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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
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
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 Sep 2, 22, 10:21 am
  #961  
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Originally Posted by PHXonUA View Post
... Or they can't get onto any form of Standby list to be cleared because the XN bucket isn't open? .....
Yes, Standby does not require fare class inventory, just avaialable seats.

SDC or standard award change (no change fee) would required XN/X space -- that may open close to the flight date
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Old Sep 2, 22, 12:10 pm
  #962  
 
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I have a trip tomorrow XXX-YYY-ZZZ. YYY-ZZZ is sold out, and XXX-YYY has other flights available in my fare class. No SDC option is available during OLCI.
Does YYY-ZZZ also need to have the same fare class available, even if I'm only changing XXX-YYY?
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Old Sep 2, 22, 2:45 pm
  #963  
 
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Originally Posted by blug View Post
I have a trip tomorrow XXX-YYY-ZZZ. YYY-ZZZ is sold out, and XXX-YYY has other flights available in my fare class. No SDC option is available during OLCI.
Does YYY-ZZZ also need to have the same fare class available, even if I'm only changing XXX-YYY?
Yes, the entire trip needs the fare available unless there is a long layover to make it two trips.
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Old Sep 3, 22, 9:06 am
  #964  
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
Yes, the entire trip needs the fare available unless there is a long layover to make it two trips.
Wow...I am running into this now and I didn't think it worked like this before for SDC (I have only flown one round trip since March 2020). I have A-B-C-D and want to change to A-C-D. A-C has XN but C-D does not. So, I guess no hope? Thanks.

***

You know, come to think of it, maybe it has always worked this way since I had something like this before. In both cases, the agent was able to do the magic for me.

Last edited by username; Sep 3, 22 at 2:31 pm
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Old Sep 3, 22, 4:20 pm
  #965  
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Originally Posted by username View Post
Wow...I am running into this now and I didn't think it worked like this before for SDC (I have only flown one round trip since March 2020). I have A-B-C-D and want to change to A-C-D. A-C has XN but C-D does not. So, I guess no hope? Thanks.

***

You know, come to think of it, maybe it has always worked this way since I had something like this before. In both cases, the agent was able to do the magic for me.
It’s always worked like this. If you fly before your outbound, you need availability in your fare class on all legs.
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Old Sep 10, 22, 9:21 am
  #966  
 
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Just when I thought I had this figured out I get thrown a curve ball again. In the past two weeks I've seen the following behavior:

DCA-ORD-xxx. CPU'd ORD-xxx in advance but #2 on DCA-ORD. All SDC confirmed options offered me connections with the first leg in "S" and the second in "PZ". Only flights with PZ would show as confirmable if the second leg had PZ open.

xxx-IAD (return of above ticket). CPU'd at the four day mark. SDC would only show me "Q" flights to confirm, my orig class.

So here I thought I was being smart and flights with connections confirmed into PZ if available but non-stops wouldn't. Then queue tonight for my flight tomrw

IAD-yyy - CPU'd at T-24h. SDC offers no confirmable flights but offers me every non-stop and connecting flight as a 'free standby' in PZ only. There are two other flights with my fare class (T) open. So a non-stop CPU'd in advance and different behavior from a week ago.

I might just give up trying to figure out this system. It isn't working as intended, that's for sure. I know I can call the 1K line and ask them to move me but as it turns out I'm dumping that ticket completely and flying elsewhere so no longer needed. And it's definitely nice when PZ is what the system is looking for and is available but that's very rare within 24 hours.

-RM

PS - orig posted this in the CPU thread by accident.
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Old Sep 20, 22, 2:46 pm
  #967  
 
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Has anyone has experience standing by on previous calendar day (as system allows during OLCI) for international flights? Looking at LHR-EWR specifically. Have seen previous calendar day done before on domestic flights, but wondering if it would work also for international. Of course, can same-day-change but not sure if any K fares will appear T-24.
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Old Sep 20, 22, 4:01 pm
  #968  
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Originally Posted by paine445 View Post
Has anyone has experience standing by on previous calendar day (as system allows during OLCI) for international flights? Looking at LHR-EWR specifically. Have seen previous calendar day done before on domestic flights, but wondering if it would work also for international. Of course, can same-day-change but not sure if any K fares will appear T-24.
UA specifically allows standby as long as the scheduled flight is within 24hrs. Look here near the bottom in the FAQ section under "Can I change my flight to a day before or a day after?:
Yes. If you want to change your ticket at no cost, it must fall within the rules of the same-day confirmation policy and the new flight must depart within 24 hours of your original scheduled departure (earlier or later).
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Old Sep 20, 22, 4:07 pm
  #969  
 
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
UA specifically allows standby as long as the scheduled flight is within 24hrs. Look here near the bottom in the FAQ section under "Can I change my flight to a day before or a day after?:
Thank you! Just wasn't sure if it was the same case for international. Glad to see it is! Cheers

Last edited by priobagtag; Sep 20, 22 at 4:07 pm Reason: add quote
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Old Sep 20, 22, 4:16 pm
  #970  
 
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Originally Posted by paine445 View Post
Thank you! Just wasn't sure if it was the same case for international. Glad to see it is! Cheers
Unlike DL, UA doesn't discriminate between domestic and international flights for SDC/SDS. However, all flights must be UA operated for standby to work.

-RM
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Old Sep 22, 22, 10:33 am
  #971  
 
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Tried to same-day change LAS-DEN-ORD confirmed in C bucket to LAS-ORD (inventory J1 C1) but app wouldn’t do it. Called 1K and UA wants $800K to do it. Is there an additional rule (new?) beyond wiki: “No fare difference is charged so long as there is availability on all of the new segments in the originally ticketed fare class”?
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Old Sep 22, 22, 10:55 am
  #972  
 
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Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B View Post
Tried to same-day change LAS-DEN-ORD confirmed in C bucket to LAS-ORD (inventory J1 C1) but app wouldn’t do it.
You sure it was actually bookable C inventory and not phantom or married-segment inventory?
With they dynamic pricing pilot there are many reports of people seeing phantom inventory with expert mode search.
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Old Sep 22, 22, 11:07 am
  #973  
 
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Originally Posted by JALsnipe View Post
You sure it was actually bookable C inventory and not phantom or married-segment inventory?
With they dynamic pricing pilot there are many reports of people seeing phantom inventory with expert mode search.
Meaning what shows as C1 in expert mode may actually be down to just J1 hence the $800 price tag? I don’t have the skills to detect phantom inventory. The inventory computer must know better than the same-day app feature. :-)
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Old Sep 22, 22, 11:10 am
  #974  
 
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Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B View Post
Meaning what shows as C1 in expert mode may actually be down to just J1 hence the $800 price tag? I don’t have the skills to detect phantom inventory. The inventory computer must know better than the same-day app feature. :-)
Yeah, expert mode isn't enough anymore
You need to do a new dummy booking on united.com and verify the ticket actually books into C (shows C under the earnings/details dropdown), or use a tool like Expert Flyer to verify that a C fare is actually available.
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Last edited by JALsnipe; Sep 22, 22 at 12:16 pm Reason: Edited incorrect info
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Old Sep 22, 22, 11:11 am
  #975  
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Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B View Post
Tried to same-day change LAS-DEN-ORD confirmed in C bucket to LAS-ORD (inventory J1 C1) but app wouldn’t do it. Called 1K and UA wants $800K to do it. Is there an additional rule (new?) beyond wiki: “No fare difference is charged so long as there is availability on all of the new segments in the originally ticketed fare class”?
Could it be that the fare doesn’t allow the non-stop? Per United, you can only change routing -

only if the fare allows for the new routing
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