United Airlines’ INSANE New Schedule Change Policy

Filed Under: United

Update: See here for how United initially tweaked this policy, given the backlash. Then they updated the policy again.

This is actually one of the most outrageous policy changes I’ve ever seen from an airline, especially when you consider that it’s being done during the coronavirus outbreak. If I didn’t know any better I’d assume that this was a story from “The Onion,” but nope…

United Airlines makes it harder to get a refund

Sometimes airlines will have schedule changes in advance, where they adjust the time of your flight as they try to optimize their schedules. Historically United Airlines let you refund your ticket for free if there was a schedule change of at least two hours.

With United Airlines’ brand new policy, the airline won’t let you refund your ticket unless the schedule change is for at least 25 hours.

A schedule change needs to be at least 25 hours to get a refund

In other words, if you’re scheduled to fly today and United chooses to cancel the flight and rebook you on the same flight tomorrow, you have no option to refund your ticket. Yes, even though they’re not flying you to your destination the same day.

The airline will do what they can to rebook you sooner, but in many cases that won’t be practical, not to mention as a consumer you shouldn’t be forced to take a flight that you didn’t actually book.

What is United Airlines’ motive for this policy?

Clearly this is pure desperation on the part of United at this point, and perhaps points out how bad of a position they’re in with future bookings due to coronavirus.

United Airlines is planning on reducing their schedule and cutting flights, but they don’t actually want to give people the ability to cancel their tickets and get a refund.

United’s explanation for why they’re making this policy change is so disingenuous:

“We recently announced a significant reduction of our international and domestic schedules and as a result, we expect more customers to be impacted than normal. This policy change allows us to accommodate our customers by offering more options to rebook their flights.”

Yes, United is literally attempting to say that this policy change allows them to “accommodate customers by offering more options to rebook their flights.”

I’d love to better understand how this allows United to offer more rebooking options?

This policy change gives consumers more rebooking options, somehow

This is why people hate airlines

This policy change perfectly sums up why people hate airlines:

  • As of March 3, United Airlines introduced a liberal policy for making flight changes for newly booked tickets only, which was clearly an attempt to drum up business, rather than any sort of attempt to show concern for customers
  • If you booked your ticket on March 2, you have a bad cold, and United changes their schedule by 24 hours, you’re out of luck, though; get ready to fly!

This just further shows the lack of balance of power between airlines and consumers in the US. Need to change your flight time by a couple of hours? That’ll probably cost you hundreds of dollars. United needs to change your flight time by 24 hours? Deal with it!

This will negatively impact many people scheduled to travel to Asia

Bottom line

I recognize demand for air travel is down significantly. I feel bad for airlines. However, to me it’s a special type of awful to make it even harder for people to get a refund at times like this.

It would be bad enough to change this policy during good times, but to change it during bad times makes it even worse, and to change the threshold for a refund from two hours to 25 hours is an outrageous jump.

Does anyone not think that United’s new schedule change refund policy is completely ridiculous?

Comments
  1. Everyone affected by this should initiate a chargeback and/or file a complaint to the DOT. This is no joke.

  2. @ Ben — We will now, for this first time in 20 years and 6 million flown miles, actively avoid an airline. Good job United.

  3. DOT complaints. Seriously. And chargebacks. United clearly can not deliver on the product it’s selling.

  4. Other airlines have customer-unfriendly policies, too.

    I’m currently unable to make free changes with LH. I have tickets which fall under Lufty’s coronavirus waiver policy. On alternate dates, I found flights in the same booking class. Same routing, same operating carrier as well.

    Yet LH is unwilling to rebook me unless I pay a fare difference in the amount of roughly 100% of the fare I paid. I let agents run through numerous options and they couldn’t find a single one without such a ridiculous fare difference for me.

    Fortunately for me, my tickets are cheap. I heard about another guy with tickets in First (booking class A) which can’t get a rebooking without shelling out an additional EUR 1000 or so. And he has no choice, LH is cutting First flights like crazy.

  5. This is absolutely unbelievable!!! United is totally shafting consumers!!! Everyone should totally boycott United, and let everyone know about this policy. I, for one, will post about this on Facebook and won’t buy any United tickets. This may even be a violation of consumer protection laws in some states as you are not getting what you paid for.

  6. Looking forward to (poorly paid) UA plant Henry LAX explain away this “industry leading” change

  7. This says it applies only to involuntary refunds. I read that to mean United will no longer force a refund on you based on only a 2 hour change. That does, in fact give them more rebooking options. Looking at their site, it still seems refunds will be given if requested.

