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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 Jan 3, 15, 4:34 pm
  #1  
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UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki) {Archive}

Had a return flight booked IAH-SFO this week (part of a round trip), but got invited to a ski trip last minute and award tickets that will take me to Colorado and onto SFO.

After a $200 change fee, I won't get anything back from the original ticket.

So I'm thinking about continuously pushing back my IAH-SFO leg for as long as possible and hoping for an IRROP at some point.

Has anyone done this? How long does it take on average before you hit an IRROP? Any suggestions for the best flight to pick to get an IRROP? The return leg of the ticket was only $250, so the stress of constantly checking the UA app to look for later flights on a really popular route might not be worth it. (It's also a cheap fare class, so I might not be able to push back at all anyway).
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Old Jan 3, 15, 5:50 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by bigwings8 View Post
... Has anyone done this? ...
beleive one person pushed a flight 10-15 days, others may have done longer. you can only push something under 24 hours each time and probably less -- so it becomes a daily activity for some amount time. And at some point there is a chance the needed fare class does not show up and it has been all for not.

Originally Posted by bigwings8 View Post
... How long does it take on average before you hit an IRROP? Any suggestions for the best flight to pick to get an IRROP? ...
impossible questions -- any previous experience has no relevance for the future. The seasonal weather patterns is probably a better indicator. Rare for IAH to have waivers in the winter. SFO might be a better chance but last year there was no rain to speak of and winter is not the foggy time.

Originally Posted by bigwings8 View Post
... The return leg of the ticket was only $250, so the stress of constantly checking the UA app to look for later flights on a really popular route might not be worth it. (It's also a cheap fare class, so I might not be able to push back at all anyway).
Personally would only consider this if the weather forecast had an indication of IRROPs in the next few days, my time is worth more than doing this daily exercise.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 3, 15, 7:25 pm
  #3  
 
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I saw that UA SDC or SDS is for free Gold Primier member.

I have a question. Is it same policy with Delta for SDS(Same Day Standby)? That meaning is SDS is original routing only eligiable. For example, my N class(very lower class) ticket from Boston to Dallas, TX(DFW) via EWR original routing, is it possible to get on stand by different routing from Boston to Dallas(DFW) via ORD, IAD, IAH etc? I am sure there is not available for same fare class within 24 hours.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 9:55 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Kwang su View Post
I saw that UA SDC or SDS is for free Gold Primier member.

I have a question. Is it same policy with Delta for SDS(Same Day Standby)? That meaning is SDS is original routing only eligiable. For example, my N class(very lower class) ticket from Boston to Dallas, TX(DFW) via EWR original routing, is it possible to get on stand by different routing from Boston to Dallas(DFW) via ORD, IAD, IAH etc? I am sure there is not available for same fare class within 24 hours.
This is covered in the wiki -- but short answer O/D must stay the same but routing can change.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 10:14 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Kwang su View Post
I saw that UA SDC or SDS is for free Gold Primier member.

I have a question. Is it same policy with Delta for SDS(Same Day Standby)? That meaning is SDS is original routing only eligiable. For example, my N class(very lower class) ticket from Boston to Dallas, TX(DFW) via EWR original routing, is it possible to get on stand by different routing from Boston to Dallas(DFW) via ORD, IAD, IAH etc? I am sure there is not available for same fare class within 24 hours.
Don't know the details of DLs policy, but believe their same day change policy changed within the last year or two to be closer to UAs.

You also reference standby, so not sure if you mean a confirmed change, or going for standby. If doing same day change, yes, you can change routing, as in your example of routing through ORD or IAD instead or EWR. Standby you can not change routing. Since there is no fee for either (as a gold+), its always better to do the confirmed same day change, assuming your same fare class is available.

If your same fare class is not available, none of the electronic options (kiosk, app, website) will allow you to make the SDC, but you can call an agent, who can make the SDC and still waive the SDC fee, but will charge an upfare from, in your case, the N fare to the lowest available fare.

