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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 ďchange flightĒ 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 May 4, 19, 1:09 pm
  #976  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
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Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
Iím curious what would have happened had I chosen one of the options that departs tomorrow. That would require a heavier reticketing process, right?
Yes. On the day of travel, UA could issue you a 016 ticket, in exchange for your 205 ticket, if there were IRROPS, including an oversale situation where you were denied boarding. However, a confirmed change at the kiosk, like you're describing, is a voluntary change, which would not fall under IRROPS and would then generally require the ticket to be reissued on 205 stock. It's possible that there's some way for UA to override this behavior -- to be clear, I didn't try, as my SDC attempt was the night before departure. I didn't throw myself upon the mercy of the UA ticket agents. . But, in general, I would expect that selecting one of those options on the kiosk would likely have led to a re-ticketing issue necessitating manual intervention.
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Old May 4, 19, 5:01 pm
  #977  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: DCA
Programs: United 1K 2MM, Hilton Gold
Posts: 2,586
Had an interesting experience:
Was going ORD-SFO on an L. A SDC ORD-SAN-SFO would have worked out better in my schedule, it showed up as an SDC option, and L's were available on both segments. However, the change wouldn't go through. I called, and they couldn't make it go through either. The reason they told me was although there was L inventory on both segments, there wasn't any L inventory on the combination.
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Old May 4, 19, 10:03 pm
  #978  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: YYJ/YXY
Posts: 2,912
Originally Posted by msg75 View Post
This is a new one (to me). Made a SDC from a non-stop to a connecting flight. Wanted to SDC that back to a non-stop (which is available) and got the following on .com:We are unable to process your request. Please see the message below for details.
  • For pricing 0, unable to parse FareCalculation. Possible problem: Farecalc represents fewer segments than described by CouponInfos.
Is there a solution for this? I did a free SDC (being *G), switching from one segment to two segments (as no nonstop flight was offered), and want to do another one (keeping two segments). But now I get that error message and can't pick a flight.

I tried with the app, which just redirects me to a mobile webpage that gives me the same error message. I tried on the desktop browser some hours later with the same result.

My experience with calling the Premier Desk is that they tell me I'm not eligible for a free SDC - although I've been doing them several times over the years and in fact earlier today.
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Old May 4, 19, 10:16 pm
  #979  
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Originally Posted by sokolov View Post
Is there a solution for this? I did a free SDC (being *G), switching from one segment to two segments (as no nonstop flight was offered), and want to do another one (keeping two segments). But now I get that error message and can't pick a flight.

I tried with the app, which just redirects me to a mobile webpage that gives me the same error message. I tried on the desktop browser some hours later with the same result.

My experience with calling the Premier Desk is that they tell me I'm not eligible for a free SDC - although I've been doing them several times over the years and in fact earlier today.
rules donít say that *G are eligible for free SDC, only United Gold and higher. While the reports are that the app has actually allowed free SDC for *G, it very well
may be a programming glitch that they arenít interested in fixing. So the premier desk is actually correct.
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Old May 4, 19, 10:36 pm
  #980  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: YYJ/YXY
Posts: 2,912
Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post


rules donít say that *G are eligible for free SDC, only United Gold and higher. While the reports are that the app has actually allowed free SDC for *G, it very well
may be a programming glitch that they arenít interested in fixing. So the premier desk is actually correct.
I've never done it through the app, always on the website (or over the phone). Today I tried with the app for the first time.
​​​​​​
The current problem, however, is that I can't do any change online, free or not. I'm not offered any flights, although I'm more than 12 hours from departure. I just get that error message.
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Old May 5, 19, 7:49 am
  #981  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Floating around
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Posts: 8,199
Originally Posted by Miles Ahead View Post
Had an interesting experience:
Was going ORD-SFO on an L. A SDC ORD-SAN-SFO would have worked out better in my schedule, it showed up as an SDC option, and L's were available on both segments. However, the change wouldn't go through. I called, and they couldn't make it go through either. The reason they told me was although there was L inventory on both segments, there wasn't any L inventory on the combination.
Yes, I've had married segment logic applied to a recent SDC. The agent ultimately put me on hold and got someone at the rate desk to force the SDC through. You could have asked them to do the same but no guarantee they would.

-RM
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Old May 5, 19, 8:39 am
  #982  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: DCA
Programs: United 1K 2MM, Hilton Gold
Posts: 2,586
They didn't say they called the rate desk, but they did say they couldn't override. Given that different systems were saying different things, I didn't push it - which was the right thing to do anyway, since inventory opened on the nonstop a few hours later. But it was an experience with married segments I had never seen before.
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Old May 5, 19, 10:43 am
  #983  
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
Yes, I've had married segment logic applied to a recent SDC. The agent ultimately put me on hold and got someone at the rate desk to force the SDC through. You could have asked them to do the same but no guarantee they would.
Married segment logic is supposed to apply to SDCs. SDC is just (supposed to be) a change fee waiver.