  8. I just booked and paid for a ticket last night with United. I will be cancelling and fully refunding that ticket today. I don’t have time or energy to play THEIR games.

  9. Joe’s point is key

    What does “involuntary refund” mean?

    His reading of the meaning of “involuntary refund” makes more sense than Ben’s

  10. Unless contract law is very unusual In the USA I suggest United cannot unilaterally decide how they will discharge their contractual obligations. Rebooking someone more than 24 hours later than the original departure is having a laugh.

    Perhaps they are trying to create the impression that the passenger does not have a choice. If he/she then accepts the change United are off the hook.

    This needs to be tested in court.

  11. I am scheduled to fly to a foreign country, on March 12. Because I have a non-refundable ticket, they will not work with me. The country is experiencing high Coronovirus Outbreaks. It almost feels like I am being forced to travel, and “Risk” my life, rather than postpone the flight and travel during a safer time. Great job United!

  12. @Joe
    @JRMW

    This is for simplification purpose.
    “involuntary refund” means the airline can’t get you from A to B according to your ticket and you can get a full refund even on non refundable ticket.

    “voluntary refund” means you just want a refund even if your flight is on time.

    You really need to read the contract of carriage sometimes. You will understand often it is us who breach the contracts not the airline.

  13. While I hate why they’re doing, I see what they’re up to. My UA flight from DEN-LHR the other day was only about 50% full in J and Y. If they start having a consistent pattern of <50% on daily international flights, they could easily switch to only operating an almost full flight every 2nd day. This policy would make it a hell of a lot easier to do it.

  14. With terminology out of the way.

    United is trying to hold on to cash. Just like the last free change exception for new bookings.

    I don’t know if cash reserves are low already or they are just trying to build a safety net. Either way, United is obviously hoarding cash. Expect DL AA to follow.

    We can also predict a large number of schedule change or cancellations in the summer due to the lower demands. So UA will inevitably need to refund a lot of bookings under the old policy. Now they don’t.

    So yes, expect a lot of summer schedule change coming to UA.

    What I think is worse coming out of this is when the dust settles, will UA change it back to 2 hours or this will stick forever.

  15. AlanD, I think a lot of people are simply waiting for the flight to be canceled or a broader waiver to be issued, and not proactively canceling. Remember there was no waiver issued for flights purchased before March 3rd, so a lot of people are waiting for the situation to get worse and hope the options become more appealing than having to pay a cancellation fee.

  16. Really what they are trying to say is that United Airlines is the new Frontier Airlines.

  17. I warned everyone of this week ago when they were all applauding the Big Three for allowing changes. I knew it was just a scam. As many are now saying here, try and rebook with a date change and expect to pay significantly more as they cut back flights and raise fares as a “bait and switch.”

  18. Why is my life “LESS IMPORTANT” than the life of someone sho books today through the end of the month??? You are not allowing passengers who booked a month ago, but only going forward. Yet, your new fee waivers make it sound like you care for your customers ?!?

  19. I’m a 1K, getting ready to book a significant overseas trip from IAD. Guess who I will NOT be booking it with.

  20. This is nonsense. The previous 2-hour rule made sense. I travel for trade shows and book 8+ months in advance, with travel often on Saturdays. Saturdays are the #1 day for schedule changes since it’s the slowest travel day of the week. Often I’ve had a flight departing Saturday at 6pm moved to Saturday at 8am — no good if the trade show runs until Saturday afternoon. It was also a quick call and then a refund or reboking, since it was at least a 2-hour schedule change.

    This is just going to piss off customers more, though I’m sure most flyers aren’t aware of the new policy, so will continue to book with UA.

  21. This strategy is clear. They don’t want to fly empty planes.

    So the Newark-Brussels flight has a light load on Tueaday? There’s “been a schedule” change to same flight Wednesday. And if you were supposed to take it Thursday? Nope, now you’re on the Wednesday flight and poof, there’s a full plane!

    This is a hedge. United can sell tickets and have flights on the books if the situation improves but leaves them the maneuverability to collapse schedule quickly whenever they want.

    I can visualize the meeting in the conference room in Chicago with all the white boards full when they came up with it.Someone got a bonus at the end.