Another option is to standby, however, that does not allow you to change route, which is pretty logical because there is always the chance you make it to your connection point but there is no space on onwards flights.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 12:29 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
This is covered in the wiki -- but short answer O/D must stay the same but routing can change.
I checked again united.com.

"You may not, however, change routing when standing by." - That meaning is SDS(Same Day Standby) must be same routing required.


Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Don't know the details of DLs policy, but believe their same day change policy changed within the last year or two to be closer to UAs.

You also reference standby, so not sure if you mean a confirmed change, or going for standby. If doing same day change, yes, you can change routing, as in your example of routing through ORD or IAD instead or EWR. Standby you can not change routing. Since there is no fee for either (as a gold+), its always better to do the confirmed same day change, assuming your same fare class is available.

If your same fare class is not available, none of the electronic options (kiosk, app, website) will allow you to make the SDC, but you can call an agent, who can make the SDC and still waive the SDC fee, but will charge an upfare from, in your case, the N fare to the lowest available fare.

Another option is to standby, however, that does not allow you to change route, which is pretty logical because there is always the chance you make it to your connection point but there is no space on onwards flights.
I see that only SDC is possible for routing changed. Therefore, I need to make a reservation for many flight booking for popluar routing.

Thank you for your reply.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 12:51 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Kwang su View Post
I checked again united.com.

"You may not, however, change routing when standing by." - That meaning is SDS(Same Day Standby) must be same routing required.

I see that only SDC is possible for routing changed. Therefore, I need to make a reservation for many flight booking for popluar routing.

Thank you for your reply.
Correct about standby - not sure why you are thinking about standby, if SDC (same cost and more flexible) is possible and usually is -- it is much preferable.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 12:44 pm
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Arrow CLD / SAN standby question

I am flying CLD-LAX-ORD tomorrow? Can I show up at SAN to standby on an earlier nonstop flight? I asked UA phone rep and the answer was not without $200 change fee + fare difference but I thought to ask the forum if this can be done.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 12:53 pm
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No. The routing can change, but the end-points must remain the same.

There is a potential exception for this for multi-airport cities (DCA/IAD and JFK/LGA), but not any others.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 1:05 pm
  #10  
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By the rules, no. That said, you may get an agent at SAN who is receptive and who will make the change--or he or she may stand pat and insist on the $200 at a minimum (plus potentially the fare difference).

I have actually done this before in the opposite direction--e.g. showed up early at LAX for my flight to OAK, and asked to switch to LAX-SJC (LOL, back when UA actually flew those!). The GA made the change without batting an eye. But I've also had to pay the "service fee" when misreading fare rules on an IAD-specific fare (although it had the "standby permitted from DCA" text in it, it *also* had text saying fare was valid from IAD only).

If there are irrops at all with either of the CLD-LAX or LAX-ORD flights, then you have a much better chance of it.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 1:10 pm
  #11  
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CLD and SAN are not considered co-located airports. You cannot switch between the two except in the rare case it is to UA's advantage, such as the last LAX-CLD flight has left and you are willing to accept LAX-SAN.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 1:12 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
CLD and SAN are not considered co-located airports.
Even if they were, you can't standby/SDC between co-terminals, only multi-airport cities.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Even if they were, you can't standby/SDC between co-terminals, only multi-airport cities.
Even then, that exception is unofficial and largely dead.

Nonetheless, if attempted at the airport in this case, I put the likelihood of it being done as a courtesy at pretty good.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by mgcsinc View Post
Nonetheless, if attempted at the airport in this case, I put the likelihood of it being done as a courtesy at pretty good.
A change of origin is going to require the ticket to be re-issued, which almost certainly can't be done by someone at the airport. Thus they are going to have to make a call to have it done, and without a good reason (eg, waiver) I simply can't see happening...
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Old Jan 4, 15, 3:36 pm
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UA 24 Hour Standby Policy

I am 1K of UA, and have enjoyed the 24hr standby policy very much. \But I plan to postpone a returning flight 5 days from PVG - EWR. Is it possible to use the "other flight options" to postpone the flight everyday for 5 days? My ticket is B Cabin.
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