I haven’t done a same day change on United Airlines since the system conversion and while I’ve read varying and dizzying accounts of how they’re handled by airport agents on Flyertalk, I decided to give myself a refresher on the policy as it appears on United.com. I realize this is pretty basic stuff to many of you, but I decided to make a post for those who aren’t clear.
The way they worded the policy online is a bit roundabout, so here’s my rewrite in a simpler form (hopefully). First, here’s the fee structure based on your MileagePlus level.
Starting at 24 hours before your original flight, you can request a same day change. Also, the flight you want to change onto has to be within 24 hours of your request. So effectively, you have a rolling 24-hour window, something pretty darn cool to allow you to change to a flight departing before or after your scheduled flight. And here are the two basic situations for a same day change assuming you’re on a non-refundable fare:
If the same ticketed fare class (H, Q, V, S, etc.) is available on a flight departing during the 24 hour window, the fee above applies and you’ll get a confirmed seat.
If the same ticketed fare class (H, Q, V, S, etc.) is not available on a flight departing during the 24 hour window, the fee above applies plus any fare difference to get a confirmed seat; OR you can go standby for that flight for just the fee above.
Example: You’re booked on a 6:00am Saturday morning departure from Chicago to Denver in V class. Beginning at 6:00am Friday morning, you can request a change to a different flight in the next 24 hours. The 8:00am Friday flight has V available, so in this case you’d only be charged the fee in the above table for a confirmed seat. On the 1:00pm Friday flight, V is not available, so you’d be charged the fee in the above table plus the fare difference up to the next available fare class; OR you can go standby for the 1:00pm flight for the fee in the above table.
Say you wanted to fly out on the Saturday 5:00pm departure instead. Here, you’d simply wait until 5:00pm Friday to request the change to be within that 24 hour rolling window.
There are some other little caveats, of course, which are:
- Valid on United and United Express flights only.
- Changes must be made prior to your originally ticketed flight.
- Exact origin and destination have to be the same.
- Changes in connecting points are fine when confirming a change so long as the routing rules on the purchased fare permit it.
- Changes in routing are not allowed when going standby.
- You can only be added to the standby list at the airport.
It’s a very generous policy and I hope they don’t tinker with it. I’ve also printed a copy of it off United’s website in case I run into an agent who isn’t quite up with the stated policy and, say, wants to charge me $75 as a 1K as I’ve been reading.
Have you had success with this policy?