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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 11, 21, 11:34 am
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Ska.tm View Post
I think I am leaning towards the IAH flight, both from an imagined demographic and covid standpoint of who will be getting on the plane in Houston vs Orlando and because both legs will be lie flat in 1st class.

Will have to call back United today
ORD is Chicago O'Hare, not Orlando. Preferable for several reasons.
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Old Jan 11, 21, 11:41 am
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by Ska.tm View Post
I think I am leaning towards the IAH flight, both from an imagined demographic and covid standpoint of who will be getting on the plane in Houston vs Orlando and because both legs will be lie flat in 1st class.

Will have to call back United today
If HNL-IAH-EWR does have both legs in lie flat seats, then I would actually prefer that over HNL-ORD (Chicago, not Orlando)-EWR. Sleep for 5-6 hours on the HNL-IAH flight, then catch another nap on the IAH-EWR flight.
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Old Jan 11, 21, 11:48 am
  #48  
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
ORD is Chicago O'Hare, not Orlando. Preferable for several reasons.

Ha! Sorry, my novice is showing!!
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Old Jan 11, 21, 12:33 pm
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by Ska.tm View Post

Will have to call back United today
Before you call back, check the availability of First Class seats on HNL-ORD and HNL-IAH (I prefer the longer first segment). HNL-ORD may not operate every day. You can make the agent’s job easier with flight information on your hands.
Good luck.
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Old Jan 12, 21, 4:57 pm
  #50  
 
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EWR-HNL this time

Looking at the same set of options for the reverse routing: my non-stop EWR-HNL just got changed to EWR-LAX-HNL. I don't want to do that routing as the second leg is not a lie flat. DEN/SFO both available lie flat all the way through, ORD available with the first flight on a RJ. IAH not flying that day. I would normally opt for the longest flight possible to HNL, but I'm thinking I may opt for SFO as it will give lounge access throughout (and Centurion in SFO).

For those who've flown the longhaul Hawaii flights, anything special to consider? Otherwise, I suppose breaking up the long daytime flights basically in half might not be that bad of an option.
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Old Jan 12, 21, 5:06 pm
  #51  
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Originally Posted by daslax View Post
...but I'm thinking I may opt for SFO as it will give lounge access throughout (and Centurion in SFO)...
Not on arrival/departure in Honolulu, but that's not important.

Current lounge offerings aren't a particularly good reason for choosing one route or another nowadays, but for a daytime flight, why not via SFO...

You'll get a somewhat better meal on EWR-SFO than on either ORD-HNL or SFO-HNL.
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Old Jan 19, 21, 9:40 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by leoo View Post
True and good luck keeping the upgrades.

I booked a trip directly with UA, in Premium Plus (R and B fares), just to have it downgraded to a different itinerary on W.
One domestic segment didn't have PZ and agents refused to keep the upgrade even though it was an involuntary change.

In another thread I was told UA keeps the upgrades in case of involuntary changes but that's not my experience. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.
Any recent experience if confirmed upgrades are being honored upon change due to cancellation of original flight?
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Old Jan 19, 21, 11:26 pm
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by cesco.g View Post
Any recent experience if confirmed upgrades are being honored upon change due to cancellation of original flight?
There are likely several different variations of this response, depending on the exact situation you are in and request you are making, but I'll try my best to summarize below. To be clear, while I'm primarily writing in the context of UA-initiated schedule changes, some or most of my experience is applicable to day-of-travel IRROPS as well.
  • Requesting a rebook onto UA metal within normal schedule change parameters (different UA flight +/- 7 days (IIRC), potentially to different city within X miles): this should be doable under the current schedule change policy, but lately I've experienced alarmingly many 1K agents not knowing the full policy. I don't know the GG code to ask them to reference (does anyone?), but usually a prod along the lines of of "when doing an involuntary rebook due to schedule change in the past, I've usually been able to preserve the upgrade even though PN/PZ is not available on the new flights" has done the trick for me. It usually ends up requiring a trip to the support desk for the agent, though. Of course, YMMV more considerably with more "extreme" requests, such as changing from SFO-HKG to SFO-TPE and terminating at TPE due to cancellation of all UA service to HKG.
  • Requesting a rebook onto UA metal outside of normal schedule change parameters: I've only tried this once and was met with a hard no. I was booked to fly SFO-HKG last December, and tried to get rebooked into PZ on the same route later this year, with all TPAC PZ space zeroed out at the time. The one agent I spoke with said I would need to re-waitlist for PZ. I did not try again--I wasn't super set on going to HKG in 2021 anyways; I just wanted to test out what could and couldn't be done. YMMV with another agent, I guess.
  • Requesting a rebook onto JV/*A partner metal: I've wondered about this but not tried. For example, with my SFO-HKG example above, with enough persistence, I can probably get them to force open PZ on SFO-NRT (or any other logical connecting point en route to HKG), but what about that last NRT-HKG leg on NH? I'd expect the chances of success, no matter how low, to be higher on JV partners than non-JV partners. Even if they would rebook on JV partners for the last leg, I'd expect them to firmly say no to being rebooked on JV partners on the overwater leg, e.g., SFO-NRT in my example.
    • I'd also be concerned about the JV partner itself honoring the upgrade or trying to pull shenanigans on the day of travel. I've seen many a report of LH unilaterally downgrading a rebooked PN/PZ passenger due to UA IRROPS, but unclear if/how schedule change rebooking might be different.
The more data points others have, even pre-Covid, the better, especially on the latter two bullets above! As a former AA EXP, I've found the process of honoring confirmed upgrades in light of a schedule change to be a grayer area and thus more frustrating experience on UA than on AA, but other members' data points would be tremendously helpful.