  22. This also is classic United – announce something good, then immediately counteract it with something bad

    Announce new 1K benefits (pre-boarding), then jack up qualification rates right away

    Announce new PlusPoints scheme (generally positive), then blow up your mileage qualification plan right away

  23. My least favorite thing about United are the ghost fares. I can see reward flights posted for days, weeks, and the fare really doesn’t exist. I have to spend time on the phone asking them to check. I don’t have this issue with Delta, the main airline at my local airport.

  24. @ Joe — But that’s not United’s current policy. They don’t automatically refund you if you have a two hour schedule change. “Involuntary” refers to the schedule change happening against the will of the customer. At least that’s my interpretation, and I don’t see any other realistic way to interpret this.

  25. Well United won’t be able to get away with this policy for flight to and from Canada along with flights departing from EU as both Canada and EU have passenger protection regulations.

    I really encourage people to file DOT complaints and lobby their government officials to bring about a passenger bill of rights because it is long overdue!

  26. Warm cuddlies this does not create. Neither for passengers, nor staff, nor shareholders.

    A decision so horrible that not only can PR spin not work, but it is on the list for how a large proud company will be studied in future MBA classes on learning from failures.

    Why fly the aggravating skies…. when the competition is friendly! Apologies to the slogan creators of yore.

  27. United should grandfather pre-March 7 bookings at the 2+ hour schedule change and only impose the new 25-hour schedule change on post-March 6 bookings. It’s unfair to impose new rules on pre-existing bookings.

  28. Unless UA is the only airline at your home airport why even bother flying with them? They’ve been deteriorating for years and they took the great Continental Airlines with them. Screw UA.

  29. @UWS_T – you might be ignorant to this, but it was Continental “leadership” (thanks Jeff $misek!) who took over the combined airline and ran it into the ground for 4 years

  30. They’re about to get a massive Government subsidy to keep them above water. Just like in 2009.

  31. Lucky – You feel for the airlines? They have done everything in their power during their times of greed to nickel and dime the public and make flying even less attractive than it was 5 years ago. They have enjoyed record profits for years on our backs. We have said let the next downturn occur. We might be there to reset this cycle.

    And…..you feel bad for them?

    That’s laughable.

  32. Oscar Munoz is like the George W. Bush of airline executives. All his “changing United for the better” posturing was exactly as meaningless as Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” when you have the purely evil and greedy Scott Kirby (Dick Cheney) running the show. Together the duo has been far worse than Smisek and has ruined every last benefit of the doubt that customers have given them.

  33. While others say initiate a chargeback, I would recommend not only a complain to the DOT but also a letter to your Senator and Congressman/Congresswoman. If enough people complain, perhaps United will rescind this policy. Also, airlines are trying. to strip what limited protections still exist by changing the oversight the DOT has on various complaints. As such, perhaps bringing this to the attention of your federal lawmakers may provide an impetus to block these proposed changes as well as provide legislation that protects consumers from the various abusive behaviors exhibited by airlines.

  34. @UA-NYC: thank you for reminding everyone on here that Continental leadership took BOTH airlines straight to the toilet…Not United’s leadership team…!!!

    @Terrance: yes, just like every AA loyalist does time and time again, refusing to come to terms with the fact that the old US was better then AA @ this point…

    @Eskimo: THANK YOU for bringing up the contract of carriage , something most people have never even heard of, let alone read…FYI, its the CONTRACT you SIGNED with the airline when you bought the ticket…read it sometime, indeed, most of the time the airlines let us get away with murder…

    Lastly, my own .02c …1 of the big 3 often throw awful policies out there to see if the other 2 will follow…I wouldn’t be surprised to see if thats the case here…

  35. This is just yet another example of myopic management. UA cultivates its corporate contracts and global customers which makes fiscal sense, yet lack of communication over actions such as this one is further evidence that the rest of their customers are landfill. 1K is diminished with new restrictions and the higher spending $18K requirement. Management clearly wanted to trim their 1K loyalists and their continued poor decision making such as imposing this change on pre-existing bookings demonstrates a lack of vision and caring for customers.

  36. This is the time airlines and hotels will have to beg for customers to come back. Seriously, after you don’t fly or stay for a long time (in this case due to the virus concern) customers will have time to rethink their loyalty. United is doing everything wrong and I am not surprised. YTD stock prices, United is down 41% while Delta is down 21%. I had to cancel 3 Delta flights I booked before March 1st (date when they started waiving change fees) because my conferences or meetings were cancelled. I called them to cancel over the phone and the nice and polite agent waived all change fees without I even asked for. Now, who do you think will have my loyalty when things get back to normal?

