United Airlines Flight Change Policy [Change Flight Free]

So, you’ve booked a flight with United Airlines, but now your plans have changed. It’s a common situation, but what’s United’s policy on changing flights? Is there a way you can do it for free? Let’s jump into the specifics of United Airlines flight change policy.

Understanding an airline’s flight change policy can be a lifesaver when your travel plans are in flux. United Airlines, one of the world’s largest airlines, has policies in place to accommodate such changes. But how do they work? What are the fees involved? And most importantly, are there scenarios where you can change your flight for free? Let’s get these questions answered.

The Importance of Understanding United Airlines Flight Change Policy

The value of grasping United Airlines’ flight change policy isn’t to be underestimated. It serves as a compass, guiding you through the maze of travel adjustments. Knowing how to maneuver through the policy can save you both time and money, especially when your plans are uncertain or if unforeseen circumstances arise.

Imagine bookings made for a family vacation, several weeks or even months in advance. You’ve planned an elaborate getaway, making sure each detail fits perfectly into the grand scheme. Now, consider a sudden anomaly — a change in a work schedule, or an unexpected event that mandates a swift and immediate flight change. You’re left scrambling, trying to figure out how to adjust your plans. Inside such instances, it’s when the flight change policy comes into play.

To put it differently, without knowledge of United Airlines’ change policy, you’re stepping into the travel arena unarmed. The policy outlines the types and degrees of changes allowed on your ticket, the potential costs you might incur, and the timeline you should be aware of. It also provides details on exceptions and waivers, allowing savvy travelers to seize potential opportunities for change at no or lower costs.

To give you an idea, in certain cases of significant or involuntary changes, United Airlines might not charge a change fee. This depends on their ‘change in schedule’ policy which is useful when there are major shake-ups in your travel plans. Besides, elite members of the MileagePlus program might find the rules flexible around their reservation changes.

In short, understanding the airline’s change policy is like equipping yourself with a cheat sheet, ready to tackle any travel changes that may arise. The saga of your journey with United Airlines will become a more enjoyable affair, even when coping with the inevitable hiccups. It’s a tale that continues to unfold, creating narratives and lessons along the way.

Overview of United Airlines Flight Change Policy

Having known the importance of understanding United Airlines’ change policy, it’s time to investigate deeper into the topic. As United Airlines Flight Change Policy is an essential cheat sheet for all travelers, let’s dissect its key components and know-how to use it to the best of its potential.

Firstly, bear in mind that the change policy applies to all types of tickets, including Basic Economy, economy, business, and first-class. Irrespective of the nature of the ticket, you have the flexibility to change your flight subject to certain conditions and respective fees.

But, the fees you’re charged for flight change largely depend on the type of ticket. Generally, for domestic flights, the change fee can range from $0 to $400. On the other hand, for international flights, you could likely pay anything between $0 and $500. But don’t forget these are just the standard fees, and exceptions may apply.

Significant or involuntary changes such as delays, cancellations, or rescheduled flights by United Airlines may lead to a waiver on the usual change fee. For such involuntary changes or disruptions caused by the Airline, United’s policy ensures maximum flexibility by granting a ticket change without additional cost.

Also, Elite members of the United MileagePlus program also enjoy some perks here. The flight change policy has certain provisions that allow more flexibility for these Elite members in making reservation changes.

One caveat – always be sure to do changes within the stipulated timeline. United Airlines allows changes to flights up to 24 hours before departure. In the case of full fare Economy and premium cabin tickets, changes can be made until the moment of departure.

Common Fees for Changing United Airlines Flights

While the United Airlines flight change policy is designed to be flexible, it’s essential to be aware of the common fees involved. Certain circumstances result in particular charges so you need to be prepared should your plan change.

Unsurprisingly, change fees form a primary part of the policy. These charges vary based on the type of fare you’ve purchased and how close you are to the departure date. In the event that you booked a non-refundable ticket, you’re looking at a charge of $200 for domestic flights and up to $400 for international ones.

Fare Type Change Fee
Non-refundable Domestic $200
Non-refundable International Up to $400

There is a twist, though. If you purchased a Basic Economy ticket, the airline’s most affordable fare class, you ought to remember that changes and refunds are not permitted. The only exception would be if the change is made within 24 hours of the original booking, as mandated by US Department of Transportation regulations.

If your ticket is refundable, your situation considerably improves. These fares typically come with zero change fees or a marginal fee at most. But, it’s crucial to note that the cost difference between the original and new flight will still apply.

Deducting the change fee from your original ticket value gives you the residual value. This number gets applied towards your new flight. Say your original ticket cost $300, and you’re hit with a $200 change fee. You’ll be left with $100, which can help offset the cost of your new flight.

Although these fees may seem substantial, you’ll find comfort in knowing that there exist some leniencies and waivers, especially if your travel plans are impacted by unforeseen factors beyond your control. Make use of the flexibility offered especially if you fall under the category of elite MileagePlus members.

