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Changing ticket and referring question ....

Changing ticket and referring question ....

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Old Apr 29, 18, 1:23 pm
  #1  
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Question Changing ticket and referring question ....

I booked a roundtrip ticket IAD - SFO ("S" bucket .. about 500$) with what I thought were "one-way fares" (as shown on itasoftware) although admitedly I have not read the full fare rules on united.com when I booked (priced identical between itasoftware and united)

I would like to change the return flight (same day but SFO->EWR instead of SFO->IAD) and united.com is giving me only very expensive fare changes (450-600$) while doing a straight up one way booking for SFO-EWR for the same date returns fares below 200$ ...

The only thing I can imagine is that somehow they are repricing the entire ticket including the 1st segment that is not changing ...
(I am guessing that because if I just remove the return segment from my ticket united.com quotes a 450$ "fare change" on top of a 200$ change fee ... -> basically reprice the first segment as if purchased today ....)

I thought the approach when changing a ticket would be that united would reprice the segment that was changed and possibly the downstream segment even if unchanged ... but it looks like the entire ticket is repriced ...

Did I misunderstood the process all along ?

once a ticket is booked how can you see the details of the fare code on united.com ? (didn't find a spot in the reservation or in the receipt showing anything more than the fare bucket ... )

If refaring the entire ticket is "normal" , is there a way beside booking individual tickets for each segment to pick specific fare to avoid the full repricing ? (acknowledging that other inconvenience may popup if a flight gets cancelled for example)

Thanks
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Old Apr 29, 18, 1:44 pm
  #2  
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If the SFO-EWR leg is $200 or less, you have two options:

1. Book it on its own, and just cancel the SFO-IAD leg the day of.
2. Book IAD-EWR either with miles (10K) or cash.
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Old Apr 29, 18, 2:00 pm
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Your understanding is correct if and only if your outbound fare is combinable with the new SFO->EWR fare that you want to use. This should be the case with pretty much any fare I can think of for that route. While there are exceptions, for domestic tickets United generally allows you to change the fare components without affecting unchanged components provided that the new combination is allowed. There isn't any good way to see fare rules post-purchase now that the Saudia site doesn't work, but you can always call and ask what the fare basis is so that you can look them up on a site like ExpertFlyer.

Most likely this is just a glitch in the auto-pricing algorithm. I'd give United a call. There's a good chance that a rep will see the same price, though, so you may run into further difficulties and it's pretty hard to convince a rep to get the rate desk involved in a domestic ticket. Do make sure that you're only changing SFO->IAD to SFO->EWR and not trying to add a third segment to get back to IAD on the same ticket. The combinability rules get more restrictive for end-on-end multi-city/circle trips.

Having said that, if you're looking at paying a $200 change fee and it's less than $200 to buy the new ticket outright, I'd probably just buy the new ticket outright and kick the can down the road. United.com is much more likely to price the outbound properly once it is already flown, so you'll probably have an easier time reusing those funds later.

For those that are curious, this the part of the boilerplate fare rules for most domestic penalty fares that is applicable here:

Code:
   BEFORE DEPARTURE OF JOURNEY AND WITHIN TICKET VALIDITY       
   CERTAIN DOMESTIC REISSUE PROVISIONS MAY BE OVERRIDDEN        
   BY THOSE OF UA INTERNATIONAL FARES                           
   CHARGE USD 200.00 FOR REISSUE OR HIGHEST FEE OF ALL          
   CHANGED FARE COMPONENTS - DISCOUNTS APPLY - NO FEE FOR       
   INFANTS W/O SEAT AND                                         
     REPRICE                                                    
     A. CHANGED FARE COMPONENTS USE FARES IN EFFECT             
     TODAY                                                      
     B. ALL OTHERS USE CURRENTLY TKTD FARE                      
     PROVIDED ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS ARE MET-          
     1. WHEN NO INTL COUPONS REMAIN - ALL NEW TRAVEL            
     MUST BE DOMESTIC                                           
     2. AC/UA FARES ARE USED                                    
     3. UA ANY FARE TYPE EXCEPT EOU/ERU ARE USED                
     4. ALL RULE AND BOOKING CODE PROVISIONS ARE MET           
     5. ADV RES IS MEASURED FROM NEW TKT ISSUE DATE IF         
     CURRENT FARES/FROM PREVIOUS TKT ISSUE DATE IF              
     HISTORICAL FARES TO DEPARTURE OF PRICING UNIT

Last edited by Sykes; Apr 29, 18 at 2:07 pm
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Old Apr 29, 18, 5:36 pm
  #4  
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Thanks for the explanations ....

