New United Airlines rule change means no more free same-day travel changes

A new change at United Airlines can be summed up with “this sucks”. The change involves same-day flight changes. In the past, if a flight had open seats, you could change your ticket to a confirmed seat, without any fees. Additionally, you could often walk up to a ticketing desk, and have yourself added to the unconfirmed standby list for free – and if a seat opened up, you’d be on that earlier flight without any fees.

As of April 10, United Airlines wants $75 for a confirmed flight change, or $50 for an unconfirmed standby request. Thankfully, the $50 fee only applies if you actually get a seat. Some other exemptions are made for United Global Services and 1K elite members, and members traveling on standard award tickets and full fare tickets. The change is just another in a long list of services that used to be free. This one is especially confusing, because in many cases, moving passengers around can actually benefit the airline, by moving people off otherwise overbooked flights onto flights with empty seats. Since there are no apparent savings, the measure is just another way for the airline to make money off you.

George Hobica over at Airfarewatchdog has put together an updated chart with the new changes, which helps prepare yourself for the shock of having to hand over hard earned cash to your airline. You can learn more about the changes over at