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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 Dec 11, 19, 1:49 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 Sep 14, 18, 4:53 pm
  #61  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR, GVA
Programs: UA Gold
Posts: 69
Thanks for all the replies.. It seems like a lot of work just to make it work. I just hate throwing money away and hate wasting a day to do the mileage run too. I have a flight in October from EWR to GVA that I could SDC to get the miles needed to reach 50k. I will just wait until the last moment and hope for some kinda delays...
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Old Sep 14, 18, 11:40 pm
  #62  
 
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I SDCed DEN-IAD to DEN-LAX-IAD. There were two redeye (LAX-IAD) flights that were about 45 min apart. App offered the earlier flight, not the latter. So, I had another SDC after boarded DEN-LAX to get the later flight I wanted.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 6:10 am
  #63  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: UA Gold, KE Morning Calm
Posts: 772
I have a question.
I will fly ICN-SFO (UA892) and SFO-ATL (UA1152 redeye) with 11.5 hour layover in SFO.
I booked this ticket since I was planning to spend some time with my friend in SF. However, he moved to Southern California.

I am hoping to SDC to ICN-SFO-(DEN/IAH)-ATL with 2 hour layover in SFO (taking the original ICN-SFO flight and SDC to SFO-(DEN/IAH)-ATL).
I will check two bags and I am UA Gold. My booking class is S in one PNR number.

1. I will try SDC when I check-in online for my flight. My checked bags might be an issue. Also, I am trying to SDC SFO-(DEN/IAH)-ATL 36+ hours before the departure time.
2. I will try SDC (potentially ask agents) when I drop my bags at ICN. Same issues with the above.
3. If above two attempts are unsuccessful, I will try SDC in SFO when I recheck my bags after clearing customs.

Am I missing anything? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
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Old Sep 17, 18, 10:24 am
  #64  
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Originally Posted by poohhead80 View Post
1. I will try SDC when I check-in online for my flight. My checked bags might be an issue. Also, I am trying to SDC SFO-(DEN/IAH)-ATL 36+ hours before the departure time.
The app isn't going to offer you an SDC that includes an additional transfer. A phone agent may. The fact that it's 36+ hours before the SFO-ATL flight shouldn't matter.

Originally Posted by poohhead80 View Post
2. I will try SDC (potentially ask agents) when I drop my bags at ICN. Same issues with the above.
They can do this but may not know how; I don't know if UA has employees or contractors working ICN. Employees are much more likely to be able to do this than contractors.

Originally Posted by poohhead80 View Post
3. If above two attempts are unsuccessful, I will try SDC in SFO when I recheck my bags after clearing customs.
This should be fine, provided that there's inventory available. You can also do this at customer service, even after you re-check your bags, provided that your ex-SFO flight is at least one hour away.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 4:18 pm
  #65  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 526
4. SDC through the phone app just after boarding the first flight.

You don't need to wait until you land in SFO. The phone app should show available options once you board the ICN-SFO flight. I was able to do such an SDC on my AMS-IAH-AUS itinerary just after boarding the flight for the AMS-IAH segment.

FYI, I didn't have any checked bags; not sure if a checked bag changes the behavior in this case.

Last edited by pnsnkr; Sep 17, 18 at 4:22 pm Reason: checked bag
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Old Sep 17, 18, 4:20 pm
  #66  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Originally Posted by pnsnkr View Post
You don't need to wait until you land in SFO. The phone app should show available options once you board the ICN-SFO flight. I was able to do such an SDC on my AMS-IAH-AUS itinerary just after boarding the flight for the AMS-IAH segment.
Is this the case when you have a checked bag, though? I don't often check a bag, so I'm not familiar with whether or not the app will give SDC options if you have a checked bag...
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Old Sep 17, 18, 4:30 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by mpiotrow View Post
Is this the case when you have a checked bag, though? I don't often check a bag, so I'm not familiar with whether or not the app will give SDC options if you have a checked bag...
No, it is not, which is why I didn't offer it as an option. Once you drop bags at the counter, you will be unable to SDC on the app.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 4:33 pm
  #68  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
No, it is not, which is why I didn't offer it as an option. Once you drop bags at the counter, you will be unable to SDC on the app.
That's what I thought...and since the OP will have 2 checked bags, I just wanted to point that out!
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Old Sep 17, 18, 8:26 pm
  #69  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Thank you everyone. I will post when I get to the States.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 3:00 pm
  #70  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Any Workarounds to SDC to same flight, day before

Hi Folks,
Are there any workarounds to allow you to SDC to the exact same flight the day before. Obviously at first glance, your ability to SDC in theory does not open until the same flight the prior is departing. There are plenty of avails, but I'm not aware of a workaround for this. Any suggestions ? My wife has a business ticket on PEK-IAD (Z) and wants to come back a day early as her work plans changed. Many thanks for any suggestions
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Old Sep 19, 18, 3:33 pm
  #71  
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Originally Posted by CO_Nonrev_elite View Post
... Are there any workarounds to allow you to SDC to the exact same flight the day before. ...
The only realistic hope is to show up at the airport and see if an agent will do this. It is clearly outside the rules and probably going to be even more difficult with from a non-domestic location and trying for the business cabin (as upgraders may fill the presently available seats).

A more realistic approach is to do a 1-stop routing that meets the SDC requirements.

Prior discussions earlier in this thread on this may be of some help.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 19, 18 at 3:38 pm
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Old Sep 19, 18, 3:48 pm
  #72  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by CO_Nonrev_elite View Post
Hi Folks,
Are there any workarounds to allow you to SDC to the exact same flight the day before. Obviously at first glance, your ability to SDC in theory does not open until the same flight the prior is departing. There are plenty of avails, but I'm not aware of a workaround for this. Any suggestions ? My wife has a business ticket on PEK-IAD (Z) and wants to come back a day early as her work plans changed. Many thanks for any suggestions
I wouldn't count on an agent exception at PEK. If your wife has status, calling might be the better option.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 4:06 pm
  #73  
 
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Originally Posted by CO_Nonrev_elite View Post
Hi Folks,
Are there any workarounds to allow you to SDC to the exact same flight the day before. Obviously at first glance, your ability to SDC in theory does not open until the same flight the prior is departing. There are plenty of avails, but I'm not aware of a workaround for this. Any suggestions ? My wife has a business ticket on PEK-IAD (Z) and wants to come back a day early as her work plans changed. Many thanks for any suggestions
You can try to stand by and ask nicely. They may accommodate your wife if space available. I did it in TPE a few years ago successfully. Only question is would your wife accept an economy seat instead of business if only economy is available.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 4:11 pm
  #74  
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Originally Posted by CO_Nonrev_elite View Post
My wife has a business ticket on PEK-IAD (Z) and wants to come back a day early as her work plans changed. Many thanks for any suggestions
As others have noted, no way to do this for free except possibly standing by, and that's outside the rules.

But if this is the return, she should be able to change the ticket without refaring it, paying only the change fee.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 4:21 pm
  #75  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
As others have noted, no way to do this for free except possibly standing by, and that's outside the rules.

But if this is the return, she should be able to change the ticket without refaring it, paying only the change fee.
It is the return, but United wants almost $5000 for the change. There are still 6 seats left for sale, but none in Z which is her fare class. She is 1K, but United were not even remotely interested in being helpful
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