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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 Oct 6, 18, 9:11 am
  #4411  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Programs: UA 1K, AS Gold
Posts: 96
Question on how to change routing

Hi,

It's been a long time since I've posted. I've tried to search the threads for an answer, but no luck. I have a relatively simple question. Next week I am flying PDX to SYD on a paid discount Business fare (P fare class) and I am a million miler (Premier Gold). My routing to SYD is great : PDX-SFO-SYD. However, on the way home, to get the best fare, I was routed SYD-LAX-SFO-PDX. UA does not fly LAX-PDX nonstop. So with that background, my question is this: When (if at all) would I be able to call UA and ask to be routed home SYD-SFO-PDX instead of having to go SYD-LAX-SFO-PDX? There are plenty of seats as of now, but that will change as people try to upgrade.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 9:25 am
  #4412  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: UA 1K MM, AA Gold, SPG Plat, HH Gold
Posts: 956
SDC, same day change, starts 24 hours before departure. This can be done online or on the phone.
skylane is offline  
Old Oct 6, 18, 9:27 am
  #4413  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Programs: UA 1K, AS Gold
Posts: 96
Thanks for the quick reply. So I am also allowed to change my routing (if seats are available) on a SDC? As a Gold, there is no fee, correct?
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Old Oct 6, 18, 9:50 am
  #4414  
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Originally Posted by iflypdx View Post
Thanks for the quick reply. So I am also allowed to change my routing (if seats are available) on a SDC? As a Gold, there is no fee, correct?
yes
cfischer is offline  
Old Oct 6, 18, 10:47 am
  #4415  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Francisco/Sydney
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Originally Posted by skylane View Post
SDC, same day change, starts 24 hours before departure. This can be done online or on the phone.
You need to be within 24 hours of departure of BOTH flights (the one you're on, and the one you want to change to). Given SYD-SFO leaves an hour after SYD-LAX, that'd be 23 hours before departure of your flight (ie, 11:30am local time, the day before).

Although it can be done online, if you're planning to stay on the same SFO-PDX and if there are no F seats available on that flight then it's very likely you'll need to call.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 1:14 pm
  #4416  
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Originally Posted by iflypdx View Post
Thanks for the quick reply. So I am also allowed to change my routing (if seats are available) on a SDC? As a Gold, there is no fee, correct?
As noted, 24 hours within departure of both your current and desired itinerary, and you also need P inventory, not just seats, on the desired SYD-PDX routing.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 1:24 pm
  #4417  
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How does T-24 Same Day Change apply to same city pair?

i have a flight to HND but the timing does not work well for me, and I would to switch it to the NRT flight.

How does the T-24 sand day change rule apply in this situation? Is it even allowed without change fee? Does fare difference apply?
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Old Oct 6, 18, 1:29 pm
  #4418  
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Co-terminals are technically not allowed for SDC -- by the book this would be a normal change which might just be the change fee if the fare is valid for TYO. However, as a GS, I would imagine you could get some leniency here.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 1:29 pm
  #4419  
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
i have a flight to HND but the timing does not work well for me, and I would to switch it to the NRT flight.

How does the T-24 sand day change rule apply in this situation? Is it even allowed without change fee? Does fare difference apply?
no co-terminal with SDC. You cannot change HND to NRT w/ SDC.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 1:31 pm
  #4420  
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It doesnt. No airport changes allowed for SDC. Change fee and fare difference applies. A nice agent may do it for you without fee (If gold+) or for SDC fee, but this is not SOP and should not be expected.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 1:32 pm
  #4421  
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also keep in mind that inventory often changes dynamically T-24 to T-2. So no P-class available at T-24 does not mean the same is not true T-20 for example. I have seen them open P even when it was J1 ... but of course it is better to have J9 at which point it is almost a given that P will show up at some point.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 9:39 pm
  #4422  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 812
Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
i have a flight to HND but the timing does not work well for me, and I would to switch it to the NRT flight.

How does the T-24 sand day change rule apply in this situation? Is it even allowed without change fee? Does fare difference apply?
As everyone else said, co-terminals are technically not allowed for SDC. However, I've found that exceptions to this are not necessarily rare. Call within 24 hours, and as a GS, I think you'd at least have a 1 in 3 chance of success.
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Old Oct 10, 18, 9:56 pm
  #4423  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
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Posts: 209
I know changing to a co-terminal is N*, but what if the co-terminal change is going from non-UA to UA metal?

I'm thinking specifically of going from SIN back to NYC. Cheaper flight is on LH connecting in FRA or MUC to JFK.

UA offers better timing (provided I connect at SFO instead of Europe), but I'd be flying into EWR instead of JFK.

Has this been done before?
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Old Oct 10, 18, 11:04 pm
  #4424  
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Originally Posted by NYC2SGN View Post
I know changing to a co-terminal is N*, but what if the co-terminal change is going from non-UA to UA metal?
Not going to happen.
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Old Oct 12, 18, 6:04 pm
  #4425  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: APC/SFO
Programs: UA 1K, B9, AA, DL, WN
Posts: 271
SDC on outbound mysteriously wrecked return flight four days later

Thought I was having a smooth SDC experience through the United app for tomorrow's flight -- successfully changed from a connecting flight to a nonstop with a better schedule -- but ended up with lots of glitches along the way.

When confirming my new flight selection, there was a small fare difference, and a strange note that said something along the lines of "no change fee, destination is currently under travel waiver" -- which actually isn't true. But whatever, no problem, there's not supposed to be a SDC fee anyway for Plat or above.

Then went to select seats. As I was closing that out, got an error message saying one of my flights seat map couldn't be processed. No problem, I'll deal with it when I'm done.

Circle back after everything completed, only to find that my return flight four days later has been mysteriously downgraded from First (A) to Econ (U). I thought maybe that was just a rendering glitch in the app, but then saw that my seat 2E had disappeared too, and I couldn't re-select anything in First.

Baffled, I immediately call in, only to spend almost 30 minutes on the phone with agent and supervisor who keep telling me that the SDC re-fared my entire itinerary, and since my original return was in U and there were no upgrades available, I was placed back in U. What??

Me: I purchased a First Class fare from the get-go, no upgrades involved anywhere along the way.
Agent: Sorry sir, A is an upgrade fare from your original U.
Me: No, I have my original receipt showing A fare.
Agent: Sorry, I know it's confusing, even for us agents, but A is an upgrade.
Me: ????
Agent: Let's see what we can do this time to get you back to A since the SDC shouldn't have re-fared the return.
Me: <head about to explode but quiet and polite on the outside> thank you

It literally took almost a half hour.

Moral of the story, beware any SDC changes once complete, and check your entire itinerary the moment the e-receipt arrives in your inbox. If I hadn't had the seat selection error message, I never would have noticed nor paid attention until it would likely have been far too late.
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