Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
It can happen to anyone: You book a United flight, then days or weeks or months later, something comes up and you need to change it. When that happens, you’ll need to know the flight-change rules so you can take the next best step.
Here are the carrier's policies and how to change a United Airlines flight, whether you purchased it with cash or United MileagePlus miles.
United flight change policy
As of Aug. 30, 2020, United Airlines no longer charges change fees for travel within the United States for most fare types, except for basic economy tickets.
Here's what else you need to know:
Change fees are not charged for economy, Economy Plus, first, business and United Premium Plus fares.
The policy applies to tickets for travel within the United States (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean.
Additionally, there are no change fees for international travel that originates in the United States.
United change policies for basic economy fares
Basic economy tickets may be subject to a change fee, with certain exceptions.
Basic economy tickets for international travel issued by July 31, 2021, can be changed without a fee.
Basic economy tickets that were issued before April 30, 2021, can be changed. But most basic economy tickets issued on or after May 1, 2021, are nonchangeable and nonrefundable.
While the United flight change policy doesn’t allow for changes to be made to basic economy tickets issued on or after May 1, 2021, same-day standby is available to travelers.
United's standby policy
United Airlines has a new standby policy that began Jan. 1, 2021. Now, any United passenger can fly standby on a flight departing within 24 hours of their booked travel, no matter what type of ticket or class of service they purchased, without incurring a standby fee.
If you’d like to actually confirm your seat on a different flight instead of just stand by for it, that may be possible as well:
MileagePlus elite status holders, also known as Premier members, can confirm a seat on the same day with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket. They aren't required to pay a fee if the new seat is in the same fare class. If no seats are available in the purchased fare class, a fare difference may apply.
Non-Premier MileagePlus members and general nonmembers may be able to confirm a seat on another flight within 24 hours of the originally scheduled departure time. A fare difference may apply, even if the same fare class is available.
How to get on the standby list
To be on standby for a flight:
Add yourself to the standby list on the website or app, at an airport kiosk, or by talking to a United representative at the airport.
To do this online, through the app or at a kiosk, click on “View flight options.”
Keep an eye on the display screens near the gate for your new flight or track your standby status on the United app.
» Learn more: Valuable benefits of United Airlines credit cards
Can a change be made on the day of travel?
If you want to change a United flight on the same day of travel, you may need to pay a difference in fare, even if you’re able to get a new ticket for the same fare class as the original ticket.
MileagePlus Premier members are eligible to confirm changes for free when the original ticketed fare class is available on the new flight.
How to change a United flight
Figuring out how to change a United flight online is easy — just follow these four steps:
Log in to your account at United.com or through the United app.
Select “My trips” and “Change flight.”
Then click “Edit” to update your itinerary to another flight.
Your flight must have the same origin and destination and leave within 24 hours before or after your original flight. This option is available only for flights operated by United or United Express with a ticket number beginning with 016. If your new flight is more expensive, you’ll need to pay the difference.
If you prefer, you can also call customer service at 800-864-8331 to request a flight change.
Changing tickets booked with miles
If you bought an award ticket with United MileagePlus miles, you can change your flight online or by calling customer service. For a domestic flight or an international flight originating in the U.S., there’s no fee to change your flight.
» Learn more: What the United Airlines MileagePlus programs gets right
If you change your United ticket ...
If you have a change of plans after booking a United flight, you can usually switch to a different flight. In many cases, you won’t need to pay fees.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card