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UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions -Free STBY for all, SDC for all elites

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions -Free STBY for all, SDC for all elites

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Old Sep 27, 22, 1:31 am   -   Wikipost
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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 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:
  • Not available for Basic Economy (N class) tickets
  • 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.
  • Must 016 UA ticket stock
  • Award tickets are eligible, but an award change may be a better option (not restricted to 24 hours)
  • 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 a 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 non-Premiers Only premier members as of 1 Jan 2021
  • No fee for Premier (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. The practice of fare leveling all fares for all flights at a specific time appears no longer in effective
  • 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)
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours after the original flight, if the original flight has been delayed: Y (at least in the app)
  • 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 potentially dire consequences)
  • Change from an upgraded flight into Y on the new flight: Y
  • Change from a PointsPlus-upgraded flight into J/F on the new flight: A
  • Change from a CPU-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available PZ space on the new flight: N*
  • Change from an instrument-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available PZ 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: A - 60 minutes prior to both flights required
  • Change at layover airport when a bag has been checked: A - 60 minutes prior to both flights required
  • Change a bulk fare: A*
  • Stand-By to later flight, then SDC after original flight departs to flight within 24-hours of new Stand-By flight: Y

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

The practice of fare leveling all fares for all flights at a specific time appears no longer in effective -- it does happen in some case but appears to be more variable

Standby
For fare classes other than Basic Economy (N class) you may standby if seats are not available in the purchased fare class. There is no longer a fee for Standby. 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?
Yes 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.

Standby Nuances and Loose Rules

All nuances assume request is made within 24 hours of scheduled departure to a flight within 24 hours of the request.

For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = officially permitted and possible using any method
K = Perhaps not officially permitted, but kiosk will allow.
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.
  • To a flight the previous calendar day: A*/N*
  • To a flight after your ticketed flight, on the same calendar day: Y
  • To a flight the following calendar day: N*
  • Request Standby at an airport other than departure airport: ?
  • Make request calendar day before scheduled flight to flight same day as scheduled departure: K

Mileage Credit after SDC
SDC is considered a voluntary change, so your credited PQM & PQS will be credited based on the route you actually fly. Your PQDs should not change and therefore for your RDMs will not change. Occasionally if you fly a fewer number of segments, your PQD will credit wrong, but a call to MPSC should correct that.

Previous threads:
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki) {Archive}
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions *now with WikiPost* {pre-2015 Archive}
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Old Jan 18, 20, 4:41 pm
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Vangrovsky View Post
I assume that there will SDC won't apply to flights served only once per day by UA? for exampe: HND-SFO, SFO-DCA. (unless the person is willing to switch from nonstop to connecting flights on the SFO-DCA flight.
Correct
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Old Jan 19, 20, 4:34 pm
  #62  
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I had success with SDC switching to a DCA flight instead of an IAD flight over the phone. The agent didn't seem to have any issue changing it to a different departing airport.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 5:37 pm
  #63  
 
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Originally Posted by CApreppie View Post
I had success with SDC switching to a DCA flight instead of an IAD flight over the phone. The agent didn't seem to have any issue changing it to a different departing airport.
Absolutely happens but many reasons can make it so:
1. A nice agent offering a one-time change;
2. Weather waiver makes things very easy;
3. The flight you're on is overbooked/oversold and the agent is proactive in moving you to your destination quicker while avoiding hassles at the airport.

So many possibilities. But if you are successful is changing airports as part of "SDC" then be thankful, give big praise to the agent that made the change, and maybe play the lottery.

-RM
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Old Jan 20, 20, 3:39 am
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Correct
Thanks!

A nice UA agent combined my two separate UA tickets (one UA int'l paid ticket and one UA domestic award ticket) into one continuous journey in order to check my bag all the way. It wasn't really necessary, since I would have to clear my bag at US immigration/customs and check the bag with UA again.

However, the end result was that I was no longer able to make changes to the original domestic UA award ticket.(from connecting flights to nonstop flight, which opened up before I was about to board the UA int'l flight)
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Old Jan 20, 20, 5:36 am
  #65  
 
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Originally Posted by Vangrovsky View Post
Thanks!

A nice UA agent combined my two separate UA tickets (one UA int'l paid ticket and one UA domestic award ticket) into one continuous journey in order to check my bag all the way. It wasn't really necessary, since I would have to clear my bag at US immigration/customs and check the bag with UA again.

