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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 Oct 18, 19, 7:57 pm   -   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 Jun 19, 19, 11:33 pm
  #1141  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by ISTFlyer View Post
What the poster meant by Star Gold ( is non MileagePlus *G members ).
And the statement that he made is true.
To expand on it a bit: Non-UA *G members have never* actually received free SDC as a published benefit. I don’t know if the fee was routinely waived by call center agents, but I doubt it. However, it was routinely waived on the app. The poster was upset because the SDC function on the app has been curtailed severely, restricting it to same-calendar-day changes, and thus it’s more frequently necessary to call (and, thus, pay the fee).

* At least, not since the days when everybody did. I believe the concept of paid SDC / standby was introduced around 2005 or so.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jun 20, 19, 3:00 pm
  #1142  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Posts: 161
Yeah I can't speak to history of SDC via phone with NonUA*G but I was always able to SDC within a 24 hour period (including later flights) at no charge electronically. Now with this new change, I can only select earlier flights for a no fee SDC and I can promise you that calling will get you a $75 fee no matter what flight you SDC for.

As fate would have it, UA would not let me take a flight the next day without a $75 SDC fee so I did not change it. Next thing you know I ended up being called at the gate for a $500 bump voucher with a next day flight cause of an oversold condition.

These airlines are quite the circus
Jestner is offline  
Old Jun 20, 19, 3:06 pm
  #1143  
 
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Originally Posted by Jestner View Post
Yeah I can't speak to history of SDC via phone with NonUA*G but I was always able to SDC within a 24 hour period (including later flights) at no charge electronically. Now with this new change, I can only select earlier flights for a no fee SDC and I can promise you that calling will get you a $75 fee no matter what flight you SDC for.

As fate would have it, UA would not let me take a flight the next day without a $75 SDC fee so I did not change it. Next thing you know I ended up being called at the gate for a $500 bump voucher with a next day flight cause of an oversold condition.

These airlines are quite the circus
But had you not shown up for your flight then it wasn't oversold and could have gone out simply full. It's a dynamic environment for sure.

-RM
RobOnLI is online now  
Old Jun 21, 19, 1:11 am
  #1144  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

You can SDC on an award ticket, providing that there is award space available.
Award space never turned up on the earlier flight, as far as I can tell. I kept looking and looking. However the checkin kiosk at ORD did let me stand by for the earlier flight in spite of that. By the time I got to the lounge, I had cleared the standby list, and was put in an E+ on the earlier flight.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The general process for changing E+ seats is that you will be charged full price for the new seat and then the old one will be refunded. If your profile is accurate, and you’re UA Silver, I’m not sure how that would interact, because you’d get E+ for free within 24 hours of departure. My guess is that you’d get a full refund for the E+ seat on the flight you didn’t take, and you’d get E+ for free on the new flight (because SDC can only occur during the same window when you’d get free E+ as a Silver). However, it’d be nice if another Silver could speak from experience on this.
That's exactly what happened. I got a full refund on the E+ seat that I didn't take, and got E+ for free on this flight. I was charged $75 for the SDC, but came out ahead nearly $150 because I didn't pay for my new E+ seat.
jsloan likes this.
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Old Jun 21, 19, 11:01 am
  #1145  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Great White North
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Posts: 621
SDC Policy changing (All segments must be within 24 hrs)?

I was doing an SDC today from AAA-BBB-CCC to AAA-DDD-CCC and what would have been a routine call a week ago turned into a 1/2 hr+ transaction. The system would not let me change the flights without a fee and the agent told me this was because BBB-CCC was more than 24 hours away. They also mentioned that this will be the new policy going forward (that all segments must be within 24 hrs). The agent seemed very skilled and honest (i.e. not making it up) and hence I wanted to pass this along. If true, this will be a huge devaluation in the SDC policy for me (on the GPU front). Has anyone else run into this?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 21, 19 at 11:13 am Reason: merged with ongoing discussion
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Old Jun 21, 19, 11:07 am
  #1146  
 
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I don’t consider this a huge devaluation because I honestly didn’t know this was possible at all, to change routing where the second flight was further away (I mean I know you can go from nonstops to connections but not one connecting airport to another). I usually only use them on nonstops.
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Old Jun 21, 19, 11:12 am
  #1147  
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Originally Posted by expressboy View Post
The agent seemed very skilled and honest (i.e. not making it up) and hence I wanted to pass this along. If true, this will be a huge devaluation in the SDC policy for me (on the GPU front). Has anyone else run into this?
I suspect that there are changes coming to SDC, but I don't think it's likely to be that. It's far too hard to code and has little practical benefit to UA.
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Old Jun 21, 19, 12:49 pm
  #1148  
 
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Quick question, does SDC fee waiver for an earlier connecting flight still apply once in-route? I'm a UA Silver, coming off an international flight, if I make it through CBP quick enough, can I get on the earlier connecting flight without charge?

Appreciate the help!
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Old Jun 21, 19, 2:12 pm
  #1149  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
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Originally Posted by jdawg View Post
Quick question, does SDC fee waiver for an earlier connecting flight still apply once in-route? I'm a UA Silver, coming off an international flight, if I make it through CBP quick enough, can I get on the earlier connecting flight without charge?

Appreciate the help!
I don't think there is a SDC fee waiver for UA Silver. It starts only from Gold. The Silvers pay $75.
expressboy is online now  
Old Jun 21, 19, 2:14 pm
  #1150  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
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Originally Posted by villox View Post
I don’t consider this a huge devaluation because I honestly didn’t know this was possible at all, to change routing where the second flight was further away (I mean I know you can go from nonstops to connections but not one connecting airport to another). I usually only use them on nonstops.
It helps in the cases where you want to wait list a GPU on the second leg. At exactly 24 hours you lose the ability to wait list.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I suspect that there are changes coming to SDC, but I don't think it's likely to be that. It's far too hard to code and has little practical benefit to UA.
I hope too jsloan.
expressboy is online now  
Old Jun 21, 19, 5:20 pm
  #1151  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
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Originally Posted by jdawg View Post
Quick question, does SDC fee waiver for an earlier connecting flight still apply once in-route? ...
Believe it does (regardless of status)
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Old Jun 21, 19, 11:21 pm
  #1152  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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My flight from DCA-CLE-LAX is only upgradeable from CLE-LAX because the DCA-CLE flight is with a E140 that doesn't have first. If I get upgraded on my route from CLE-LAX, would I be able to keep my upgrade from DCA-LAX and reroute myself?
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Old Jun 22, 19, 2:12 am
  #1153  
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Originally Posted by xcalibir View Post
My flight from DCA-CLE-LAX is only upgradeable from CLE-LAX because the DCA-CLE flight is with a E140 that doesn't have first. If I get upgraded on my route from CLE-LAX, would I be able to keep my upgrade from DCA-LAX and reroute myself?
If SDCing and PZ is available, probably but you will likely need an agent. If PZ is not available on DCA-LAX, UA will not force the space

Was this a supported upgrade or CPU? The agent may balk with CPU, the app will do CPU to PZ if like segments.
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Old Jun 22, 19, 8:53 am
  #1154  
 
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I am hoping for a CPU.
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Old Jun 22, 19, 11:10 am
  #1155  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
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Originally Posted by xcalibir View Post
I am hoping for a CPU.
With an SDC routing change, CPUs will not transfer over.
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