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Check Your UA Itineraries for Schedule Changes and what to do after one

Check Your UA Itineraries for Schedule Changes and what to do after one

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Old Jul 2, 22, 4:51 pm   -   Wikipost
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UA typically updates schedules on late Wednesday & Friday evenings into the next day morning (USA Central Time).

United's FAQ on Schedule Changes webpage is no more vague but the follow seems to be the present policy

-- reschedule flexibility for 30 minutes or more changes
  • Your origin and destination will have to be the same as on your original itinerary.
  • If you have a connection, you may be able to choose a different connecting city or airport.
  • Alternative flights must be operated by United or our United Express® partners.

-- refunds for 2 hours or more changes
--- we may be able to offer you a refund:
  • The scheduled departure or arrival time changes by two hours or more.
  • The change causes issues with the overall length of the trip, such as making the connection time too short or significantly longer than it was originally.
  • If we are unable to accommodate you in the same cabin as purchased – refunded either the full price or the difference in fare.
If you're not satisfied with your new itinerary and one of the above scenarios applies, please don't accept the itinerary in Manage Reservations. Instead, you can request a refund online.


Generally, UA is pretty good about being flexible if you are adversely affected by a schedule change. Most reasonable requests will likely be honored. Best to do some self-research prior to calling. Including opening up award space on UA operated flights. If you had a cleared upgrade on UA operated flight, UA will generally honor that in the rescheduling if space is available (but not requiring upgrade inventory space on the new flights)

During this weekend change period and sometimes for a day later, there can be weirdness in displayed aircraft or seating maps, such as Strange/Impossible Aircraft Assignments After UA's Weekend Schedule Update

Early in the COVID pandemic, UA initially change the policy for refund to require 24 hour change, but quickly walked that back to 6 hours. Under DOT and public pressure, UA returned to a 2 hour policy on 6 June 2020. 30 minute change is still the threshold for flexible rebooking

More specific information is found in UA's guidance to TA's (on Jetstream) on re-scheduling
  • Any segment goes from a non-stop to a connection
  • Misconnecting itinerary
  • Change to originally scheduled arrival or departure time of at least + / - 30 minutes
Change to alternate flight (original operating carrier or carrier permitted as noted in fare rule) or UA operated flight. If itinerary includes UA operated segment, UA schedule change rules apply to that segment {meaning changing only to UA operated flight}.
Same booking class. If original booking class unavailable, book lowest available (higher than original booking class, same cabin) up to and including M class. Contact UA if required class of service is unavailable.**
Change fee and add/collect waived - see "Additional parameters for flights impacted by schedule changes" below the chart.
For 2 hours or more, refunds are an option unless you can be rescheduled to be under the 2 hours
Change to original arrival or departure time of 2 hours or more or cancelled flight with no protection
or
Additional parameters for flights impacted by schedule changes
  1. Non-stops may go to connecting flights, and connecting flights may go to non-stops
  2. Connecting hub may be changed
  3. If original day of departure is unavailable, may depart 7 days prior to or after original departure date. If outbound flight is impacted, subsequent flights on same itinerary may be changed to maintain original length of trip.***
  4. Alternate airports within a 250 mile radius of the original origin or departure airport***
    • Change may apply to origin and destination, but must be changed at the original time of ticket reissue
    • Customer is responsible for any additional expenses incurred
Please see footnote below regarding the handling of United Basic Economy fares booked in "N" class.

***Continuing or return travel dates may be voluntarily changed on UA segments only in the original inventory class to maintain the original length of stay prior to the re-accommodation. Changes to the return flight must be in the same PNR and be made in the same transaction as the re-accommodation of the outbound flight. The change fee and add/collect will be waived for changes made to the return (original class of service only).

**United Basic Economy fares booked in "N" class must remain in "N" class when eligible for self-service rebooking due to unacceptable schedule changes or irregular operations. If "N" class is unavailable, please contact United’s Customer Contact Centers for assistance. Rebooking into an ineligible booking class may result in the issuance of a debit memo. For non-Basic Economy fares, do not rebook into "N" class.
================= older information =======================
The peak-time for changes is roughly 3-4 months prior to departure but changes occur anytime -- especially aircraft changes within an aircraft family (such as 777-200s or 737-800 vs 737-900).