However, the end result was that I was no longer able to make changes to the original domestic UA award ticket.(from connecting flights to nonstop flight, which opened up before I was about to board the UA int'l flight)
With checked bags, any SDC option would be eliminated unless you talk to an agent in airport and you have sufficient time for agent to move bags to the new flight.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 12:50 pm
  #66  
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
So many possibilities. But if you are successful is changing airports as part of "SDC" then be thankful, give big praise to the agent that made the change, and maybe play the lottery.
Yep for sure. I also had an agent willing to confirm me on a flight where there was no open fare class available instead of getting put on the waitlist. The two people on the waitlist made it on the flight but in middle E+ seats while I was able to snag a E+ window at the time. Thank you kind agents.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 1:02 pm
  #67  
 
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From premium plus to economy

If this is covered above...sorry I couldn't find...

Yesterday I was on a premium plus ticket ewr-sfo. I did not receive any sdc change options at all from check-in time to boarding. I was ok with my original time but seemed odd on a holiday Monday where some flight had some decent availability.

My question is does a premium plus fare need the exact premium plus fare code for sdc? Is it possible to sdc into regular economy? If not it really reduces your sdc options...
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Old Jan 21, 20, 1:05 pm
  #68  
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Originally Posted by 1k-all-the-way View Post
My question is does a premium plus fare need the exact premium plus fare code for sdc? Is it possible to sdc into regular economy? If not it really reduces your sdc options...
For the computer, yes. YMMV on what an agent would be willing to do.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 1:09 pm
  #69  
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Originally Posted by 1k-all-the-way View Post
My question is does a premium plus fare need the exact premium plus fare code for sdc?
Yes — just like a business / first / Polaris fare would, and just like an Economy fare would.

In general, if you need to be able to SDC, I would not fly P+, especially on the premium transcontinental routes. (and I’d hesitate to fly in discount J). There’s just too little inventory — there are a lot of flights that don’t have a P+ cabin.

Originally Posted by 1k-all-the-way View Post
Is it possible to sdc into regular economy? If not it really reduces your sdc options...
There are reports that some agents will allow this.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 1:19 pm
  #70  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Yes — just like a business / first / Polaris fare would, and just like an Economy fare would.

In general, if you need to be able to SDC, I would not fly P+, especially on the premium transcontinental routes. (and I’d hesitate to fly in discount J). There’s just too little inventory — there are a lot of flights that don’t have a P+ cabin.


There are reports that some agents will allow this.
I bought an international discounted business class fare that at the time of booking could be booked on connecting flights all-coach UX aircraft, where it mapped to B. Are you saying that this won't necessarily work for an SDC?
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Old Jan 21, 20, 1:38 pm
  #71  
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Originally Posted by yonatan View Post
I bought an international discounted business class fare that at the time of booking could be booked on connecting flights all-coach UX aircraft, where it mapped to B. Are you saying that this won't necessarily work for an SDC?
Actually, that should work quite nicely for SDC — if you’re in B, you should be able to SDC to any other flight that’s in B. If you were in P, it could have been more challenging, because it’s common for them to have zero P inventory during the SDC window.

So, basically, the fact that you booked into a single-class flight means that you essentially got the downgrade for free that otherwise you would have had to request from an accommodating agent.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 2:01 pm
  #72  
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Originally Posted by yonatan View Post
I bought an international discounted business class fare that at the time of booking could be booked on connecting flights all-coach UX aircraft, where it mapped to B. Are you saying that this won't necessarily work for an SDC?
If you're saying "because I could delegate to B at booking, couldn't I go from P to B via SDC?" the answer is no - at least the computer won't do it; an agent might but you would have to call.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 11:48 am
  #73  
 
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I'm having some trouble concerning an SDC on an itinerary in which I've used PlusPoints to get on the waitlist for a flight from AAA-BBB-CCC. I am flying today, and I've been on the bubble (right around #10 on the upgrade list with 10 seats still showing available on the upgrade list), but earlier today business showed up as being booked full, and now I'm #2 on the list. So, I don't think that upgrade is going to go through.

