Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

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

    Hide Wikipost
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
Wiki Link
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}
Print Wikipost

Old Sep 23, 22, 10:19 am
  #991  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: sfo
Programs: U/A premier 1K. UA 1MM, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 262
Hello, I have read the SDC rules in this forum and on the UA website. I am confused. Can I make a no cost SDC on current intinerary SFO-ORD-CRW to SFO-DEN-ORD-CRW. both first flites would be within 24 hrs of each other. Do all flites have to be in same fare class?
gallen5555 is offline  
Old Sep 23, 22, 10:24 am
  #992  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,834
Originally Posted by gallen5555 View Post
Hello, I have read the SDC rules in this forum and on the UA website. I am confused. Can I make a no cost SDC on current intinerary SFO-ORD-CRW to SFO-DEN-ORD-CRW. both first flites would be within 24 hrs of each other. Do all flites have to be in same fare class?
You won't be able to do this on the app. You may be able to do this with an agent, although it's probably going to have to "make sense" -- i.e., you'll need to be able to give the agent a reason that you want to add an extra stop. Technically, this routing probably isn't allowed by your fare, as UA has gone to great lengths over the last few years to limit the number of multi-transfer flights they offer.

Yes, you'll need availability in your fare class from origin to destination in order to SDC.
jsloan is online now  
Old Sep 23, 22, 10:44 am
  #993  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: OSH
Programs: SWRR, HH, SM, TSA Pre
Posts: 492
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If the earlier flight is delayed, you would be able to change to it if a seat is available in your fare class and if you find an agent who's in a good mood.

Flying standby with a checked bag is extremely difficult, as most agents will flat-out refuse. There's no realistic way to tag a bag as standby after check-in, and there wouldn't be time to re-tag the bag. The funny thing is, SOP is for them to put the bag onto the next departing flight anyway. They'd rather have the bag early at your destination than sitting around the baggage room at ORD. If you manage to get someone to do it, you will probably need to sign a baggage waiver and disclaim delivery -- you'll need to go back to the airport to get the bag yourself.

If you want to try this, consider traveling with only a carry-on. If you need more luggage than that, ask yourself if FedEx or UPS might be worth it, considering that you'll be saving the checked baggage fee.

Note that none of this will work if you booked their discount Basic Economy ticket, which doesn't allow carry-on bags or changes.
Can't do carryon only, travelling for work and need the equipment in the checked bag, for the same reason I can't come back to MCO to get the bag. I have to start at 0700 the next morning. Will the UA app show me if my bag makes the earlier flight? Then it might be worth my while to change? Otherwise I guess it's 3+ hours in the UC and I don't get to fly on the 777.
EAJuggalo is offline  
Old Sep 23, 22, 10:45 am
  #994  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: sfo
Programs: U/A premier 1K. UA 1MM, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 262
Hi jsloan, thank you for the great info and fast response. it helps alot. it looks like better chance of getting upgraded using plus points going thru den and they have a great centurion lounge, ORD has none. lol

original post: Hello, I have read the SDC rules in this forum and on the UA website. I am confused. Can I make a no cost SDC on current itinerary SFO-ORD-CRW to SFO-DEN-ORD-CRW. both first flites would be within 24 hrs of each other. Do all flites have to be in same fare class?
jsloan likes this.
gallen5555 is offline  
Old Sep 23, 22, 11:05 am
  #995  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,834
Originally Posted by EAJuggalo View Post
Can't do carryon only, travelling for work and need the equipment in the checked bag, for the same reason I can't come back to MCO to get the bag. I have to start at 0700 the next morning. Will the UA app show me if my bag makes the earlier flight? Then it might be worth my while to change? Otherwise I guess it's 3+ hours in the UC and I don't get to fly on the 777.
You should be able to see that in the app, in theory, but it's not going to help you unless there's a substantial delay. If your bag makes it onto that flight, which I think is iffy at best for a 25-minute transfer, it likely wouldn't happen until after the boarding door is closed.
jsloan is online now  
Old Sep 26, 22, 7:12 pm
  #996  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: NYC
Programs: AA 2MM, Bonvoy LTT
Posts: 13,953
Wiki mentions the following:
  • 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 not longer in effective -- it does happen in some case but appears to be more variable
Are they referring to fare buckets and if so, are they essential saying opposite things?
seawolf is offline  
Old Sep 26, 22, 7:59 pm
  #997  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,834
Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
Wiki mentions the following:
  • 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 not longer in effective -- it does happen in some case but appears to be more variable
Are they referring to fare buckets and if so, are they essential saying opposite things?
Yes. The second bullet point is correct. The first bullet point has not been accurate in several years. (Then again, most planes these days are 'very full," so it may be a matter of semantics. But, as a practical point, you should not expect fare bucket leveling to occur as it did a decade ago.
seawolf likes this.
jsloan is online now  
Old Sep 29, 22, 8:22 am
  #998  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Programs: UA Silver, AA Platinum, ANA Platinum
Posts: 2
Stand-by to get a layover >4 hours

I see in the wiki that it is unlikely to get a SDC when changing a 1-stop itinerary into one with an illegal layover longer than 4 hours at the beginning of the trip, without an accomodating agent. I'm wondering if its possible to instead stand-by and create an "otherwise illegal layover" onto an earlier flight for the first leg, but maintain the second one?

For example, my current itinerary is:
IAH - DCA 2:44 PM to 6:53 PM
IAD - EWR 10:35 PM - 11:49 PM

I would like to get to DC as early as possible that day, while keeping that 10:35 PM IAD - EWR, and avoiding a fare break. I'm also considering booking an itinerary with my desired IAH - WAS leg, and attempting a SDC when I'm at my connecting point to move the 2nd leg to the 10:35 PM slot, but I'd prefer the stand-by strategy if possible. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by BBQman98; Sep 29, 22 at 8:39 am Reason: added a title
BBQman98 is online now  
Old Sep 29, 22, 9:30 am
  #999  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,834
Originally Posted by BBQman98 View Post
I see in the wiki that it is unlikely to get a SDC when changing a 1-stop itinerary into one with an illegal layover longer than 4 hours at the beginning of the trip, without an accomodating agent. I'm wondering if its possible to instead stand-by and create an "otherwise illegal layover" onto an earlier flight for the first leg, but maintain the second one?
Yes; assuming there's an available seat on IAH-DCA, you will be eligible for it as a standby passenger, and clearing will not affect your IAD-EWR leg.
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread