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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 Dec 3, 22, 4:05 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 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 be issued on UA ticket stock (ticket number begins with 016)
  • 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 to no longer be in effect.
  • 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 all 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 up to 24 hours of original departure on the day of departure at an airport kiosk or with a United representative at the airport or UA app. 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: Can now request Standby via app 24 hours in advance
  • 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 Aug 16, 22, 3:09 pm
  #901  
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
..
Not true. I have been standing by on flights the day before travel (but still within 24 hours of travel) for years. Do need to be at the airport. (I think semi-recently the app may have started to list the option but still need to be at the airport to clear the list.) ...
There is a huge difference between policy and practice, Until recently it was explicitly stated as same day but a few have been successful and gotten the day before -- but it was not policy and dependent on the agent, very YMMV. And having to be at the airport requires a flyer with lots of flexibility (and no checked bags). So not a real option for many.
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Old Aug 16, 22, 3:12 pm
  #902  
 
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post

You can't standby or SDC on anything with subsequent partner travel. (Exception: I think you can if you're on the outbound and there's only partner travel on the return.)

You can arrive at the airport the day before and ask to standby (within 24 hours of your scheduled departure), but if you don't clear the flight expect your bag to still travel without you and wait for you at your final destination. (Definitely don't expect it back before arrival at final destination.)
Aren't these statement in contrast to each other (sorry, not sure I understand). In my scenario, the flights are IAD-LGA (United), JDK-HND-SYD (ANA). Are you saying I could or could not try to standby the IAD-LGA flight the day before? I'm currently on the earliest IAD-LGA flight do of there is, so no need to try standby the day of. Regardless, I want to be 100% certain that United doesn't mess with my ANA flights.
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Old Aug 16, 22, 3:35 pm
  #903  
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Originally Posted by charlesonmission View Post
Aren't these statement in contrast to each other (sorry, not sure I understand). In my scenario, the flights are IAD-LGA (United), JDK-HND-SYD (ANA). Are you saying I could or could not try to standby the IAD-LGA flight the day before? I'm currently on the earliest IAD-LGA flight do of there is, so no need to try standby the day of. Regardless, I want to be 100% certain that United doesn't mess with my ANA flights.
Is the LGA / NYC a "stop" or same day / same ticket as JFK-HND. SDC a on same day/same ticket itin as a single travel "event" and SDC would not be allowed due to ANA flight. But Standby might work.
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Old Aug 16, 22, 3:37 pm
  #904  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Is the LGA / NYC a "stop" or same day / same ticket as JFK-HND. SDC a on same day/same ticket itin as a single travel "event" and SDC would not be allowed due to ANA flight. But Standby might work.
Currently ticketed as 8/22 IAD-LGA, 8/22 JDK-HND, 8/23 (arriving 8/24) HND/SYD. So, it sounds like my plan to stop by the airport before booking the Hyatt Dulles Regency is still worth a shot in case Untied will put me on stand by the day before?
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Old Aug 16, 22, 4:18 pm
  #905  
 
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Originally Posted by charlesonmission View Post
Currently ticketed as 8/22 IAD-LGA, 8/22 JDK-HND, 8/23 (arriving 8/24) HND/SYD. So, it sounds like my plan to stop by the airport before booking the Hyatt Dulles Regency is still worth a shot in case Untied will put me on stand by the day before?
Yes. Your itinerary is not SDC'able because of partner flights. You could go to IAD and ask to fly earlier on IAD-LGA as a standby and leave the rest of the flights in tact.

-RM
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Old Aug 16, 22, 4:20 pm
  #906  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
There is a huge difference between policy and practice, Until recently it was explicitly stated as same day but a few have been successful and gotten the day before -- but it was not policy and dependent on the agent, very YMMV. And having to be at the airport requires a flyer with lots of flexibility (and no checked bags). So not a real option for many.
Standby the day before (but within 24 hours) has always been the policy. Sometimes you had to educate agents about it, or they would be confused by ambiguous text in the full policy, but that's been the policy as long as I can remember.

Not sure what you're saying re: have to be at the airport, that's like, kind of the definition of standby..? I don't think anyone would try and standby the day before their flight unless they.... wanted to fly the day before their flight. Which you need to be at the airport to do.

