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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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Last edit by: seawolf
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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 Uniteds 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 Apr 14, 21, 6:47 pm
  #106  
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Originally Posted by whitesock View Post
...
Edit: I poked around some more, and it looks like this is because the EWR-XXX flight got cancelled and the next one is a few hours later. The long layover is worth it to me, so I will simply say so when I call.
Yes this was likely the cause and there should be no issue in getting back to your original flight. But as mentioned schedules more then 6-8 weeks out are still a bit iffy -- so check back atleast the last weekend of each month.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 7:06 pm
  #107  
 
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Well I called and the agent could not get me back on the flight. I also was unable to see it as an option to change to. But it still appears in UA's system to book. It's Flight 1414 on 6/9 ANC-EWR (arrives 6/10). Seems strange, but possible, that I would have been moved off of it because it's cancelled but it remains in the system to book. Maybe that's a 24 hour thing. Really disappointing, I was looking forward to a lie flat seat leaving Alaska.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 7:18 pm
  #108  
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Originally Posted by whitesock View Post
Well I called and the agent could not get me back on the flight. I also was unable to see it as an option to change to. But it still appears in UA's system to book. It's Flight 1414 on 6/9 ANC-EWR (arrives 6/10). Seems strange, but possible, that I would have been moved off of it because it's cancelled but it remains in the system to book. Maybe that's a 24 hour thing. Really disappointing, I was looking forward to a lie flat seat leaving Alaska.
there is a major UA June schedule update running tonight. It has messed up things pretty badly on my end as well. Best to wait till tomorrow to see the carnage.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 7:19 pm
  #109  
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Originally Posted by whitesock View Post
Well I called and the agent could not get me back on the flight. I also was unable to see it as an option to change to. But it still appears in UA's system to book. It's Flight 1414 on 6/9 ANC-EWR (arrives 6/10). Seems strange, but possible, that I would have been moved off of it because it's cancelled but it remains in the system to book. Maybe that's a 24 hour thing. Really disappointing, I was looking forward to a lie flat seat leaving Alaska.
I would try again, it shows with plenty of inventory, even P2.
If denied again, ask the agent to give you a reason as inventory exists.
I would consider escalating to a supervisor if the explanation does not make sense.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 7:22 pm
  #110  
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Originally Posted by whitesock View Post
Edit: I poked around some more, and it looks like this is because the EWR-XXX flight got cancelled and the next one is a few hours later. The long layover is worth it to me, so I will simply say so when I call.
Assuming that 'long' is more than four hours, the layover makes the transfer in EWR a stopover, which is why you're having a hard time getting it booked. I suspect that it's no longer a valid transfer point on a through fare to your destination, as UA doesn't allow stopovers on most domestic fares.

It's theoretically possible to stay on it, but it's going to take an agent willing to override what the computer is doing and force it through.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 7:28 pm
  #111  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Assuming that 'long' is more than four hours, the layover makes the transfer in EWR a stopover, which is why you're having a hard time getting it booked. I suspect that it's no longer a valid transfer point on a through fare to your destination, as UA doesn't allow stopovers on most domestic fares.

It's theoretically possible to stay on it, but it's going to take an agent willing to override what the computer is doing and force it through.
Agents have overrides this before if UA caused schedule change, but may take an supervisor.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 7:34 pm
  #112  
 
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Thank you all for your help, I have never flown lie flat before so I certainly don't want to get bumped from it if it is still operating! I'll wait for tomorrow given the schedule update that was referenced.

Some more details that may end up being helpful - the flight I had booked was ANC-EWR-DCA. The EWR-DCA leg had been in the mid-morning; however, I now see it's gone and the only possible EWR-DCA connection for me is at 2:00 PM (ANC-EWR arrives at 7:40 AM). So, it could be stopover issue and the system re-routed me after my connection was cancelled into DCA. But, I also searched for ANC-EWR-IAD (which I would happily do) and that also did not show up, despite an 8:20 EWR-IAD flight. Would UA prevent me from booking a 40 minute connection time? Last but not least, I searched for just ANC-EWR, since I would just hop on Amtrak to DC if it meant I could keep my lie-flat, and that route DID appear - with an upcharge. I'll try to get a supervisor first but worst comes to worst, that would still be worth it to me.

Edit: Now I see this 8:20 EWR-IAD flight has no open seats in First. Would that prevent the route from being shown as available to me? I would again happily take an Economy Plus seat on that leg if I got to fly the ANC-EWR.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 8:05 pm
  #113  
 
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
there is a major UA June schedule update running tonight. It has messed up things pretty badly on my end as well. Best to wait till tomorrow to see the carnage.
Running a schedule change on a Wednesday instead of a weekend is interesting, but they certainly are doing just that.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 8:10 pm
  #114  
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Originally Posted by whitesock View Post
....
Some more details that may end up being helpful - the flight I had booked was ANC-EWR-DCA. The EWR-DCA leg had been in the mid-morning; however, I now see it's gone and the only possible EWR-DCA connection for me is at 2:00 PM (ANC-EWR arrives at 7:40 AM). So, it could be stopover issue and the system re-routed me after my connection was cancelled into DCA. But, I also searched for ANC-EWR-IAD (which I would happily do) and that also did not show up, despite an 8:20 EWR-IAD flight. Would UA prevent me from booking a 40 minute connection time? Last but not least, I searched for just ANC-EWR, since I would just hop on Amtrak to DC if it meant I could keep my lie-flat, and that route DID appear - with an upcharge. I'll try to get a supervisor first but worst comes to worst, that would still be worth it to me.....
An obscure exception to the stopover rule is the desired flight is the first valid connection -- would suspect newer agents may not have been trained on this and it is not generally offered online.

Originally Posted by whitesock View Post
.... Edit: Now I see this 8:20 EWR-IAD flight has no open seats in First. Would that prevent the route from being shown as available to me? ....
It should show but "should" does not mean it always will.

Originally Posted by ty97 View Post
Running a schedule change on a Wednesday instead of a weekend is interesting, but they certainly are doing just that.
UA did a mid-week schedule tweak last week also, definitively a change of behavior. Unclear why.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 8:27 pm
  #115  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
An obscure exception to the stopover rule is the desired flight is the first valid connection -- would suspect newer agents may not have been trained on this and it is not generally offered online.

It should show but "should" does not mean it always will.

UA did a mid-week schedule tweak last week also, definitively a change of behavior. Unclear why.
Turns out my first agent was just kind of clueless. Second agent was far more helpful. Spotted the issue right away and got me on the flight through IAD instead to save me 6 hours. No problems at all. I guess the lesson is if at first you don't succeed (when calling), just try again.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 8:35 pm
  #116  
 
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Originally Posted by whitesock View Post
I guess the lesson is if at first you don't succeed (when calling), just try again.
Around these parts, we call that HUCA (Hang Up & Call Again)
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Old Apr 14, 21, 8:42 pm
  #117  
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Originally Posted by whitesock View Post
Turns out my first agent was just kind of clueless. Second agent was far more helpful. Spotted the issue right away and got me on the flight through IAD instead to save me 6 hours. No problems at all. I guess the lesson is if at first you don't succeed (when calling), just try again.
Congrats on recovering the flight, let's hope it stays in this era of schedule changes

Agent quality does vary a bit , but the stopover rule is probably not one newer agents deal with. Additionally the schedule change rule allows for change of airports (within 100 miles which IAD/DCA easily qualifies)
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Old Apr 14, 21, 8:52 pm
  #118  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post

UA did a mid-week schedule tweak last week also, definitively a change of behavior. Unclear why.
Based on the loads I saw last week and Monday, it seemed that demand was suddenly surging; would be nice if the schedule tweaking was to get more aircraft back in service.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 9:22 pm
  #119  
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Originally Posted by MojaveFlyer View Post
Based on the loads I saw last week and Monday, it seemed that demand was suddenly surging; would be nice if the schedule tweaking was to get more aircraft back in service.
There was a surge thru Easter, but the recent 7-day period is a slight pull back (4% based on TSA data). However, UA has the advantage as it has forward looking data and has stated "19. In March 2021, the Company observed a forward acceleration in customer demand for travel and new booking".
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Old Apr 14, 21, 9:28 pm
  #120  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
An obscure exception to the stopover rule is the desired flight is the first valid connection -- would suspect newer agents may not have been trained on this and it is not generally offered online.
It used to price properly online and stopped a couple of years back. It's questionable whether this exception would even apply due to the fact that they had a flight to IAD -- but as you pointed out, a good agent (or a supervisor, but I'd try a few agents before escalating) should be able to override the pricing and put the passenger on any reasonable set of flights when a schedule change occurs.

Happily it seems to have worked out for the OP.
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