I just called United ... they are seeing the same crazy prices and they confirmed that the whole ticket is being repriced as bought today ... :-(
There is nothing they can do even when I told them the one way SFO-EWR is 180$ ..
They confirmed that if I kept my current ticket as-is and booked a oneway SFO-EWR the systems would detect it and cancel a reservation .. :-(
The confirmed also that if I change my current ticket and remove the return then the whole ticket is repriced as a one way bought today .... :-(

Their proposed solution :
-buy a IAD-EWR ticket now for travel on the day I need to get to EWR...
-when the 24hr window open on SFO-IAD .. call united and change to a flight that allow me to catch my IAD-EWR (because my SFO-IAD gets in too late for any connections) ... 200$ change fee waived but still may have to pay a difference in fare .... (I guess the question is with an S fare how much is the fare difference likely to be at the last minute .... )

Personally I am thinking :
-buy the IAD-EWR ticket now
-try to change the SFO-IAD at the 24hr window but if the fare difference is outrageous just take a chance standby ..
(what are the chances of a 1K going standby on a Sunday morning SFO-IAD)

Any thoughts ?

Any risk that UA would cancel a newly purchased IAD-EWR given that with my current SFO-IAD segment I can't make it in time ?

Ah the joys of mixing personal travel (SFO) and business travel (EWR) .... :-)

Thanks !
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Old Apr 29, 18, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by pbr6891 View Post
I just called United ... they are seeing the same crazy prices and they confirmed that the whole ticket is being repriced as bought today ... :-(
I think UA has been updating its Category 31 rules to try to do more auto-pricing, and I'm not sure it's working out the way they want. I wonder if they've managed to contradict themselves somewhere in the ORs. I agree with Sykes; under most domestic UA fares, if you don't change the first segment, it should ignore advance purchase and just reprice the return.

Originally Posted by pbr6891 View Post
There is nothing they can do even when I told them the one way SFO-EWR is 180$ ..
You'd need to convince the agent to get the rate desk involved, and they'd have to read Category 16 -- or find whatever the issue is in Rule 31 that's causing the confusion. Sadly, I don't have a lot of faith in UA phone agents agreeing to follow up when the computer is telling them a price.

Originally Posted by pbr6891 View Post
-buy the IAD-EWR ticket now
-try to change the SFO-IAD at the 24hr window but if the fare difference is outrageous just take a chance standby ..
(what are the chances of a 1K going standby on a Sunday morning SFO-IAD)

Any thoughts ?

Any risk that UA would cancel a newly purchased IAD-EWR given that with my current SFO-IAD segment I can't make it in time ?
Yes, there's absolutely a chance that you could get one or both of your reservations cancelled if they overlap. If you wanted to do this, I'd book the first flight out the next morning -- i.e., the first legal flight -- in the hope of SDCing both tickets.

As an aside, I'm seeing this pop up on some UA fares:

WHEN CHANGE RESULTS IN LOWER FARE IGNORE RESIDUAL THEN
ADD-COLLECT
For example, I'm seeing it on WAS-SFO SRA2AFEN for some of the choices in Rule 31. I really hope this doesn't become a trend...
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Old Apr 29, 18, 9:43 pm
  #6  
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All the S fares look to be round-trip fares (checking on ExpertFlyer). The cheapest one-way fares I see are Q fares.
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Old Apr 29, 18, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by LBJ View Post
All the S fares look to be round-trip fares (checking on ExpertFlyer). The cheapest one-way fares I see are Q fares.
If I just search one-way, I see a whole range of one-way fares filed for WAS-SFO, including S (all the way down to L, actually).
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Old Apr 29, 18, 10:10 pm
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What is going to kill it for the OP is you are not allowed to change the return city after you fly the outbound. I've been caught by this a few times.

Since the OP has not flown the outbound segment yet I believe they have a few options:
1. Reprice the entire ticket WAS-SFO-EWR, applying the value of your existing ticket to it and paying the $200 change fee plus any fare difference. Sounds like this is $500 or so plus fees.
2. Fly the outbound to SFO and then attempt to SDC the return to be SFO-EWR-WAS. Since the OP is in coach class then SDC'ing to the SFO-EWR is possible. Then OP just doesn't show up for EWR-WAS and nothing happens. OP, don't make a habit of skipping legs and UA won't mind.
3. Buy WAS-EWR for a time that works for the OP. Others are correct that if you have overlapping itineraries then UA may find that and cancel one or both of them.

Personally I think #2 is the easiest. Day of week will determine how likely this is to happen. If it's a Tues/Weds/Sat then SDC via EWR is likely. If it's Sun/Mon/Thurs/Fri then SDC will be more of a challenge.

-RM
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Old Apr 30, 18, 10:03 am
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This one should be simple...

Ok, I guess I just want verification from the experts (you) that I've got the right idea:

Have RT IAH-LAS-IAH Wednesday returning Saturday. I now need to stay until Monday. Went to make change and they want $171 + $200 change fee (or more, depending on which flight I choose...this is the cheapest one), even though the entire ticket (Wednesday-Monday RT) were I to buy it right now would be about $45 more than I paid for my original RT. This may have something to do with the fact that I did an upfare on the outbound and am in F, but I don't know. Either way, the fare difference is too large compared to the original price.
Looked at One Way LAS-IAH for Monday flight I'm interested in: $176 total. Shouldn't I just buy that and then cancel the original return on the day of (or day before?? does it matter when one cancels the return?)