Scenarios Where You Can Change Your United Airlines Flight for Free

Bracing for unexpected changes can be daunting, but United Airlines has some policies in place that ease this burden. Knowing about exceptions and waivers in the flight change policy not only alleviates your stress but could save you money.

Generally, flight change fees are incurred when you revise your itinerary with United Airlines. Such was the norm until United recently updated its policy due to the pandemic and beyond. Now, United says goodbye to pesky change fees on most domestic tickets. This means if you’re planning a trip within the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, you’ve got some bonus flexibility.

United Airlines also offers Change Fee Waivers if you’re at the receiving end of an involuntary flight change. What’s an involuntary change? That’s when United changes your flight time, route, or date significantly without your consent. This type of change primarily happens due to operational factors or unforeseen circumstances like extreme weather or technical issues.

Last but not least the Elite members of United Airlines’ MileagePlus program hold the upper hand. For MileagePlus Premier members, free changes come as part and parcel of the club perks on any ticket type except Basic Economy.

The cherry on top? Even if you purchased a regular Economy ticket, unless it’s Basic Economy, you would still avoid those change fees if you make modifications 24 hours after your original booking. This rule stands thanks to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 24-hour reservation requirement.

So, take these scenarios into account when booking your flights with United. It’ll help you become a savvy traveler, allowing you to adapt quickly to any sudden changes.

Steps to Change Your United Airlines Flight

Got a sudden change in plans? No worries. Regardless of whether it’s due to an unexpected business meeting or a spontaneous mini-vacation, adjusting your flight schedule with United Airlines is easy. Here are the steps you’ll need to take when deciding to change your flight.

Start by going to the United Airlines website or app. Once you’re there, hover over the “Reservations” tab. From the drop-down menu, pick the option for “Manage Reservations.”

You’ll be asked to provide your last name and your confirmation number, which is usually a six-character alphanumeric code. This will take you straight to your booking details. From there, you’ll find the option to “Change Flight.”

Upon clicking “Change Flight”, you’ll be shown all available flights that match your specifications based on the destination, date, and time. Keep in mind that while the change fee may be waived for some types of tickets and elite MileagePlus members, the fare difference between your original and new flight will still apply.

Ensure that you carefully review all aspects of the new flight including the departure and arrival times, layovers, and overall flight duration. It’s also essential to double-check the change fee, if any, and the residual value of your original ticket that can be applied towards the new flight.

After you’ve selected your new flight, go ahead and confirm the changes. You’ll receive an email with all updated information, so make sure your contact details are up-to-date.

Remember, Basic Economy tickets do not allow changes or refunds, except within 24 hours of the original booking. Regular Economy ticket holders can avoid change fees if modifications are made within 24 hours. This is in line with the Department of Transportation’s 24-hour reservation requirement. For MileagePlus Premier members, changes are free on any ticket type except Basic Economy. It’s always good to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your own ticket to make the changing process as smooth as possible.


You’re now well-equipped with the knowledge of United Airlines’ flight change policy. You’re aware of the types of tickets covered, the fees involved, and the timeline to make these changes. You understand that Basic Economy tickets are non-changeable, except within 24 hours of booking. You’ve learned that refundable tickets offer the most flexibility, with minimal to zero change fees, and the difference in fare applies. You’ve also discovered the benefits of being a MileagePlus Premier member, including the privilege of free changes on most ticket types. You’ve grasped the significance of the 24-hour reservation requirement and how it can save you from change fees. Finally, you’re familiar with the process of changing a flight through the United Airlines website or app. Remember, being informed about the flight change policy not only saves you time but also money, especially when unexpected situations arise.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the United Airlines’ flight change policy?

The policy outlines the types and costs of changes allowed on tickets, which include costs for non-refundable domestic and international tickets, basic economy tickets, and refundable tickets. The policy also provides a timeline for making changes.

What types of tickets are under the United Airlines’ flight change policy?

The policy covers non-refundable domestic and international tickets, basic economy tickets, and refundable tickets. However, basic economy tickets do not allow changes or refunds, except within 24 hours of the original booking.

What are the fees associated with changing United Airlines flights?

The fees involved in changing flights include charges for non-refundable domestic and international tickets. While refundable tickets have little to zero change fees, the cost difference between the original and new flight still applies.

Are there any exceptions to the United Airlines’ flight change policy?

Yes, there are exceptions and waivers for unforeseen circumstances and for MileagePlus Premier members. Regular Economy ticket holders can avoid change fees if modifications are made within 24 hours of the original booking.

How can I change my United Airlines flight?

Flights can be changed by accessing the United Airlines website or app, navigating to the “Manage Reservations” section, providing the necessary information, reviewing available flights, and confirming the changes. Remember to review your new flight details and update contact information as necessary.

Is it possible to avoid change fees with United Airlines?

Yes, by making modifications within 24 hours of the original booking and for MileagePlus Premier members. However, Basic Economy ticket holders are not afforded this leniency.

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