Mods, if we feel this warrants a thread of its own, feel free to move accordingly.
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Old Jan 20, 21, 8:41 pm
  #54  
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Originally Posted by cesco.g View Post
Had two pure UA flights cancelled, ...
UA canceled and no reasonable alternative? or change of plans?
If voluntary, moving 4 weeks is a bit above UA's policy
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Old Jan 20, 21, 10:23 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by cesco.g View Post
Had two pure UA flights cancelled, both PP-confirmed upgrades, needed to rebook four weeks later from original dates.
Flight 1: agent honors upgrade and all confirmed and email received!
Flight 2/different PNR and new phone call: refused to honor upgrade, only WL - oh well
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
UA canceled and no reasonable alternative? or change of plans?
If voluntary, moving 4 weeks is a bit above UA's policy
Your second call is in line with my experience described in the second bullet point of my post. Asking for a rebook four weeks later due to a schedule change is not really in line with UA's schedule change policy, which is +/- 7 days IIRC, and would therefore be considered a voluntary change. But as you found out, YMMV!
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Old Jan 20, 21, 10:38 pm
  #56  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
UA canceled and no reasonable alternative? or change of plans?
If voluntary, moving 4 weeks is a bit above UA's policy
Originally Posted by dkc192 View Post
Your second call is in line with my experience described in the second bullet point of my post. Asking for a rebook four weeks later due to a schedule change is not really in line with UA's schedule change policy, which is +/- 7 days IIRC, and would therefore be considered a voluntary change. But as you found out, YMMV!
Flight cancelled by UA, e.g. involuntary.
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Old Jan 20, 21, 10:45 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by cesco.g View Post
Flight cancelled by UA, e.g. involuntary.
The key is was there a reasonable reschedule / accommodate (within a week) which then UA would have honored the upgrade most likely -- but a shift for 4 weeks looks more like a opportunistic reschedule (to UA).
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 20, 21 at 11:32 pm
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Old Jan 22, 21, 8:25 am
  #58  
 
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I booked BWI-DEN-BWI and was scheduled changed to BWI-IAH-DEN-IAH-BWI, adding about 3-4 hours of travel in each direction. I called and requested to be put on the IAD-DEN-IAD non-stop flights that depart at almost identical times to my original flights, but was refused by the agent because she said BWI and IAD are not the same "origin". To make the change I'd have to pay the difference in fare (it's roughly 3x more expensive). I usually fly Delta and have always been able to make co-terminal changes in this type of situation. Does United in fact require the exact same airports or did I just get a bad agent?
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Old Jan 22, 21, 8:41 am
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Billy Mumphrey View Post
I booked BWI-DEN-BWI and was scheduled changed to BWI-IAH-DEN-IAH-BWI, adding about 3-4 hours of travel in each direction. I called and requested to be put on the IAD-DEN-IAD non-stop flights that depart at almost identical times to my original flights, but was refused by the agent because she said BWI and IAD are not the same "origin". To make the change I'd have to pay the difference in fare (it's roughly 3x more expensive). I usually fly Delta and have always been able to make co-terminal changes in this type of situation. Does United in fact require the exact same airports or did I just get a bad agent?
Bad agent. HUCA. What you're asking for is entirely reasonable and within policy.
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Old Mar 7, 21, 9:19 pm
  #60  
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A nice favorable change today. The DEN-YVR segment we had booked is no longer operating in September, so we got rerouted via SFO on our return flight from Boston. We booked Business Class, so it's a nice switch from domestic F to p.s. lie-flat.

I may request ORC for BiS, but since we'll both be 1MM by then, it really doesn't matter.
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