If your travel plans have changed unexpectedly, you may need to alter your upcoming United Airlines flight. Having to modify existing reservations at the last minute is never ideal. However, changing a United flight can be fairly straightforward if you understand their policies and procedures ahead of time.
When Are Flight Changes Allowed on United?
United’s general regulations on what sorts of adjustments are authorized and when they may be made are outlined below before you get into the specifics of changing your flight:
- United Airlines Date Changes – You can move your flight to a different date if it is done before your originally scheduled departure time. Last-minute date changes may incur higher fees.
- United Airlines Name Changes – The passenger name can be updated to someone else up to 1 hour before departure with applicable fees. Significant name changes may have restrictions.
- Route Changes – You can modify the origin or destination city as long as travel has yet to start. Route changes to international flights may have visa implications.
- Cabin Class Changes – Flying first class instead of the economy (or vice versa) is allowed with fare differences paid. Availability may be limited on cabin class changes.
- Cancellations – Flights can be canceled more than 24 hours after booking for future travel credit. Cancellations are not allowed within 24 hours.
- Same-Day Changes – Domestic flights can be changed to other departures within 24 hours of the original time—limited options for same-day international flight changes.
- Post-Departure – No changes can be made after the scheduled departure time of the original flight.
What Are the Fees to Change a United Flight?
United does charge fees in most scenarios when you change existing flight reservations:
United Airlines Flight Change Fees
For domestic U.S. flights, United charges a flat $200 change fee for flight changes made more than 30 days out. Within 30 days, the fees scale up and max out around $500 for close-in changes. International flights incur higher change fees starting at $250.
In addition to any change fees, you will be responsible for paying any difference in airfare price if your new flight is more expensive than what you originally paid. If the new flight is cheaper, you receive a future travel credit instead.
If you cancel a flight more than 24 hours after booking, United charges a $200 cancellation fee for domestic and $500 for international. Cancellations within 24 hours of booking receive a full refund.
For domestic U.S. flights, same-day confirmed changes cost a minimum of $75 per direction if done online or by phone. Same-day standby is slightly cheaper, starting at $50 per segment.
Award Ticket Fees
If you booked your original ticket using MileagePlus award miles, changes incur lower fees starting at just $50 for members. Non-members pay $100 per change.
When Do Change Fees Get Waived by United Airlines?
While change fees are a significant revenue source for United, there are select situations in which they may be waived:
- Flight Cancellations – If United cancels your flight, you can rebook without changing fees.
- Significant Delays/Schedule Changes – Major delays or changes to flight times by United allow fee-free rebooking.
- Irrops (Irregular Operations) – Mechanical problems, aircraft swaps, and other operational issues qualify.
- Medical Emergencies – With proper documentation, medical situations may warrant waiving fees.
- Grief – Losing an immediate family member is grounds for waving change fees when rebooking travel.
- Elite Status – Top-tier Premier 1K, and sometimes Premier Platinum members can change some flights for free.
- Agent’s Discretion – United staff can occasionally waive fees as a courtesy for distressed travelers.
Step-by-Step Guide to Changing United Flights Online
To change United Airlines Flight Online. Follow these steps:
- Visit United.com and log into your account or retrieve your reservation.
- Access your reservation and select “Change Flight,” then choose your original booked flight.
- Review alternate flight options and select your new desired date/flight.
- Pick the flight cabin if changing the class of service, then enter passenger details.
- Continue through the flow and accept the change summary detailing any fees.
- Make payment if any change fees or fare differences need to be paid.
- Receive a confirmation email that your United flight has been changed.
Pro Tip: Avoid rescheduling delays by having your ideal new flight dates or routes selected before you call United.
What to Expect When Changing a United Flight by Phone
If you need to modify a complex booking or prefer speaking directly with an agent, United flights can be changed over the phone as well:
- Call United at 1-800-864-8331 / 1-800-998-6716 and explain you need to change an existing flight.
- Provide your six-character confirmation code from your United reservation.
- Give the agent your requested change (date, route, etc.) and discuss options.
- Once your new flight is identified, authorize payment for change fees or fare differences.
- Receive a new email confirmation with your changed United flight details.
Pro Tip: For complicated or international bookings, request the agent stay on the line until the change is ticketed to avoid issues.
How Do I Change a United Flight at the Airport?
