Pay $287 to change an upcoming United flight

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Sep 20, 2019
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My daughter has had reservations for months to fly from Reagan National to O’Hare this coming Saturday May 16, 2020 to visit for a long weekend. She is thinking now of adding an extra day and fly home Friday May 15 so she can spend a little extra time with us. When she contacted United she found out that, indeed, she did not have to pay the $200 change fee but the flight from DCA to ORD is now $278 more expensive. Their website is very misleading reading that one can change a flight for no charge. Any thoughts or am I just over-reacting since I figured she could just fly Friday instead of Saturday for no additional fee. Thanks for ideas—there are always good ones out there!
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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Flight pricing is different on different days. Flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday are almost always less expensive than flying on a Friday. Friday is when many business travelers are coming home and demand is higher so flights cost more. A Friday flight is almost always more expensive than a Thursday flight. She is simply paying the difference in the fare. Plus flight schedules have been greatly consolidated because so many flights have been canceled. If you were to buy the ticket today it is more likely more expensive than when you originally purchased because there is more demand for fewer seats and also because they are not filling the planes as they used to because of social distancing.

The information says there is no FEE to change the flight, but not that the price of the flight will remain the same.

This also may be the future of flight pricing if the airlines are keeping middle seats open due to the pandemic. Experts are predicting flight prices might cost 50% more because the airlines can't fill all seats while this is going on.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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You misinterpreted the statement made by all airlines regarding change fees. There are change fees and there are various fares for different flights. Your daughter is not being charged the normal $200 to change flights but nowhere has an airline said that the cost difference between one flight to another will be waived. This has always been the case.

One question I have is are you doing the change via their website? If so, I would call them instead and see if an agent can find other flight options that are not being presented to you on their website.
 
Sep 20, 2019
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So I guess that holds for Saturday vs Friday flights also. She said it was just a more expensive flight and she would have to pay the difference. Guess this is a case where the kid is smarter than the parent! Thanks, Neil.
 
Sep 20, 2019
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I assume she was doing this all online. Maybe if she can get through to United that might help. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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So I guess that holds for Saturday vs Friday flights also. She said it was just a more expensive flight and she would have to pay the difference. Guess this is a case where the kid is smarter than the parent! Thanks, Neil.
Flights are generally higher priced on Fridays, Sunday and Monday than other says of the week. Saturday is usually less expensive and Tuesday - Thurs. usually the least expensive.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Lots and lots of people aren't familiar with the dynamic pricing of airline tix, majav, it's an easy assumption to make when they say you can change "for no fee". That is a whopping increase for a flight only half-way across the US. I agree with my colleagues, she should call and plead confusion and see what a United agent could do. I few tears about not being able to spend more time with her mother wouldn't hurt!
 
Sep 20, 2019
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Tears might work—we’ll see—otherwise she sticks to her original plan. Thanks!
 
May 30, 2019
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The types of pricing dynamics described in the other posts are not recent or necessarily related to the pandemic -- they've been around for years and years.
 
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Mel65

Mar 23, 2015
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All of the communication I've had with United regarding our trips that either have been cancelled or are in limbo, stated pretty plainly that Change Fees were waived; however, any fare differential would have to be paid. Of course, I think that's bunk for flights THEY cancel since it isn't by choice that a new flight has to be chosen, but that's not a battle I'm going to win :(
 
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Neil Maley

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It would be impossible for the airlines to guarantee the same pricing on a flight you already had. Pricing is based on time of year and dates so it is impossible to compare the exact same trips and price them accordingly.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Thanks, everyone. My daughter checked again online today and she was able to change her flight for $1–yes, one dollar. So all is well. I guess flights are moving targets right now.
FANTASTIC! So nice to heard good news once in a while! On Mel's post on rebooking without a penalty and keeping the same flight price, I don't know why United can't just let their agents do that. How hard could it be? Well, OK, a girl can dream, can't she?