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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
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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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 Sep 24, 18, 5:16 pm
  #4381  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 8,638
Originally Posted by EQDsSUCK View Post
If I have a flight from DCA, will SDC options that open at 24 hours show me options departing from BWI and IAD as well?
Only your departure airport, no co-terminals.
fumje is offline  
Old Sep 24, 18, 5:34 pm
  #4382  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Programs: UA
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
I SDCed DEN-IAD to DEN-LAX-IAD. There were two redeye (LAX-IAD) flights that were about 45 min apart. App offered the earlier flight, not the latter. So, I had another SDC after boarded DEN-LAX to get the later flight I wanted.
Anyone else still getting jackpot SDC's? Recently I couldn't get anything between LAX-SFO to go farther east than DEN. Maybe its a LAX-SFO issue? Recent LAX-SYD was offered IAH both ways.
thejaredhuang is offline  
Old Sep 24, 18, 6:36 pm
  #4383  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Originally Posted by thejaredhuang View Post
Anyone else still getting jackpot SDC's? Recently I couldn't get anything between LAX-SFO to go farther east than DEN. Maybe its a LAX-SFO issue? Recent LAX-SYD was offered IAH both ways.
Not for almost a month, I think UA has mostly "fixed" the coding in their SDC engine.
The SDC options you are currently presented for an AAA-BBB flight are now pretty much the same as the options that you would be presented if you tried to do an AAA-BBB booking. A few options don't seem to show up, but those appear to be mainly broken fare options.

The LAX-SYD options make sense though because internationals seem to be a little more liberal.
FlyngSvyr is offline  
Old Sep 24, 18, 11:47 pm
  #4384  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 812
Is it still the case that SDC stops working on the app if a CPU clears?
sincx is offline  
Old Sep 25, 18, 12:33 pm
  #4385  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: ORD
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On Monday, I just did my first SDC since having gotten my UA Gold status. On the app, the button was labeled "Confirmed Seat $0". After I made the change, my new boarding pass never appeared in the app even though I could see the updated reservation.

I asked a United agent at one of the desks after security to print my boarding pass, and he took a few minutes to verify because he thought it looked odd - he checked my reservation, asked if I made the change, and called someone as well. He told me that there is a fee for the change based on my ticket, but that he wasn't going to charge anything this time.

Can anyone help me understand what happened here? What language would be on my ticket that takes precedence over the SCD rules? Or is this a case where I didn't yet have Gold status when I booked the ticket, so it didn't look right in the system when I made the change.
flandery is offline  
Old Sep 25, 18, 12:47 pm
  #4386  
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Originally Posted by FlyngSvyr View Post
Not for almost a month, I think UA has mostly "fixed" the coding in their SDC engine.
The SDC options you are currently presented for an AAA-BBB flight are now pretty much the same as the options that you would be presented if you tried to do an AAA-BBB booking. A few options don't seem to show up, but those appear to be mainly broken fare options.

The LAX-SYD options make sense though because internationals seem to be a little more liberal.

I've noticed this. On LAX-LAS, it's only showing connections via SFO.
VXforever is offline  
Old Sep 25, 18, 2:42 pm
  #4387  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Data point from Sunday. Had BOS-IAD-DTW. Only SDC options via IAD,EWR, and one ORD appeared. There was an option via IAH that would have worked out perfectly, and had plenty of inventory available (K5), but it never appeared. Didn't bother calling in.
BThumme is offline  
Old Sep 25, 18, 2:56 pm
  #4388  
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Originally Posted by flandery View Post
On Monday, I just did my first SDC since having gotten my UA Gold status. On the app, the button was labeled "Confirmed Seat $0". After I made the change, my new boarding pass never appeared in the app even though I could see the updated reservation.
Did you check-in after making the change? Your check-in does not transfer to the new itinerary.
Kacee is offline  
Old Sep 25, 18, 3:15 pm
  #4389  
RNE
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
It may get lost in a sweep, so it pays to keep on top of the reservations.
Yup. Hopefully restlessinRNO reads this.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 4:17 pm
  #4390  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Originally Posted by sincx View Post
Is it still the case that SDC stops working on the app if a CPU clears?
App SDC options will be based on your current confirmed fare class (including CPUed if applicable) last time I checked. In fact the app didn't give the option to switch to a flight with availability in my ORIGINALLY booked fare class. You're best bet would probably be to call in if you need to switch to a flight ex: F0, Y9
BullishGS is offline  
Old Sep 25, 18, 4:28 pm
  #4391  
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Originally Posted by sincx View Post
Is it still the case that SDC stops working on the app if a CPU clears?
CPU will never break SDC. For tickets in any revenue or award fare class, PN, and RN, you will be offered SDCs based on the current booking class (rbd) of your segment. For most upgraded tickets (R), you will be offered SDC based on the original booking class.

If you have a ticket in R and wish to SDC into R, this requires an agent and your original fare class available.

If you have a ticket in RN or PN and wish to SDC into your original booking class, this requires an agent.
findark is offline  
Old Sep 25, 18, 6:54 pm
  #4392  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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UA flights on LH stock...will an SDC still cause dire consequences or is LH friendlier?
dparkinson is offline  
Old Sep 25, 18, 9:15 pm
  #4393  
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Originally Posted by dparkinson View Post
UA flights on LH stock...will an SDC still cause dire consequences or is LH friendlier?
SDC rules require you to be on 016 stock. I dont know how strict that is - if an agent can/will do that, or if the app will allow it. Personally, I wouldnt risk it unless its the last segment on your ticket.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 9:18 pm
  #4394  
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
SDC rules require you to be on 016 stock. I dont know how strict that is - if an agent can/will do that, or if the app will allow it. Personally, I wouldnt risk it unless its the last segment on your ticket.
UA can't rebook non-016 tickets. The app may let you try it, but your ticket will then be out of sync with no way to fix it. The fact that LH and UA are JV partners and closer than some alliance members isn't likely to help you here.
jsloan is offline  
Old Sep 26, 18, 7:33 am
  #4395  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Did you check-in after making the change? Your check-in does not transfer to the new itinerary.
Thanks. That's a good point. I know that I didn't check in again, so that would explain why the new boarding pass didn't show up.

I'm still not sure why the agent thought I should have been charged a fee though.
flandery is offline  

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