If you are already at the departure airport when your plans change, United ticket agents at check-in and transfer desks can assist with same-day flight changes:
In-Person at Ticket Counter
Visit a United check-in counter or customer service desk. Explain you need to change your flight and provide your confirmation code. Discuss options for new flights and routes leaving that same day from that airport. Pay any fees and receive new boarding passes.
⦁ Self-Service Kiosk
Look for United’s accessible self-service kiosks located throughout most airports. Scan your boarding pass or enter your confirmation code. Select “Change Flight” and search for new departures. Pay with a credit card at the kiosk.
⦁ Club Locations
If you have an extended United Club membership, agents inside the lounge can help change flights departing within 24 hours. They can also waive phone change fees.
Pro Tip: Arrive early to allow enough time to change flights in person once you’re at the airport.
How to Handle a Flight Delay or Cancellation
Few situations are more stressful than an unexpected flight delay or cancellation when you’re already at the airport ready to fly. Here are smart tips for handling these scenarios:
For delays under 2 hours:
- Contact anyone meeting you to update them on the new arrival time.
- Use the pause to grab a bite, check work email, or catch up on reading.
- Consider paying an unaccompanied minor charge if traveling with kids to get early boarding.
For delays over 2 hours:
- Ask the gate agent if you can change to other United flights leaving sooner.
- Request compensation like meal vouchers while you wait.
- Look for open seats on partner airlines that may have availability.
- Use the United app to set up alerts so you’ll know if the delay gets worse.
For a cancellation:
- Get in line to speak with an agent immediately to discuss rebooking options before flights fill.
- Push for confirmed seats on replacement flights rather than standby only.
- Book award seats using miles if cash fares on new flights are expensive.
- Inquire about hotel vouchers if facing an overnight delay.
Pro Tip: Stay polite but persistent when working with United reps on lengthy delays or cancellations for the best outcome.
Changing an International United Flight
While the process is similar, international United flight changes come with some unique considerations:
- Higher change fees – $250 minimum for flights outside the U.S.
- Time zones – Account for time zone differences when selecting new flights.
- Overnight layovers – You may need an extra hotel night on route changes.
- Visa requirements – Entry policies may differ if you alter the destination country.
- Partner flights can change between United and partners like ANA or Lufthansa.
- Alliance partners – Won’t cover changes to other Star Alliance airlines.
- Longer call wait times – Increased demand can lead to longer phone queues.
Pro Tip: Avoid hassles by only changing international United flights with an agent on the phone who can walk through all nuances.
Permitted United Flight Changes When Using Miles
Did you book your original ticket using MileagePlus award miles? Here’s what to expect with changes:
- Date and route changes allowed – Standard awards can be rebooked like paid flights.
- Lower change fees – Starts at just $50 for general members, $25 for elites.
- Redepositing miles – Changed award seats return to your MileagePlus account balance.
- New mile costs – You pay any additional miles needed if a new flight is a higher price.
- Standby restrictions – Same-day changes may only allow standby seating.
- Award availability – Confirm desired new flights have award space before changing.
Pro Tip: Booking award flights using miles provides more flexibility to change flights than paid fares.
Tips for Changing a United Flight with a Lap Infant
Traveling with an infant under two who sits on your lap? Here are some special considerations when changing flights:
- Confirm ticketed adult passenger – The person holding the lap infant must change their ticket first.
- Update lap child details – Provide the infant’s name, birthdate, and gender when rebooking.
- Bring proof of age – Have their birth certificate handy for verification.
- Check bassinet availability – Ensure the new flight has bassinets open if needed.
- Review baggage allowances – Infant amenities like car seats and strollers may change.
- Confirm diaper changing – Request bulkhead seats with changing tables.
- Have backup plans – Bring extra diapers and snacks in case of delays.
Pro Tip: Avoid headaches by updating lap child details immediately once your ticket has been successfully changed.
How to Change Seats When Adjusting United Flights
Along with changing dates or routes, you may want to modify your original seat selections when rebooking flights:
- Check seat maps – View available seats on the new flights before ticketing changes.
- Act fast – Desirable seats get snapped up quickly after schedule changes.
- Utilize advanced seat assignments – Premier elites and some credit cards provide early access.
- Pick a couple of options – Have a backup choice if your first seat preference is taken.
- Consider Economy Plus – Extra legroom seats for a fee may be worth it for long flights.
- Request special seats – Contact United to block adjoining seats if family travel.
