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 (but standby can only be done on the same calendar day of your TICKETED departure and doesn’t qualify for the 24-hour rolling window).
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.
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?