Schedule changes
Rebooking options if a schedule change has affected your itinerary

If your scheduled departure or arrival time changes by 30 minutes or more, we're happy to try to find other available flight options that meet your needs. Please keep the following in mind when you call:
  • Your origin and destination will have to be the same as on your original itinerary.
  • If you have a connection, you may be able to choose a different connecting city or airport.
  • Alternative flights must be operated by United or our United Express® partners.
If we aren't able to find any other flights that meet your needs, requesting a refund may be an option. See the section below for more information.

Ticket refunds

When a schedule change happens, we try our best to provide you with options that minimize the disruption to your travel plans. In cases where the new flight options don't work for you and one of the following scenarios applies, we may be able to offer you a refund:
  • The scheduled departure or arrival time significantly changes.
  • The change causes issues with the overall length of the trip, such as making the connection time too short or significantly longer than it was originally.
  • If we are unable to accommodate you in the same cabin as purchased – refunded either the full price or the difference in fare.
If you're not satisfied with your new itinerary and one of the above scenarios applies, please don't accept the itinerary in Manage Reservations. Instead, you can request a refund online.
It is reported that agents will now (12 March 2020) process refunds for 6-hour changes (down from the original new 25+ hours that replaced the previous long practice of 2-hours)
JetStream - Agency Rebooking Parameters


Related thread: Schedule change refund policy changed from 2+ hrs to 25+ hrs now 6+ hrs 12 March 2020

Archive Thread - Check Your UA Itineraries for Schedule Changes and what to do after one [Archive]


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Old Jan 8, 21, 3:24 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
OP: You can ask -- but can't demand; they can say no -- that UA put you onto the Hawaiian Airlines flight at no cost to you.
Given Hawaiian charges double in F than UA (generally $2,000 one way vs $1,000) - that scenario won't happen. UA has multiple 1 stop lie flat to EWR - that is what they will offer.
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Old Jan 8, 21, 4:30 pm
  #17  
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Given Hawaiian charges double in F than UA (generally $2,000 one way vs $1,000) - that scenario won't happen. UA has multiple 1 stop lie flat to EWR - that is what they will offer.
UA doesn't pay the going rate. I agree it's unlikely to be successful, but it's worth asking about.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 12:43 am
  #18  
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Thanks for your responses and advice. I haven't had a chance to call United yet but I have a feeling based on the fact that the new flight is scheduled to leave exactly 1 hour and 59 minutes before the previously scheduled non stop that they are going to be less than responsive. That time frame cannot be a coincidence but must be designed to try to shield them from liability.
The most upsetting thing is that the only reason we felt safe flying was because everyone on the plane going to Hawaii had already showed a negative test before boarding and that people coming back from Hawaii were not likely to have it. Having to ride 6 hours with a brand new set of people boarding in San Francisco adds a whole new layer of covid dangers.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 8:15 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Ska.tm View Post
...The most upsetting thing is that the only reason we felt safe flying was because everyone on the plane going to Hawaii had already showed a negative test before boarding...
That's not quite the case. No airline actually checks for Covid results before boarding a plane to Hawaii. The domestic pre-boarding health checks are few - eg. Hawaii scans temperatures of all arriving and departing passengers and Frontier scans temperatures of all boarding passengers. While most Hawaii-bound passengers probably would have taken the test to avoid a 10-day quarantine, a negative test is not actually a requirement of boarding the plane and there WILL be a non-insignificant fraction of people who have not taken the tests for various reasons - exempt crew members, certain exempt workers, returning residents who opt to quarantine, some who think they can illegally skip quarantine, etc. Additionally, we have seen some who have received a positive test get on a plane anyway.