- Check aircraft – Confirm the new flight is not a change to a smaller regional plane.
Pro Tip: Don’t assume you can pick the same seat on a changed United flight – be flexible and ready with alternatives.
Changing Flights on Award Tickets Using United Miles
Did you redeem MileagePlus miles for your original United ticket? Here’s a quick overview of change options and fees:
- Permitted changes – Modify date, route, and cabin class like paid tickets.
- Lower costs – Just $125 for Premier 1Ks, and $50 for general members.
- Redeposit miles – Canceled flights return miles to your account automatically.
- New mile costs – Pay any additional miles if the new flight now costs more.
- Elite benefits – Premier members enjoy higher mileage redeposits and lower fees.
- Partner awards – Policies also apply to Star Alliance partner award tickets.
- Standby risks – Same-day changes may be on standby only, depending on the fare.
Pro Tip: Booking United award tickets with miles offers the maximum flexibility for hassle-free flight changes.
Understanding United’s Schedule Change Policy
If United happens to adjust the departure time for your booked flight, here is how schedule changes are handled:
- Within 1 to 2 hours – The new time is automatically confirmed if United changes the time by under two hours. You can optionally request a different flight for no additional charge.
- Over 2 hours – For time changes more significant than two hours, you can reject the new time and rebook any flight within two weeks of the original date while waiving change fees.
- To/From and Layovers – Adjusted connection cities or lengthier layovers follows the same > 2-hour policy.
- Notifications – United will notify you via email, app, or phone about significant schedule changes.
- Alternate flights – If your original flight was canceled, you can choose any United flight without changing fees.
- Partner flights – Policies also extend to Star Alliance partner flights booked initially through United.
Pro Tip: Set schedule change alerts on the United app and monitor emails closely leading up to your trip to stay on top of any revisions.
United Airlines Date Change Policy
The flight policy of United Airlines was recently changed. Under the new policy, passengers can change their flight ticket date for free without incurring penalties up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.
How to Change Your Flight Date on United Airlines
Whenever you need to make changes to your flight reservations, you can change your flight date with United Airlines. You may need to make changes since airline tickets are purchased 60 to 90 days before the flight’s scheduled departure. The procedure listed below can be utilised to change the date of a United Airlines flight.
- Use United Airlines’ official website or mobile application.
- On the main page of the airline’s official website, click “My trips.”
- To change the flight reservation, select the “change flight” selection.
- To change the flight information, choose “edit.”
- Click “confirm,” then save the updated ticket for later use.
The flight information can be changed to suit your needs and preferences. Updating the flight details is hassle-free for you because all the information is provided in detail on the official website.
United Airlines Change Return Date
Use these procedures to change your United Airlines return date:
- Go to the United Airlines website.
- Access your account by logging in.
- Open “Manage Reservations” from the menu.
- Find the flight you have reserved and click “Change Flight” or an equivalent option.
- Select a new return date by following the instructions.
- Check and confirm all changes.
- Make any relevant fees or changes in fare.
Frequently Asked Questions About United Flight Changes
Here are answers to some common questions travelers have about modifying United Airlines reservations
When rebooking, you can upgrade to a premium cabin or downgrade to the basic economy. You just pay the fare difference in addition to any change fees.
No refunds are issued if the new flight you select costs less. The lower fare difference is provided as a future travel credit instead.
You can make confirmed changes up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure time for U.S. flights. Within 24 hours, standby may be the only option.
Yes, you can modify flights operated by United Airlines itself and partners like Lufthansa when within the same regions and class of service.
No, while United will show alternatives, you can be flexible with dates and routing as long as seats are available on the new flights you prefer.
Yes, as long as you have not boarded your original delayed flight, you can opt to book yourself on alternate United flights that better fit your schedule needs.
While flight changes constantly add some hassle, understanding United’s policies helps minimize stress when adjusting existing reservations. With flexibility, preparation, and a proactive approach, you can tackle modifying United Airlines tickets as smoothly as possible, even with last-minute changes. Having a game plan to act quickly, utilize online tools efficiently, and take advantage of change fee waivers or rebooking exceptions can help reduce headaches.
Though changing flights is never fun, United does aim to provide customers with options to handle unexpected life curveballs. By going in with the correct information and strategies, you can successfully reschedule upcoming United travel when unanticipated circumstances arise. Safe and happy travels!