you're running into this (the flight number is the same). It's not super common, but a lot of us would know something is up as UA doesn't operate SFO-LGA nonstop, and most certainly doesn't fly 772's into LGA.
This is arguably even worse than the recent discussion by someone who purchased a PHL-IAD/DCA-CLE award itinerary on the app thinking it was PHL-DCA-CLE.

I've never seen this behavior on the web before. I could easily see someone taking that flight by mistake, not knowing what they were getting. UA really needs to fix this.
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Old Aug 6, 18, 11:50 am
  #4151  
Moderator: Budget Travel forum & Credit Card Programs, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
It's a direct flight, that's why you're running into this (the flight number is the same). It's not super common, but a lot of us would know something is up as:
1)UA doesn't operate SFO-LGA nonstop
2) Most certainly doesn't fly 772's into LGA

3) the time makes no-sense. that is a glitch however, as it's showing you the SFO-DEN time, completely leaving out the next time. There was a post about this a couple pages ago.
That must be it

Given it's THREE time zones would make it a 40 minute flight
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Old Aug 6, 18, 12:25 pm
  #4152  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: SFO
Posts: 86
Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
It's a direct flight, that's why you're running into this (the flight number is the same). It's not super common, but a lot of us would know something is up as:
1)UA doesn't operate SFO-LGA nonstop
2) Most certainly doesn't fly 772's into LGA
3) the time makes no-sense. that is a glitch however, as it's showing you the SFO-DEN time, completely leaving out the next time. There was a post about this a couple pages ago.
Ah, thanks. It's the direct flight (only one flight number) part that confused me - I figured out right away that United hadn't cracked the challenge of time travel with a souped up new 777, or graced us lucky few with a direct SFO-LGA.

A girl can dream, though
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Old Aug 6, 18, 1:28 pm
  #4153  
Moderator: Budget Travel forum & Credit Card Programs, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
It's a direct flight, that's why you're running into this (the flight number is the same). It's not super common, but a lot of us would know something is up as:
1)UA doesn't operate SFO-LGA nonstop
2) Most certainly doesn't fly 772's into LGA
3) the time makes no-sense. that is a glitch however, as it's showing you the SFO-DEN time, completely leaving out the next time. There was a post about this a couple pages ago.
Originally Posted by mehitabel View Post
Ah, thanks. It's the direct flight (only one flight number) part that confused me - I figured out right away that United hadn't cracked the challenge of time travel with a souped up new 777, or graced us lucky few with a direct SFO-LGA.

A girl can dream, though
Ah, but they DID

It's a nonstop that they didn't provide.
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Old Aug 6, 18, 1:33 pm
  #4154  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: SFO
Posts: 86
Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
Ah, but they DID

It's a nonstop that they didn't provide.
Touche!

10 years in, the finer points of the lingo still elude me. Also the not-so-finer ones....
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Old Aug 6, 18, 8:03 pm
  #4155  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
I have an LAX-EWR-CLT itinerary ( G Fare ) at the end of September. I arrive at EWR on a Thursday morning My connection to CLT is a few hours later. What's your thoughts on rolling a SDC for a few days and keep on rolling to either Sunday night or Monday morning? I don't know that route and curious to know what you think. Thanks in advance
Anyone else think I have a chance?
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