Change fare class from K to Q back to K

Old Jan 2, 21, 2:42 pm
  #1  
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Change fare class from K to Q back to K

Hi,

I purchased a Basic Economy K class return ticket from LHR-SFO for Dec 23 (2020) - Feb 03 (2021).
On Dec 21, United allowed me to change my ticket from Dec 23 to Dec 22 for no change fee, no fare difference. The fare difference waiver was due to the cascading closure of borders to flights from the UK.
I also changed the return portion at the same time to Jan 05.
The new ticket fare class was Q for both the outbound and return journey now.

I am now trying to change the return portion from Jan 05 to Mar 18.
I am being quoted a fare difference of approx. $200. I'm guessing this is because the fare I originally paid was on a K class fare, and Q class fares are more expensive (judging by the price quotes I see on the ITA matrix when I change fare class from K to Q).
Changes to a ticket should not allow a change to the fare class (I think?), and therefore I assume they are trying to rebook me into a Q fare.

Is there any hope for me to get United to rebook me back onto a K class fare, and does my line of thought seem to make sense?

Random ramblings that may be useful:
I've made several changes on previous Basic Economy K class fares over the last 6 months (across 2 tickets - I flew two return flights, but changed the dates multiple times because I'm an indecisive muppet), and never had to pay a fare difference. In part, I'm guessing this is partially due to the fact before I actually booked the ticket, I checked all the various dates I may potentially change too, and checked they were all roughly the same price or lower than the ticket I bought. Therefore, having taken the same precautions this time, I'm ruling out the cause of the fare difference being the changing date. The changes are well within the fare rules for seasonality and length of validity.

Cheers,
B.
bharat91 is offline  
Old Jan 2, 21, 2:47 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by bharat91 View Post
...
Is there any hope for me to get United to rebook me back onto a K class fare, and does my line of thought seem to make sense?
....
Not online but calling should work -- the agent will need to research the ticket history. Online does not do that.

Have you called?
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Old Jan 2, 21, 2:49 pm
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Part of the increase could be due to the return of transportation tax (7.5%) effective January 1, 2021, which UA has no control over.
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Old Jan 2, 21, 2:59 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Not online but calling should work -- the agent will need to research the ticket history. Online does not do that.

Have you called?
I called earlier - that's how I got the original $200 fare change quote. Then I did some digging and discovered the change in fare class, so I'm calling back now to see if that will make a difference.
Currently on hold, but your reply gives me hope!

Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
Part of the increase could be due to the return of transportation tax (7.5%) effective January 1, 2021, which UA has no control over.
So on the fare of about $500, I'd expect a change of maybe $50. So that could account for a portion of it.
A quick Google later, and probably highly misunderstood by me - but does this returning tax apply to international segments as well? I'm of the understanding it applies to only the domestic portion of a flight that a passenger may undertake (with a few more nuances depending on if they change flight etc domestically).

Thanks both,
B.
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Old Jan 2, 21, 3:01 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by bharat91 View Post
Changes to a ticket should not allow a change to the fare class (I think?), and therefore I assume they are trying to rebook me into a Q fare.
No, that's entirely untrue. However, I suspect what's happening is that they're recomputing the fare based upon what you actually flew, since they didn't charge you the fare difference in the first place (despite being well within their rights to do so).

I agree with WineCountryUA. You may be able to get the difference waived if you call, but probably not if you book it online.
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Old Jan 2, 21, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Not online but calling should work -- the agent will need to research the ticket history. Online does not do that.

Have you called?
You were spot on - this time when I called, I mentioned the changed fare classes to the agent and she contacted the rates department to see what they could do.
Between them, they managed to get the fare change down to $19 and change, and back to a K fare class.

Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
Part of the increase could be due to the return of transportation tax (7.5%) effective January 1, 2021, which UA has no control over.
Yup you were right; there was a change in fare of $19 due to the Transportation tax that has now been introduced! Evidently, my Googling led me down a completely wrong rabbit hole about domestic vs international flights.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
No, that's entirely untrue. However, I suspect what's happening is that they're recomputing the fare based upon what you actually flew, since they didn't charge you the fare difference in the first place (despite being well within their rights to do so).

I agree with WineCountryUA. You may be able to get the difference waived if you call, but probably not if you book it online.
I agree, they were well within their rights to charge the original fare difference, and the only reason I changed was because they offered a waiver that day. Otherwise, it was upwards of $600 to change the flight by a few days in December, a few days before the departure date..
And you were also right, after a phone call, they did rebook me back into the fare class booked, not flown, and thus no fare change was applied!

Thank you all for your replies, and hopefully this post is a heads up for anyone else who wants to rebook the return portion of their flight after flying the outbound segment. Check the fare classes if you are getting an unexpected fare change!

B.
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Old Jan 2, 21, 11:15 pm
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Originally Posted by bharat91 View Post
Yup you were right; there was a change in fare of $19 due to the Transportation tax that has now been introduced! Evidently, my Googling led me down a completely wrong rabbit hole about domestic vs international flights.
The rabbit hole was legit; International Departure Tax is $19.10 while domestic tax is 7.5% of the base fare.
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