Originally Posted by charlesonmission View Post
Aren't these statement in contrast to each other (sorry, not sure I understand). In my scenario, the flights are IAD-LGA (United), JDK-HND-SYD (ANA). Are you saying I could or could not try to standby the IAD-LGA flight the day before? I'm currently on the earliest IAD-LGA flight do of there is, so no need to try standby the day of. Regardless, I want to be 100% certain that United doesn't mess with my ANA flights.
I think it comes down to how you're ticketed. You can buy a fare IAD-NYC, then buy another fare NYC-SYD, and the second could happen to depart 15 hours after the first. Or you can buy a IAD-SYD fare that happens to have a 15-hour connection in New York. So if you paid $X IAD-LGA and then $Y JFK-HND/SYD that just happens to be on the same ticket #, I think you're good. If you paid a $Z IAD-SYD fare, not so much. (Basically, can you check in for JUST the IAD-LGA segment? If so, then I think normal SDC applies. If not, then I don't think you'll be able to do anything.)

(Elaborating, if you were flying IAD-LGA 8/21, and JFK-HND 8/23, you could for-sure SDC IAD-LGA, because you can't buy IAD-SYD as one fare with >24 hour connection. But at 8/22 and 8/23, is it because you have the same situation just closer, or because you bought a IAD-SYD fare?)

Last edited by raehl311; Aug 16, 22 at 4:29 pm
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Old Aug 16, 22, 4:25 pm
  #907  
 
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
I think it comes down to how you're ticketed. You can buy a fare IAD-NYC, then buy another fare NYC-SYD, and the second could happen to depart 15 hours after the first. Or you can buy a IAD-SYD fare that happens to have a 15-hour connection in New York. So if you paid $X IAD-LGA and then $Y JFK-HND/SYD that just happens to be on the same ticket #, I think you're good. If you paid a $Z IAD-SYD fare, not so much.
I have a single ticket number that starts with 016. It was 143K miles plus about $20. First Flight is class United Economy (XN), then ANA First (O), then ANA Business (I).

Note - it appears that the United checkin and then the ANA checkin are different, but I guess I won't know fully till 24 hours before. In the app though, they have different travel document sections and I have an ANA reference number as well. Though I did do just 1 purchase transaction, so SDC sounds like it won't be possible. I feel like I need a PHD to understand all of this. Thanks everyone for the help!
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Old Aug 16, 22, 4:57 pm
  #908  
 
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Originally Posted by charlesonmission View Post
I have a single ticket number that starts with 016. It was 143K miles plus about $20. First Flight is class United Economy (XN), then ANA First (O), then ANA Business (I).

Note - it appears that the United checkin and then the ANA checkin are different, but I guess I won't know fully till 24 hours before. In the app though, they have different travel document sections and I have an ANA reference number as well. Though I did do just 1 purchase transaction, so SDC sounds like it won't be possible. I feel like I need a PHD to understand all of this. Thanks everyone for the help!
Think of a normal round-trip ticket. You fly IAD-ORD-MSN on Tuesday, then fly back MSN-ORD-IAD on Friday. You pay one time and get one ticket number, but your ticket cost is actually the sum of a IAD-MSN fare and a MSN-IAD fare. You can SDC/standby the IAD-ORD-MSN completely separately from MSN-ORD-IAD. Even if you decided to book IAD-ORD-MSN-ORD-IAD *ALL* on Tuesday and stay in MSN for just an hour, you would check in for the outbound and the return separately, and you could SDC/standby on the outbound completely independent of the return. Same ticket, one payment.

So the question is, did United sell you a 143k award ticket to SY?D, or did they sell you a 15k award ticket to LGA and a 128k ticket from JFK to SYD?

I'm going to guess that since IAD-LGA has an F cabin, and your fare class is XN, you're fared separately and you should be OK. If you want to test this theory, there's still XN availability 8/21 IAD-LGA, so you can call and ask them to swap that segment. (Risk: There doesn't appear to be any O availability left JFK-HND, so you'd want to be EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA sure they don't mess up that segment in the process. I'm not sure it's worth the risk as if they do mess it up UA may not be able to get the O inventory back from AN)
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Old Aug 16, 22, 6:02 pm
  #909  
 
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
I'm going to guess that since IAD-LGA has an F cabin, and your fare class is XN, you're fared separately and you should be OK. If you want to test this theory, there's still XN availability 8/21 IAD-LGA, so you can call and ask them to swap that segment. (Risk: There doesn't appear to be any O availability left JFK-HND, so you'd want to be EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA sure they don't mess up that segment in the process. I'm not sure it's worth the risk as if they do mess it up UA may not be able to get the O inventory back from AN)
The agent I talked to a couple days said they would have to modify the reservation and rebook to change the IAD to LGA date to the day before, she would have to rebook the ANA segments. She was like, oh there is business class availability. I had to tell her to stop and explain the ANA First Class is different than ANA Business Class. I just want to be 100% certain that whatever I do, no one touches the ANA part.

