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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
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.
 
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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 Jul 7, 19, 11:06 am
  #1201  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NYC (Primarily EWR)
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
All flights are zeroed out BOS-EWR because the 9am was cancelled. Not sure when it cancelled (or why) but getting on a different flight today from BOS to EWR is not possible at the moment.

-RM
I ended up staying if my VDB got fulfilled, I would take the later flight. Not going to get too worked up over a guaranteed CPU since it would also mean getting home later now.
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Old Jul 9, 19, 8:31 pm
  #1202  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 1
4+ hour layover

I am curious if I can change the second (or 3rd+) leg of a trip to get a long (4+ hour layover) at my layover city. I am thinking about doing this so I can fly “through” ORD or EWR but actually get an evening in Chicago or NYC.

On another note, I have successfully used SDC a few times to move my flight forward exactly 24 hours. And one time to move it back 24 hours.
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Old Jul 10, 19, 12:27 am
  #1203  
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Originally Posted by adm5175 View Post
I am curious if I can change the second (or 3rd+) leg of a trip to get a long (4+ hour layover) at my layover city. I am thinking about doing this so I can fly “through” ORD or EWR but actually get an evening in Chicago or NYC.

Welcome to FlyerTalk!

The answer is, "maybe." Until recently, this was something that could frequently be done on the app after beginning your trip. However, within the last few months, the app has stopped showing next-day changes in most (all?) cases. Therefore, you'd need to get a human to do it for you, and a human is more likely to enforce the rules than the old app was.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 11:08 am
  #1204  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: IAD
Programs: UA Gold; Hilton Diamond; Global Entry; TSA Pre✓
Posts: 714
Is there any reason why the SDC options wont show up for my flight? (departs in 21hrs). I called but the agent was pretty clueless and didn't know why. They offered some change options which i declined.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 11:13 am
  #1205  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
Is there any reason why the SDC options wont show up for my flight? (departs in 21hrs). I called but the agent was pretty clueless and didn't know why. They offered some change options which i declined.
Lack of available inventory? What change are you trying to make? What flights? What fare class(es)?
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Old Jul 13, 19, 1:15 pm
  #1206  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Lack of available inventory? What change are you trying to make? What flights? What fare class(es)?
IAD-DFW UA6263 7/14 0845-1100 Z fare (First)

Just doing a regular flight search there were plenty of First alternatives, but perhaps none were on a Z fare?
But the phone agent did mention there were options available (didnt discuss specifics though), so it sounds like inventory was possibly there, but for some unknown reason I dont have any option to even look for SDC flights online or the app. The phone agent took 20 mins to understand what I was asking (and I was being clear and specific), then another 15 to pull up availability. I didnt want to make a change and I dared not have him do it if I did.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 1:25 pm
  #1207  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
IAD-DFW UA6263 7/14 0845-1100 Z fare (First)

Just doing a regular flight search there were plenty of First alternatives, but perhaps none were on a Z fare?
So, if you were trying to change to a flight today: the app hasn't been showing change-of-calendar-date SDC options in several months. If you were trying to change to a later nonstop flight on Sunday, there's no Z space on the 1 PM departure. There is Z space on the 5:40 PM departure, but you won't be able to access it until 5:40 PM today.

If you were trying to change to a one-stop flight -- there are various reports of it being difficult / impossible to add an additional transfer on the app recently, although I was able to do so last week. I do see some Z inventory on morning flights through EWR and ORD. I can invent some reasons that it might not appear, but I'd rather not engage in speculation.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 2:31 pm
  #1208  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
So, if you were trying to change to a flight today: the app hasn't been showing change-of-calendar-date SDC options in several months. If you were trying to change to a later nonstop flight on Sunday, there's no Z space on the 1 PM departure. There is Z space on the 5:40 PM departure, but you won't be able to access it until 5:40 PM today.

If you were trying to change to a one-stop flight -- there are various reports of it being difficult / impossible to add an additional transfer on the app recently, although I was able to do so last week. I do see some Z inventory on morning flights through EWR and ORD. I can invent some reasons that it might not appear, but I'd rather not engage in speculation.
Thanks the info. I was considering changing to a flight later on my original departure date (Sunday), either a nonstop or with connection. I understand that some options wont appear until 24hrs before the flight time.
Regardless of what I was considering, I simply dont have a button or link anywhere on the app or website to review any SDC at all. That's what I don't understand.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 3:18 pm
  #1209  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
Thanks the info. I was considering changing to a flight later on my original departure date (Sunday), either a nonstop or with connection. I understand that some options wont appear until 24hrs before the flight time.
Regardless of what I was considering, I simply dont have a button or link anywhere on the app or website to review any SDC at all. That's what I don't understand.
If there aren't any available options, it doesn't display the link. Otherwise, you'll see it as a link during the check-in flow, or when reviewing your checked-in itinerary on the app. It says something like "Choose an alternate flight" or "Take an earlier flight." It looks sort of like an ad, at least on the app.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jul 13, 19 at 4:45 pm Reason: split post
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Old Jul 13, 19, 3:28 pm
  #1210  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Any reported success changing a non-UA operated non-UA marketed flight that’s part of a 016 ticket multi-flight itinerary to a UA flight with the same routing as part of SDC?
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Old Jul 13, 19, 3:37 pm
  #1211  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Consensus seems to recommend calling as the way go with this type of itinerary. Success is quite possible, was for me in the past. YMMV
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Old Jul 13, 19, 4:14 pm
  #1212  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
Consensus seems to recommend calling as the way go with this type of itinerary. Success is quite possible, was for me in the past. YMMV
Check posts 1192 to 1196 above. There has been some tightening on this type of SDC. I paid change fees earlier this month.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 4:29 pm
  #1213  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If there aren't any available options, it doesn't display the link. Otherwise, you'll see it as a link during the check-in flow, or when reviewing your checked-in itinerary on the app. It says something like "Choose an alternate flight" or "Take an earlier flight." It looks sort of like an ad, at least on the app.
Yes, it's the ad-like link I'm used to seeing. It is now showing up and I'm presented with 1 flight. UA6296 1740-2009. 7/14. Shows Z class available, but if I look at the seat map preview it's all greyed out. What's the deal there - if I changed to that flight what seat would I get?
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Old Jul 13, 19, 4:31 pm
  #1214  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
Yes, it's the ad-like link I'm used to seeing. It is now showing up and I'm presented with 1 flight. UA6296 1740-2009. 7/14. Shows Z class available, but if I look at the seat map preview it's all greyed out. What's the deal there - if I changed to that flight what seat would I get?
The seat map preview gets confused during SDCs for some reason, especially when you're in the front cabin. Check the flight status for that flight in the app / online, outside of the SDC view. Seats 1D and 2C are available.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 5:41 pm
  #1215  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The seat map preview gets confused during SDCs for some reason, especially when you're in the front cabin. Check the flight status for that flight in the app / online, outside of the SDC view. Seats 1D and 2C are available.
Good to know, and yes I can see you're correct about 1D and 2C. Thanks for all of your help today!
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