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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 30, 19, 2:45 am   -   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 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 Nov 2, 19, 9:56 am
  #1591  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: UA Gold, KE Morning Calm
Posts: 772
Update and new question

Reservation 1 - ATL-IAD-BOS on UA metal (originally today - Saturday 230PM). G fare class
Reservation 2 - BOS-SFO-ICN on UA metal (departing tomorrow Sunday 320PM - SFO-ICN is on Monday). G fare class

Original plan was to have dinner with my friend Saturday night in Boston. Now the dinner is canceled, there is no reason to be in Boston on Saturday night.

I successfully SDCed to Sunday 545AM departure ATL-IAD-BOS.
There are other flights at more reasonable departure time. However, it ways UA system says I have to pay for 915AM departure ATL-EWR-BOS or 1000AM departure ATL-IAD-BOS.

Question 1:
Buying a new ticket price is $254 for 915AM departure ATL-EWR-BOS - W class.
SDC fee is $331 for that flight.
So it does not make sense to pay the SDC price.
If I keep checking and get lucky, is there a chance for SDC without fee? Or is SDC fee pretty much set for this flight and there is no chance of change?

Question 2:
Within 24hr of BOS-SFO flight, will UA system allow me to SDC to ATL-SFO nonstop or ATL-IAH/ORD/IAD/DEN-SFO flight? Is this something I have to call UA?

Thanks, in advance.

Last edited by poohhead80; Nov 2, 19 at 10:02 am
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Old Nov 2, 19, 5:38 pm
  #1592  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 118
SDC possible?

If I have a flight leaving Tuesday at 7pm is it possible to SDC to a flight on Monday at 8:15pm or is it only possible to move a flight to a future time?
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Old Nov 2, 19, 5:48 pm
  #1593  
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Originally Posted by Dpetryszyn View Post
If I have a flight leaving Tuesday at 7pm is it possible to SDC to a flight on Monday at 8:15pm or is it only possible to move a flight to a future time?
Yes it is possible but not guaranteed. It will be tight as you will not be able to try until 7 PM on Monday, so yo may need to be at the airport or near by when you try.

Originally Posted by poohhead80 View Post
... Question 1:
Buying a new ticket price is $254 for 915AM departure ATL-EWR-BOS - W class.
SDC fee is $331 for that flight.
So it does not make sense to pay the SDC price.
If I keep checking and get lucky, is there a chance for SDC without fee? Or is SDC fee pretty much set for this flight and there is no chance of change?
....
Sounds like there is a fare differential (G to W) and an SDC fee(?). If your original fare class opens up, you can SDC without a fare differential.

Originally Posted by poohhead80 View Post
...Question 2:
Within 24hr of BOS-SFO flight, will UA system allow me to SDC to ATL-SFO nonstop or ATL-IAH/ORD/IAD/DEN-SFO flight? Is this something I have to call UA? ,,,
You can't SDC across two separate reservations. Not permitted

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 2, 19 at 5:56 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Nov 5, 19, 6:40 pm
  #1594  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Flying Thursday SFO->DEN (2:19PM) then DEN->DRO (7:05PM). I want to change only the second leg to Friday at 11:20AM.

Can I call at 11:20AM Thursday and make the change assuming fare class is available, or will this trigger an issue with a layover being too long? Also, have an RPU applied to SFO->DEN in case that complicates things, but it hasn't cleared.

TIA
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Old Nov 5, 19, 7:02 pm
  #1595  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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Originally Posted by zdog2x View Post
Flying Thursday SFO->DEN (2:19PM) then DEN->DRO (7:05PM). I want to change only the second leg to Friday at 11:20AM. Can I call at 11:20AM Thursday and make the change assuming fare class is available, or will this trigger an issue with a layover being too long?
You can actually call at 10:20 PT, which is 11:20 MT.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 7:12 pm
  #1596  
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Originally Posted by zdog2x View Post
Can I call at 11:20AM Thursday and make the change assuming fare class is available, or will this trigger an issue with a layover being too long? Also, have an RPU applied to SFO->DEN in case that complicates things, but it hasn't cleared.
Generally, an agent will refuse to make this change. Your best bet is to change it after boarding SFO-DEN, assuming you don't have checked luggage. If you have checked luggage, this isn't particularly likely to work, although you could still ask.

Originally Posted by HkCaGu View Post
You can actually call at 10:20 PT, which is 11:20 MT.
Only if the agent is willing to make a pretty substantive break from protocol and introduce a stopover on a domestic fare. There haven't been a lot of reports of success.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 3:51 pm
  #1597  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Generally, an agent will refuse to make this change.
Indeed. Called today and they said they can't do it because it is creating a stopover.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Your best bet is to change it after boarding SFO-DEN, assuming you don't have checked luggage. If you have checked luggage, this isn't particularly likely to work, although you could still ask.
No checked luggage so will give this a shot tomorrow after boarding.