Looking at the Travel Options on the website, it gives me options to switch to AAA-CCC direct, or AAA-DDD-CCC. The AAA-CCC direct has plenty of availability (48 seats, 33 booked, and only 4 people on the waitlist). I'd prefer the connecting DDD-CCC flight, because it's on a polarized 777, but I'm not sure how the upgrades work for that. Premium Plus is booked full (in fact, talking to the UC agent here, he says it's actually overbooked and they've got space to overbook it by 10 because Business is showing 39 booked, an additional 5 seats blocked, and a capacity of 60). Looking at the upgrade list for Business, there are ~25 people on the list, and the agent I spoke with looked through the list of names and their statuses, and he thinks I'd end up being around #13 or so on the upgrade list. So, with 21 seats available, and 12 hours until the flight, my chances would be pretty good. However, he's not able to make the change because of the PlusPoints upgrade, and he suggested I call the 1K line.p

So, I called the 1K line, and immediately the lady I spoke to says there's only 2 upgrade seats available on the DDD-CCC flight because there are 44 seats taken (39 booked plus the 5 blocked) and then there are 14 people checked in (the next line down) for a total of 58 seats out of 60. I try to convince her that the 14 that are checked in are also in the 44 seats that are booked, but she's not willing to listen. [EDIT]And then she says she only sees 1 business seat available to be purchased, even though I just looked, and Expert Mode is showing J9 (and 9s showing all the way down to P9).[/EDIT]

She says she's going to talk to a supervisor and comes back a few minutes later saying that they can switch me to the AAA-DDD-CCC flight as an SDC, and that will be free, but then I will lose my upgrade chances because they can't even put me back on the list because it's within 24 hours of the flight. Or, she says, I can switch to the AAA-CCC direct flight and pay an "add collect" fee of $410 for switching to the direct flight, but because there are upgrade seats available, they can switch me right now and basically confirm my upgrade.

So, a couple questions...

* Didn't the need for requesting upgrades outside of the 24 hour window before the flight get removed once UA switched to PlusPoints? From the website, I see "PlusPoints upgrades can be requested all the way until the cut-off time to check in for your flight." So, wouldn't I be able to switch to either flight and still stay on the upgrade list (or request to be put back on the list if I'm not on it after the switch, even though I'm within 24 hours of the flight?

* Is the $410 "add collect" fee something that the agent sees because I'm removing a segment and flying direct? As I said, AAA-CCC direct is shown on the app, and that would be a free change. Is that just one of those things where the app ignores fare rules?

* If I switch on the app, will the PlusPoints upgrade follow my reservation? Or do I just have to do it and see what happens?

* Is this a case of HUACA?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by mpiotrow; Jan 24, 20 at 11:55 am Reason: Added addition info about fare class availability, and HUACA question
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Old Jan 24, 20, 11:55 am
  #74  
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Originally Posted by mpiotrow View Post
* Didn't the need for requesting upgrades outside of the 24 hour window before the flight get removed once UA switched to PlusPoints? From the website, I see "PlusPoints upgrades can be requested all the way until the cut-off time to check in for your flight." So, wouldn't I be able to switch to either flight and still stay on the upgrade list (or request to be put back on the list if I'm not on it after the switch, even though I'm within 24 hours of the flight?
Ostensibly yes, but this is a recent change and so both agents and computers may not handle it correctly.

Originally Posted by mpiotrow View Post
* Is the $410 "add collect" fee something that the agent sees because I'm removing a segment and flying direct? As I said, AAA-CCC direct is shown on the app, and that would be a free change. Is that just one of those things where the app ignores fare rules?
It depends on the fare rules, but that sounds like a strange amount. I could give a more specific answer with more specific citypairs.

Originally Posted by mpiotrow View Post
* If I switch on the app, will the PlusPoints upgrade follow my reservation? Or do I just have to do it and see what happens?
I don't know. However, with regard to the 3-class flight with an overbooked PE cabin, note that PE -> J op-ups have priority over Y pax with instruments applied.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 12:00 pm
  #75  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
It depends on the fare rules, but that sounds like a strange amount. I could give a more specific answer with more specific citypairs.
The itinerary I'd like is LAX-SFO-SYD, with LAX-SYD being the direct route.
Originally Posted by findark View Post
I don't know. However, with regard to the 3-class flight with an overbooked PE cabin, note that PE -> J op-ups have priority over Y pax with instruments applied.
The UC agent I spoke to said that I should see if I could put in for the upgrade to PE, and then see if they might op-up me from PE->J. I asked if they'd still be doing upgrades to PE and he said yes, because they're still selling PE seats.

I guess it's just sounding like an unsure thing for the SFO-SYD flight, and I should probably just do LAX-SYD direct...
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