Thank you!
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Old Apr 30, 18, 10:18 am
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Originally Posted by pbr6891 View Post
Any risk that UA would cancel a newly purchased IAD-EWR given that with my current SFO-IAD segment I can't make it in time ?
The CoC has a provision that allows UA to cancel "reservations with connections that depart before the arrival on the inbound flight". It doesn't specify that the connection has to be on the same PNR, if interpreted in a broad sense it'd allow UA to cancel both the SFO-IAD and IAD-EWR segments.

If you could provide the ticketing date and the flight dates it should be possible to retrieve the exact fare basis on EF.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by lindaiah View Post
Shouldn't I just buy that and then cancel the original return on the day of (or day before?? does it matter when one cancels the return?)
Yes, you could. Technically, you could just no-show as you won't gain anything from canceling, but it's polite to let UA know you won't show up. It's generally advised to only cancel voluntarily at the last minute, as you could use a delay or a flight cancelation to your advantage to qualify for an involuntary cancel (i.e. get a refund).

Alternatively, since you're UA*G, you could also save money and SDC it two or three times, but read the wiki about that first.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
What is going to kill it for the OP is you are not allowed to change the return city after you fly the outbound. I've been caught by this a few times.
That's not universally for revenue tickets. Generally you can change the return city after departure as long as the new roundtrip ticket does not require changing the original outbound fare component that was already flown. (Technically you should be able to change to a new fare as long as the booking class doesn't change, but I've had trouble getting that condition to auto-price properly.)

The catch is when your new return journey isn't compatible with the outbound fare you already flew. I'm running into that situation more and more with these combinability restrictions that were added in the last couple of years, but I rarely have trouble converting a simple roundtrip to a single open jaw on domestic fares.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I wonder if they've managed to contradict themselves somewhere in the ORs. I agree with Sykes; under most domestic UA fares, if you don't change the first segment, it should ignore advance purchase and just reprice the return.
There are definitely two OR situations that apply to this situation (assuming that the current S-fare rules for IAD-SFO are the same (or at least similar) the ones from when the OP purchased). There's the one that I posted above, as well as the following:
Code:
   BEFORE DEPARTURE OF JOURNEY AND WITHIN TICKET VALIDITY      
   CERTAIN DOMESTIC REISSUE PROVISIONS MAY BE OVERRIDDEN       
   BY THOSE OF UA INTERNATIONAL FARES                           
   CHARGE USD 200.00 FOR REISSUE OR HIGHEST FEE OF ALL          
   CHANGED FARE COMPONENTS - DISCOUNTS APPLY - NO FEE FOR       
   INFANTS W/O SEAT AND                                         
     REPRICE USING FARES IN EFFECT TODAY                        
     PROVIDED ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS ARE MET-          
     1. AC/UA FARES ARE USED                                    
     2. UA ANY FARE TYPE EXCEPT EOU/ERU ARE USED                
     3. ADV RES IS MEASURED FROM REISSUE DATE TO                
     DEPARTURE OF PRICING UNIT                                  
   WHEN CHANGE RESULTS IN LOWER FARE REFUND RESIDUAL THEN       
   ADD-COLLECT - REFUND VIA MCO                                 
   ENDORSEMENT BOX - HIGHER NON-REF AMT AND NEW                 
   ENDORSEMENTS.
This exceedingly broad one appears first. While I am an expert in fare rule interpretation, I'm not an expert in the auto-pricing algorithms, but I suspect that they're processed in order, and this would be the first one it would hit. A human agent has discretion to use whichever of the rules is the most flexible, but the auto-pricing algorithm probably stops as soon as it gets a hit.

I agree that getting rate desk assistance would be next to impossible in this situation though.
jsloan likes this.

Last edited by Sykes; Apr 30, 18 at 1:38 pm
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Old Apr 30, 18, 10:43 pm
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so in the end I ended up buying the first legal IAD-EWR on a separate ticket .. conveniently as the date is closing in this got priced in the M bucket so pretty sure I should be able to do SDC when the window open ...

and I will do SDC on the SFO-IAD as well (or standby if the fee difference is too much ... )

Does anyone know if there is a particular timing inside of 24hrs to a flight at which point United opens up certain fare buckets ?
I think I remember reading that 4hrs to the flight all buckets are opened (if there are seats available) but I don't know if I got this right ..
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Old Apr 30, 18, 10:50 pm
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It used to be 4 hours but it's been getting less and less predictable over time. Start checking when the SDC window opens and keep an eye on it.

Last edited by findark; May 1, 18 at 12:38 am
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Old Apr 30, 18, 11:50 pm
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Originally Posted by pbr6891 View Post
.... I think I remember reading that 4hrs to the flight all buckets are opened (if there are seats available) but I don't know if I got this right ..
Be prepared for something closer to 3 hours or less.
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