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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 Sep 4, 19, 2:11 pm   -   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 Jun 27, 19, 1:41 pm
  #1171  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by TomA View Post
The change fee for most flights ex-Asia is $120 now. No idea why they've done this, but I love it. I've changed TPE-SFO to SIN-SFO before (all UA) and just paid the $120. So no issues with changing to/from codeshares when paying the change fee then? ...
Except you will be subject to the fares at the time of the change -- so, potentially a significant fare differential
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Old Jun 27, 19, 6:45 pm
  #1172  
 
Join Date: May 2001
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Except you will be subject to the fares at the time of the change -- so, potentially a significant fare differential
I've noticed that the W-and-up fares between SEA and Florida don't really change much unless it is a holiday somewhere and you can usually route around that by changing cities. (And they are usually available right up until departure.)

Last edited by TomA; Jun 28, 19 at 10:24 am
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Old Jun 27, 19, 9:07 pm
  #1173  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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Originally Posted by HkCaGu View Post
Will the app allow me to choose earlier domestic leg which “breaks” the 24-hour stopover max? I have an upcoming LAX-IAH-EZE with 23 hours in Houston. Will there be earlier LAX-IAH SDC options? (Fare class is available earlier in the day.)
1. I could only check in to LAX-IAH. No INTL on BP. (That means TBIT *A lounge only.)
2. SDC options were plenty. All $0. Pretty much all day--all options of course exceeding the 24-hour max.
3. Two-segment options appeared too--SAN, SMF, PHX, DEN, COS (30-min conx to last n/s of the day. Yeah, right!).
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Old Jun 28, 19, 6:41 am
  #1174  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by HkCaGu View Post
1. I could only check in to LAX-IAH. No INTL on BP. (That means TBIT *A lounge only.)
2. SDC options were plenty. All $0. Pretty much all day--all options of course exceeding the 24-hour max.
3. Two-segment options appeared too--SAN, SMF, PHX, DEN, COS (30-min conx to last n/s of the day. Yeah, right!).
Thanks for reporting. I wonder what the time threshold to get separated check-in is.
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Old Jun 28, 19, 3:13 pm
  #1175  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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P class not flattening until very last minute

Anyone else notice that P class is no longer flattening along with the other fare classes as departure nears? LAX-EWR today all fare classes available except P have opened up on every flight within 3-4 hours. P has stayed at 0 for every flight until about 90 minutes before departure. In the past it's been relatively easy to move flights around within 24 hours and definitely within 3-4 hours. Now you have to be at the airport if you're in P and want to SDC.

For clarity, I'm talking standard paid P and not the Px upgrade classes.
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Old Jul 2, 19, 3:33 pm
  #1176  
 
Join Date: May 2015
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Is it possible to SDC to an international flight that's exactly 1 day earlier? I know within 24 hours works but curious if this does.
I'm trying to depart SFO 1 day earlier than I originally booked. If not, am I able to standby?
Thanks,

*edit reading some of the previous posts points to a no for SDC but standby may be possible.
oopl is offline  
Old Jul 2, 19, 3:50 pm
  #1177  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
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Originally Posted by oopl View Post
Is it possible to SDC to an international flight that's exactly 1 day earlier? I know within 24 hours works but curious if this does.
....
Generally NO, because once your next day flight gets to the 24 hour window, the door is closed on the day earlier flight. The agent would have to override the computer which creates an auditable event.
Standby is problematic also because standby requires same DAY, however occasionally an airport agent will push it thru.

You can showup a day earlier and try, as some have been lucky, but it is against policy and I would have a place to stay that evening lined up.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 10:50 am
  #1178  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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SDC challenge due to through fare

Iím in LHR hoping to SDC to an earlier flight, 928, tomorrow. 928 is wide open in both PZ and W, so I thought switching my GPU from the later flight would work. But two agents have already said there is nothing they can do because LHR-YVR doesnít have W inventory currently. We already have W space ORD-YVR and were not looking to change that flight

Is it the case that you have to have through fare inventory to change even one segment on an itinerary with a connection?
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Old Jul 3, 19, 11:23 am
  #1179  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
Is it the case that you have to have through fare inventory to change even one segment on an itinerary with a connection?
Yes.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 11:34 am
  #1180  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

Yes.
Thanks!

Now I know.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 3:58 pm
  #1181  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 264
Using the app. I am checked-in for flights tomorrow and may want to SDC. When I select "change flights" it takes me to my "Already checked-in itinerary" and provides no options for alternate flights. I also see no option to "undo check in".
What to do?
Thanks!
-------
Found the answer and posting here in case helpful:
I went to united.com and I had to select "Check in for Another Flight" and then manually enter name and PNR of flight I am already checked in for, and then it to took me to a screen with my itinerary and I could select "Change or Cancel" and then there is a link for "Undo Check In"
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Last edited by shdflyer; Jul 3, 19 at 4:36 pm
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Old Jul 4, 19, 7:46 am
  #1182  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Programs: AAdvantage Executive Platinum
Posts: 433
Does having a cleared CPU mess up the SDC availability that displays on the app or website? If Iím not seeing any SDC options, is it possible that some would appear if an agent knocked out the upgrade?

I have had this issue with AA, not sure if UA faces the same issue.
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Old Jul 4, 19, 7:50 am
  #1183  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
Does having a cleared CPU mess up the SDC availability that displays on the app or website? If Iím not seeing any SDC options, is it possible that some would appear if an agent knocked out the upgrade?

I have had this issue with AA, not sure if UA faces the same issue.
Yes, typically having a cleared CPU reduces your SDC options. With CPU it looks for PZ space, which is usually less than space for whatever your original basis is. You can do a search for origin - destination and see which options show your economy basis (e.g., S, L, etc.) with availability. Then call and ask an agent to put you on that particular itinerary. If you don't know the basis, check your original receipt.
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Old Jul 4, 19, 8:07 am
  #1184  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
Yes, typically having a cleared CPU reduces your SDC options. With CPU it looks for PZ space, which is usually less than space for whatever your original basis is. You can do a search for origin - destination and see which options show your economy basis (e.g., S, L, etc.) with availability. Then call and ask an agent to put you on that particular itinerary. If you don't know the basis, check your original receipt.
Yes. This is new within the last year, and while Iím quite certain itís unintentional, it doesnít seem like UA seems to be in any hurry to fix it.
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Old Jul 4, 19, 8:21 am
  #1185  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

Yes. This is new within the last year, and while Iím quite certain itís unintentional, it doesnít seem like UA seems to be in any hurry to fix it.
Yeah, at first I thought it would be fun, but I'm now less thrilled with it, especially given the other curtailments of the app SDC function. But I agree, it doesn't look like they have any priorities to fix the PZ usage.
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