It sounds like Stand By is safe? SDC is likely not possible. And modifying the reservation in advance isn't possible due being forced to rebook with ANA.
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Old Aug 16, 22, 6:15 pm
  #910  
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
Think of a normal round-trip ticket. You fly IAD-ORD-MSN on Tuesday, then fly back MSN-ORD-IAD on Friday. You pay one time and get one ticket number, but your ticket cost is actually the sum of a IAD-MSN fare and a MSN-IAD fare. You can SDC/standby the IAD-ORD-MSN completely separately from MSN-ORD-IAD. Even if you decided to book IAD-ORD-MSN-ORD-IAD *ALL* on Tuesday and stay in MSN for just an hour, you would check in for the outbound and the return separately, and you could SDC/standby on the outbound completely independent of the return. Same ticket, one payment.
You're focused on fare here, but that's 100% irrelevant. UA's check-in computers do not care how you are fared. They use their own calculation of what constitutes a stopover that is independent of the fare. Specifically, if you're spending the night, for the purposes of check-in (and thus standby/baggage/SDC) UA will treat the transfer point as a stopover whether it is or is not. If you are not, it will treat it as a through trip even if there is a stopover. The only exception would be if you are making a one-day trip and returning to the origin, in which case UA will generally decide that whatever airport you'll be in the longest is your destination for check-in / baggage / SDC purposes. (It may correct detect your destination with an open jaw if you spend at least four hours at the destination; I'm not entirely sure).

This, and lenient routing rules, is how people used to upgrade their mileage runs with 500-mile certificates or a single RPU/GPU.

Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
I'm going to guess that since IAD-LGA has an F cabin, and your fare class is XN, you're fared separately and you should be OK.
I wouldn't make the same guess -- I see mixed cabin awards all the time, and they normally price as through fares with seating on the domestic leg delegated to X/XN because I/IN=0. That's why you can waitlist for I/IN on those awards. And, as I already stated, it's not relevant because the computer isn't going to treat a stop in NYC as a stopover for check-in purposes even if it's fared separately.

That said, there's absolutely no reason that you shouldn't be able to stand by for an earlier UA flight without affecting your downline flights. Clearing onto the earlier flight would not invalidate later legs.

PS: Don't even think about calling UA to change this award unless O > 0. That would be madness; you'd just be asking to spend your trip in UA J instead of NH F.
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Old Aug 18, 22, 4:24 am
  #911  
 
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I have a connecting itinerary in T and only the second leg cleared CPU. For some reason, the SDC page in the app didn't offer any option at all (pretty sure it's been broken a a few weeks if any upgrade has cleared) even though T is available on a few flights. I then purchased day of departure upgrade on the first leg and I was booked into P.

I tried to SDC to a later flight in the evening but the app still shows nothing. Then I tried calling and the agent said I could only change to T and have the upgrade fee refunded, which makes sense per the rules but I was also worried that the upgrade fee is nonrefundable.

So I tried the change flight page myself and several flights under the economy column have +0 fare difference but have V listed under it and +$200-300 under first class column in P class. I clicked on one of the +0 ones but at the checkout page, it said I would book into "United Economy (P)" with no fare difference. Did that and I successfully changed into a non-stop in P (supposedly "United Economy").

If IT is watching this, this is an expected behavior and no code change is needed
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Old Aug 18, 22, 8:20 am
  #912  
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I have seen this before in similar circumstances.. I assume your seat assignment is now in Y though?

Absolutely baffling that this state is possible though.
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Old Aug 18, 22, 8:54 am
  #913  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
I have seen this before in similar circumstances.. I assume your seat assignment is now in Y though?

Absolutely baffling that this state is possible though.
No. I believe leftysauce is in first. "United Economy" is a bad display while "P" will be used to show the first class seat map.

It's also the reason why he says "no code change required" because he was able to SDC to first (I think)

-RM
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Old Aug 18, 22, 9:26 am
  #914  
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Oh, I think I have it backwards. The case I am thinking of was the flight change tool stealthy down-fared the return to United First (Q), which revalidated into Economy because indeed the rbd is what matters.
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Old Aug 18, 22, 10:00 am
  #915  
 
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
No. I believe leftysauce is in first. "United Economy" is a bad display while "P" will be used to show the first class seat map.

It's also the reason why he says "no code change required" because he was able to SDC to first (I think)

-RM
Originally Posted by findark View Post
Oh, I think I have it backwards. The case I am thinking of was the flight change tool stealthy down-fared the return to United First (Q), which revalidated into Economy because indeed the rbd is what matters.
Yep I'm still in first. Both the app and website are very much broken working properly.
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