Thanks
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Old Nov 10, 19, 12:22 pm
  #1598  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
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SDC with split-day itinerary?

If I have a one-way itinerary with departures split across two days (eg ORD to LAX on day one, ~12 hour overnight layover in LA, then onward to Tokyo on day two), how does same-day change work?

Pending availability, would the SDC options available at T-24 of the ORD departure include flights leaving for Tokyo on day one. Would it be possible to eliminate the need to overnight?
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Old Nov 10, 19, 2:13 pm
  #1599  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
If I have a one-way itinerary with departures split across two days (eg ORD to LAX on day one, ~12 hour overnight layover in LA, then onward to Tokyo on day two), how does same-day change work?

Pending availability, would the SDC options available at T-24 of the ORD departure include flights leaving for Tokyo on day one. Would it be possible to eliminate the need to overnight?
Is this representative of your booked itinerary and desired change?

booked: 1800 ORD - 2045 LAX // 1030(+1) LAX - 1500(+2) NRT
desired: 1200 ORD - 1640(+1) NRT

If so, and if your booked flights do not have a fare break (i.e. it is fared CHI-TYO), then nominally yes, you can SDC that way. You would be allowed to do so as early as 1800(-1) ORD time.

However, I've stopped anymore trying to predict what the app offers. It might give you that option, but it might not. So it would behoove you to look at your 'take an earlier flight' options, and if you don't see what you want, do a revenue search for ORD-NRT to see if your fare class has inventory (and of course call if so).
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Old Nov 10, 19, 9:30 pm
  #1600  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
You can't SDC across two separate reservations. Not permitted
Worth asking if IRROPS happens, I have gotten them to do this during snowstorm when my delay made getting to the original destination pointless.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 7:21 pm
  #1601  
 
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I have no status with United but on a paid F (P fare class) and might want to do an SDC (IAH-TPA flight). Does the same fare class need to be available? Looks like there will be a $75 charge since I have no status.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 7:27 pm
  #1602  
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Originally Posted by apodo77 View Post
Does the same fare class need to be available? Looks like there will be a $75 charge since I have no status.
Yes to both.
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Old Nov 13, 19, 2:06 pm
  #1603  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
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One reservation, Two people, One with UA Plat - Standby with one connection

Hi, I have a flight booked from BOS-ORD-PHX for this weekend with my friend. The ticket we have is for the evening, I understand I can do SDC within 24 hours if the booking class is available. this was a cheap economy G ticket we booked, so my guess is we wont have the class available for change but I wanted to get my friends here at the forum to see if we can Standby for the same route BOS-ORD-PHX for earlier flights, in that case will the check in counters allow us to standby for both the flights or we have to hop one by one? Thanks
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Old Nov 13, 19, 11:19 pm
  #1604  

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Do we have any new clarity about the ability to SDC via the app/online:

(1) pushing a flight off to the next calendar day (e.g., a LAX-IAD flight at 11pm on day 1, SDCing it via app to LAX-IAD at 5pm on day 2 [assuming this occurred within the 24hour window, i.e., at 7pm on day 1]).

(2) changing routing at a connection point? (e.g., if i book SFO-LAX-IAH, can i change [upon arrival at LAX] to LAX-DEN-IAH [assuming fare class availability and also LAX-IAH routing rules])?
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Old Nov 14, 19, 6:59 pm
  #1605  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
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Originally Posted by CatchFlightsNotFeelings View Post
Do we have any new clarity about the ability to SDC via the app/online:

(1) pushing a flight off to the next calendar day (e.g., a LAX-IAD flight at 11pm on day 1, SDCing it via app to LAX-IAD at 5pm on day 2 [assuming this occurred within the 24hour window, i.e., at 7pm on day 1]).

(2) changing routing at a connection point? (e.g., if i book SFO-LAX-IAH, can i change [upon arrival at LAX] to LAX-DEN-IAH [assuming fare class availability and also LAX-IAH routing rules])?
from my recent experience: #1 has been working fine. #2 - nope! Several folks have reported not seeing any SDC options other than non-stop after arriving at connection.

let me add #3 . If you book economy fare, and then pay for upgrade right after buying your ticket so it is Z or P fare, SDC only shows you originally paid fare class. This is very disappointing as it is a paid upgrade. SDC is not what it used to be!
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