Originally Posted by Miles Ahead View Post
Given that different systems were saying different things, I didn't push it - which was the right thing to do anyway, since inventory opened on the nonstop a few hours later. But it was an experience with married segments I had never seen before.
Yeah, I'm not sure why it was showing as available in the first place -- that was the issue.
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Old May 5, 19, 10:54 am
  #984  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: YYJ/YXY
Posts: 2,912
Thank you. Married Segments may explain why I can't change to ORD-BOI-SFO, although it is offered as an SDC option.

As for the error message, I've found a way around: on the home screen of the app, click on Boarding Pass, then on "Checked in", which opens an overlay menu. There, do *not* click on "Change Flight" but rather on "Travel Options". On the following screen, pick something tllike Switch to "earlier" flight, even if you want a later flight. That will take you to SDC options, some ofwhich may be later.

Last edited by sokolov; May 17, 19 at 10:20 am
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Old May 5, 19, 11:52 am
  #985  
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Originally Posted by sokolov View Post
As for the error message, I've found a way around: on the home screen of the app, click on Boarding Pass, then on "Checked in", which opens an overlay menu. There, do *not* click on "Change Flight" but rather on "Travel Options". On the following screen, pick something tllike Switch to "earlier" flight, even if you want a later flight. That will take you to SDC options, some ofwhich may be later.
That's actually the normal SDC flow. The "change flights" feature has been... temperamental.. for a long time. It often fails.
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Old May 6, 19, 6:27 am
  #986  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Florida
Programs: UA 2MM, AA Platinum
Posts: 1,863
I have the following itin coming up:
​​​​​​.
ORD to SFO 6:30 AM - 9:07 AM
UA 2376
Economy

SFO to NRT 11:30 AM - 2:35 PM
NH 7013
Operated by United Airlines
Premium Economy

NRT to MNL 5:15 PM - 8:55 PM
NH 819
Economy
​​​​​​.
This is on UA 016 ticket stock. Note that the 2nd segment is UA-metal but NH flight number. It is also Premium Economy.

For the 1st two flights (ORD-SFO connecting to SFO-NRT), if space available on the nonstop ORD-NRT, do you think there is any chance I would be offered SDC to that?
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Old May 6, 19, 9:32 am
  #987  
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Originally Posted by BangkokTraveler View Post
For the 1st two flights (ORD-SFO connecting to SFO-NRT), if space available on the nonstop ORD-NRT, do you think there is any chance I would be offered SDC to that?
The UA-operated ORD-NRT isn't a Premium Plus market, so I'm not sure you'd really want to. It's extremely unlikely that you could change to the NH-operated ORD-NRT flight.

That said, it would take an agent to make any change.
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Old May 6, 19, 9:45 am
  #988  
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Originally Posted by BangkokTraveler View Post
I have the following itin coming up:
​​​​​​.
ORD to SFO 6:30 AM - 9:07 AM
UA 2376
Economy

SFO to NRT 11:30 AM - 2:35 PM
NH 7013
Operated by United Airlines
Premium Economy

NRT to MNL 5:15 PM - 8:55 PM
NH 819
Economy
​​​​​​.
This is on UA 016 ticket stock. Note that the 2nd segment is UA-metal but NH flight number. It is also Premium Economy.

For the 1st two flights (ORD-SFO connecting to SFO-NRT), if space available on the nonstop ORD-NRT, do you think there is any chance I would be offered SDC to that?
zero.

SDC requires all flights be UA operated. Even if the flight to NRT was UA-operated, the final segment is not, which will disable SDC anyway. An agent may be willing to do this, but even if so, thatís a big favor and not technically allowable for an SDC.

The only time youíll be able to SDC when Non-UA/UAX segments are on the itinerary is when all the non-UA operates segments have been boarded (I.e, if you were doing this on the return, and the NRT-SFO-ORD were all UA metal, after UA sees you as being on the flight from MNL (sometime after they scan your BP getting on that flight), you could SDC the rest on the app (assuming no checked bags), or during IRROPS when the expanded, iRROPs change tool becomes available.
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Old May 6, 19, 12:01 pm
  #989  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Our nation's capital
Programs: UA 1K & 0.55 MM
Posts: 623
Do I have to wait until T minus 24 for the flight I want to SDC *to*? Original it in leaves at 12:45, want to change to 17:45. I am seeing all sorts of options leaving early AM to about 13:00, but nothing later. Is that because the fare buckets for the 17:45 flight haven't opened up yet (he writes, at 13:00)?

Thank you.
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Old May 6, 19, 12:11 pm
  #990  
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Originally Posted by big V View Post
Do I have to wait until T minus 24 for the flight I want to SDC *to*?
Yes. Both your current and target flight must be within 24 hours.
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