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UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki)

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki)

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Old Nov 10, 19, 3:29 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: raehl311
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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
  • 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 Members and Silvers - the fee is waived for Golds and up (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.
  • 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 GPU-upgraded flight into J/F on the new flight: A
  • Change from a CPU-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R space on the new flight: N*
  • Change from an instrument-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R 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
Standby
For fare classes other than Basic Economy (N class) you may stand by if seats are not available in the purchased fare class. 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?
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
original posting by mgcsinc, initiated by jackal

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 Oct 18, 19, 12:17 pm
  #1561  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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Originally Posted by GoSh4rks View Post
2. Could I check a bag in MAD and sdc via the app for ewr-sfo, since I could pick up the bag at ewr and not do the bag drop..?
Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
2. No, you cannot SDC with a checked bag.
Wait, what?

United says: "if you checked baggage on your original flight, you will need to complete any changes at least 60 minutes before your new flight’s departure to allow time for us to move your baggage to the new flight." https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ay-change.html

The wiki for this thread says:

""
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
""
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Old Oct 18, 19, 12:51 pm
  #1562  
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
Wait, what?

United says: "if you checked baggage on your original flight, you will need to complete any changes at least 60 minutes before your new flight’s departure to allow time for us to move your baggage to the new flight." https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ay-change.html

...
Correct but with a checked bag, SDC can only be done via an agent -- no app or online options will be offered. And the OP specifically mentioned using the app.
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Old Oct 18, 19, 5:32 pm
  #1563  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Booked one stop flight, can I standby on non-stop to same final destination?

Can I do so having a checked bag? And do my chances change if it’s award travel?
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Old Oct 18, 19, 6:32 pm
  #1564  
 
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No, you’d need to SDC to change routing, the fare class would need to be available, and you’d want to do it prior to checking bags
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Old Oct 18, 19, 6:44 pm
  #1565  
 
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Standby travel does not allow routing changes, and SDC does not allow changes from connection to non-stop.

"Same-Day Confirmed changes from connection to nonstop flights are not permitted "
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Old Oct 18, 19, 6:44 pm
  #1566  
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Originally Posted by acousticbiker View Post
Can I do so having a checked bag? And do my chances change if it’s award travel?
Just follow the rules posted on the website, pay the fee, and it's yours (if the fare basis is available). Note that this is an actual change. For standby, you can't change the routing. All covered on the website.

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ay-change.html
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Old Oct 18, 19, 6:47 pm
  #1567  
 
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
Standby travel does not allow routing changes, and SDC does not allow changes from connection to non-stop.

"Same-Day Confirmed changes from connection to nonstop flights are not permitted "
Might help to include where that's a quote from. (Hint: it's on Delta.com, so probably not all that relevant to this thread)

The equivalent quote from the United.com website Often1 mentioned is :

"Yes, when a change can be confirmed, provided the new routing is permitted by the fare and no changes to the origin or destination airports. You may not, however, change routing when standing by."

As for the bag question, "If you checked baggage on your original flight, you will need to complete any changes at least 60 minutes before your new flight’s departure to allow time for us to move your baggage to the new flight."
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Old Oct 18, 19, 6:50 pm
  #1568  
 
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Might help to include where that's a quote from. (Hint: it's on Delta.com, so probably not all that relevant to this thread)

The equivalent quote from the United.com website Often1 mentioned is :

"Yes, when a change can be confirmed, provided the new routing is permitted by the fare and no changes to the origin or destination airports. You may not, however, change routing when standing by."

As for the bag question, "If you checked baggage on your original flight, you will need to complete any changes at least 60 minutes before your new flight’s departure to allow time for us to move your baggage to the new flight."
Oops, sorry. Wasn't paying close enough attention to which forum I was on (thought this was DL)
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Old Oct 18, 19, 7:13 pm
  #1569  
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Also depends on if your fare construction allows it.
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Old Oct 18, 19, 7:27 pm
  #1570  
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If United revises your itinerary in a substantial way (i.e. schedule change of over an hour, cancelling a leg of the flight, issuing a travel advisory due to weather) you can generally call in and get UA to make a free change to your itinerary including pushing you on a non-stop flight if available. At that point all that matters is availability in the cabin you're originally ticketed in (i.e. either Economy, Premium Economy, BusinessFirst (passengers last) or Polaris).

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Oct 19, 19, 3:02 am
  #1571  
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If I want to buy a FC saver award (eg 25K OW) but the only one that UA offers has a horrible routing and duration, is one strategy to buy that and then SDC?

Can a non elite get free SDC on an award ticket purchased from a 1K’s account?
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Old Oct 19, 19, 3:21 am
  #1572  
 
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Originally Posted by mnredfox View Post
If I want to buy a FC saver award (eg 25K OW) but the only one that UA offers has a horrible routing and duration, is one strategy to buy that and then SDC?

Can a non elite get free SDC on an award ticket purchased from a 1K’s account?
1K can cancel/rebook award tickets without any charge. So, when XN bucket for a better route/time opens up at the last minutes (or the last few days before trip; typically check in the early morning), you ask your friend to change the ticket. Otherwise, you have to change the trip date or stick with the original ticket.
good luck!
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Old Oct 19, 19, 12:35 pm
  #1573  
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
1K can cancel/rebook award tickets without any charge. So, when XN bucket for a better route/time opens up at the last minutes (or the last few days before trip; typically check in the early morning), you ask your friend to change the ticket. Otherwise, you have to change the trip date or stick with the original ticket.
good luck!
For domestic first, it would be IN, not XN, but otherwise this is spot on.

OP: It’s not really a viable strategy, no, because the likelihood of UA ever opening up saver award space on the flight you want is generally pretty small. If you were thinking that you’d be able to SDC into any open seat — that’s incorrect. You’d need availability in the Saver Award fare class.
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Old Oct 21, 19, 3:45 pm
  #1574  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Just follow the rules posted on the website, pay the fee, and it's yours (if the fare basis is available). Note that this is an actual change. For standby, you can't change the routing. All covered on the website.

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ay-change.html
Since I'm 1K and my question is with regards to an award ticket, I guess there's no difference in doing it this way vs just watching for saver fares opening up. I asked about standby because I vaguely recall that maybe some gate agents would allow a change to a direct
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Old Oct 22, 19, 3:31 pm
  #1575  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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The Mrs and I are booked DEN-SFO-FRA, the DEN-SFO leg in PN (from B) and the SFO-FRA leg in PZ (from R). I just noticed that the nonstop DEN-FRA flight has PZ inventory open, however, that flight does not have a PE cabin (and hence no R inventory at all). Would an SDC to the nonstop still be possible or up to the phone agent on the 1K line?

Thanks!
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