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Jan 9, 21 at 10:01 am
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Old Jan 9, 21, 8:37 am
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Ska.tm View Post
Thanks for your responses and advice. I haven't had a chance to call United yet but I have a feeling based on the fact that the new flight is scheduled to leave exactly 1 hour and 59 minutes before the previously scheduled non stop that they are going to be less than responsive. That time frame cannot be a coincidence but must be designed to try to shield them from liability.
The most upsetting thing is that the only reason we felt safe flying was because everyone on the plane going to Hawaii had already showed a negative test before boarding and that people coming back from Hawaii were not likely to have it. Having to ride 6 hours with a brand new set of people boarding in San Francisco adds a whole new layer of covid dangers.
Is HNL-SFO lie-flat? Else that would be ground for a refund.

non-stop to connecting ... I have not gotten any pushback asking for refunds.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 9:48 am
  #21  
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
Is HNL-SFO lie-flat? Else that would be ground for a refund.

non-stop to connecting ... I have not gotten any pushback asking for refunds.
To clarify this, people have reported being refunded in some case on a change of seat and/or the addition of a connection. However, while once these reasons were a part of UA formal policy, there are no longer in the written policy. Hopefully agents continue processing refunds for these now unwritten reasons.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 10:36 am
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by Ska.tm View Post
Thanks for your responses and advice. I haven't had a chance to call United yet but I have a feeling based on the fact that the new flight is scheduled to leave exactly 1 hour and 59 minutes before the previously scheduled non stop that they are going to be less than responsive. That time frame cannot be a coincidence but must be designed to try to shield them from liability.
The most upsetting thing is that the only reason we felt safe flying was because everyone on the plane going to Hawaii had already showed a negative test before boarding and that people coming back from Hawaii were not likely to have it. Having to ride 6 hours with a brand new set of people boarding in San Francisco adds a whole new layer of covid dangers.
If your new flight is leaving 1 hour 59 minutes before the previous nonstop - the arrival back to EWR with a connection will certainly be greater than 2 hours - which can be refunded. With the refund, you can buy a nonstop to JFK on Hawaiian - it will be more expensive, and the seat, in my opinion, inferior to UA. You can also fly Delta to ATL and connect - which has less people on the plane due to seat blocking (although the F offerings are worse than UA). Personally, I think the best option is lie-flat to SFO and lie-flat to EWR on UA

A lot of arriving passengers to Hawaii have not bothered with a Covid test (I think I read 20% don't bother) - you certainly flew on a plane with passengers to Hawaii that were not screened for Covid
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Old Jan 9, 21, 10:58 am
  #23  
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Sure, I meant it a little more anecdotally based on needing a negative test to avoid quarantine when landing as most people flying direct from NYC would not want to quarantine in Hawaii. Either way, 2 flights vs one flight is certainly more possible exposure for a variety of reasons.



Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
That's not quite the case. No airline actually checks for Covid results before boarding a plane to Hawaii. The domestic pre-boarding health checks are few - eg. Hawaii scans temperatures of all arriving and departing passengers and Frontier scans temperatures of all boarding passengers. While most Hawaii-bound passengers probably would have taken the test to avoid a 10-day quarantine, a negative test is not actually a requirement of boarding the plane and there WILL be a non-insignificant fraction of people who have not taken the tests for various reasons - exempt crew members, certain exempt workers, returning residents who opt to quarantine, some who think they can illegally skip quarantine, etc. Additionally, we have seen some who have received a positive test get on a plane anyway.

Last edited by J.Edward; Jan 9, 21 at 11:11 am Reason: correct VBB formatting
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Old Jan 9, 21, 11:04 am
  #24  
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Just to be clear, OP is absolutely entitled to a refund of the unused segments of his ticket.

The DOT rule is very clear that either a cancellation or a significant change requires the option of a refund. In this case, UA has cancelled the nonstop flight and proposed an alternative which may or may not be acceptable. But, it is the cancellation which triggers the right to a refund.

UA could, of course, stand on form and grant the refund but not agree to any other reroute.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 11:14 am
  #25  
 
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On a different note - I received today my 2nd email for a schedule change that is not mine - the dates, cities, and name is not me. Definitely log in to your account and verify flights.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 12:15 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Just to be clear, OP is absolutely entitled to a refund of the unused segments of his ticket.

The DOT rule is very clear that either a cancellation or a significant change requires the option of a refund.
The DOT has not defined these terms, so I don't think that you can make any such blanket statement. I think we beat this horse pretty well the last time this came up.

In practice, I suspect that OP will have no problem getting a refund for this flight, if that's the desired outcome. Getting put onto HA instead may or may not be possible; I'm guessing probably not, but it probably depends upon how persuasive OP is. Selecting any other one-stop UA routing is certainly an option also.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 3:04 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The DOT has not defined these terms, so I don't think that you can make any such blanket statement. I think we beat this horse pretty well the last time this came up.
The DOT does say that:

https://www.transportation.gov/indiv...ection/refunds

The only problem is the DOT has not exactly said how the refund should be handled. That's up to the airline's interpretation.

In short - I agree that OP is entitled to a partial refund. However, the exact amount of refund varies based on how OP proceeds.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 3:17 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
The DOT does say that
Please, can we not do this again?

It's on the very page that you linked:
DOT has not specifically defined what constitutes a “significant delay.”


They also haven't defined what counts as a 'canceled flight,' but based on other DOT precedents, a flight has to be on the schedule to be canceled; a flight that's been removed from the schedule cannot be canceled because it no longer exists.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
The only problem is the DOT has not exactly said how the refund should be handled. That's up to the airline's interpretation.
No, actually, the refund procedures are well-documented. When paid by credit card, UA has 7 days to provide a refund to the original form of payment after a request has been validated.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
However, the exact amount of refund varies based on how OP proceeds.
Sorry, that makes no sense. Either the unused coupons will be refunded or they won't be. If they're refunded, OP will get back the fare allocated to those coupons, plus taxes, fees, and any optional purchases (e.g., pre-paid luggage or Economy Plus). For an involuntary refund, this will be calculated on a half-round-trip basis, but that doesn't necessarily mean that OP would receive half of the original fare. It could be more or less than half, depending upon the fares that were used for each journey.

If the OP accepts a re-routing, no refund is due, even though the re-routed itinerary would have been less expensive at the time of purchase.

There is no way to proceed which would result in a different calculation for the refund.
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Old Jan 9, 21, 3:38 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
The DOT does say that:

https://www.transportation.gov/indiv...ection/refunds

The only problem is the DOT has not exactly said how the refund should be handled. That's up to the airline's interpretation.
....
No, there are other problems
The DOT does not make clear if a schedule change with new flight numbers is a cancellation or not. This is the OPs case. Many have opinions on this but the DOT does not clearly handle this case. UA (and many other airlines) clearly takes the position is is not a cancellation per se. The DOT has not disagreed.
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Old Jan 10, 21, 7:15 am
  #30  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
No, there are other problems
The DOT does not make clear if a schedule change with new flight numbers is a cancellation or not. This is the OPs case. Many have opinions on this but the DOT does not clearly handle this case. UA (and many other airlines) clearly takes the position is is not a cancellation per se. The DOT has not disagreed.
O yee of little faith

The requirement of a refund stems from a 2011 determination that DOT's Title 49 authority to penalize "unfair & deceptive" conduct covers the conduct. The two Notices issued by DOT in March and April 2020 were merely reminders to air carriers of the existence of the rule. Key here is the discussion of the specific circumstances under discussion, e.g. an offer of a rerouting.

I do know that at least the larger US card issuers are sustaining chargebacks in short order for this. That tends to cut off litigation because there are few who will sue when they have an easy remedy through their card issuer.

Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections, 76 Fed. Reg. 23110-01, at 23129 (Apr. 25, 2011) (“We reject . . . assertions that carriers are not required to refund a passenger's fare when a flight is cancelled if the carrier can accommodate the passenger with other transportation options after the cancellation. We find it to be manifestly unfair for a carrier to fail to provide the transportation contracted for and then to refuse to provide a refund if the passenger finds the offered rerouting unacceptable (e.g., greatly delayed or otherwise inconvenient) and he or she no longer wishes to travel.”)
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