  37. @Santastico

    The dilemma here is if the airlines are too generous and left without cash, there might not be an airline to be loyal to when things get back to normal.

    Better managed airline like DL would have a much better surviving chance than AA or UA. That’s why Delta can afford to return you your money. You can expect DL and especially AA to follow this, maybe not 25 hours but much worse than current policies.

    @JC

    This is not for DOT/Senator/Congressman/Congresswoman to force UA to refund you. Do it so DOT will implement better consumer protection like EU261 (but less draconian, otherwise airlines will charge us way more for just that).

  38. I’m so glad you pointed this out. I am going to be moving soon and Newark will become my primary departure airport. I am going to go out of my way to avoid flying on an airline that treats their customers this way. Shame on United for taking a bad situation and making it even worse for the flying public!

  39. Here is an idea for airlines to help with bookings and revenue during this time. Maybe actually lower prices? I’ve been looking at booking 2 separate trips this summer, one domestic and one international. For both of these, the prices of the flights are the same as they were back in December.

  40. Wow, this is literally the one good thing Dougie has ever done, is letting Kirby go. No doubt he’s the brains behind this draconian policy. Just abominable.

  41. Yeah, contracts of carriage generally state that flight times/schedules are not part of your contract. You buy a ticket, and in return, the airline promises to fly you from origin to destination at some point that is convenient to the airline. The fact that this is the legal status of air travel in the US is insane, and I would caution UA that, similar to the pharmaceutical industry, abuse of the lack of regulation will eventually result in regulations far worse than if they simply behaved reasonably.

  42. This doesn’t make any sense. As a business traveller, I am often doing same day turns or flying night before for a meeting the next day. A recent trip for me was SFO -> LAX -> BOS -> SFO in less than 48 hours door-to-door. If the airline cancels my outgoing flight to rebook me after my meeting, that would be a pointless flight for me (and would mess up the subsequent travel as well). A few pissed off business travelers are going to create a lot of headaches for United.

  43. I’m fying them CDG-SFO and they’ve changed the plane to a 787 and i had booked this particular flight so i can fly the polaris business seat! Annoying but nothing compared to this.

  44. This is such a dumb policy change, it’s begging the government to get involved and introduce laws around 2 hour flight changes being refundable.

    While the government gets involved, there could be other passenger friendly laws introduced to the detriment of airline profitability. I can see AA following this, hopefully Delta is smarter.

    Almost every airline change over the past few years has been Delta first (as they have the best run airline so can afford to devalue loyalty programs), then United/AA copying. This is why happens when United trusts their people to go first.

  45. This is late stage capitalism. The word monopoly is never used, and acquisitions are never barred. The companies can do whatever, because who will stop them? Laws for consumer protections are becoming rarer and less powerful, because the corporations are able to provide unlimited funding for the candidates that will do their bidding. This is what happens when airlines are allowed to consolidate into a tri-opoly. Vote Bernie or none of this will ever change.

  46. RE: Contracts

    It is fun watching non-lawyers argue the law on the internet.

    It is implicit in the transaction that “time is of the essence.” The airline does not have to promise to get you from A to B by X o’clock, because X is not THAT essential. Moreover, if it fails to do so, the contract of carriage rightly states that the airline cannot be held liable for follow-on costs. Nonetheless, if the airline cannot get you to your destination using reasonable means in a reasonable amount of time, then yes, it has not satisfied its part of the agreement. You are no longer bound by the contract and are entitled to be made whole–i.e., have the price of the ticket refunded. Some jurisdictions define whole more expansively (Canada, Europe).

    Many contracts of carriage are actually vague on what the window of reasonable is and I have had tickets refunded for as little as a 45 minute change because the change to an earlier slot was material–I would not have bought the ticket at the new time because it conflicted with other necessary activities. If you hold firm on this line, most airlines will recognize that the customer is actually in the right.

    On the other hand, when consumers violate the contract of carriage, the airline cannot simply say, you violated the contract of carriage, we do not have to carry you, and we get to keep all your money. The damages imposed by the customer to the airline are rarely that large. If they decided not to carry you, they could only keep an amount equal to their damages, unless you have specifically agreed to an alternative arrangement. In most cases, it just makes sense to agree to implicit changes to the contract, keep the fare, and get the passenger to the destination.

    If United is going to put 25 hours explicitly into the contract of carriage moving forward…you would be stupid to agree to it. Caveat emptor. If United attempted to apply the rule to tickets purchased previously, they would be in for a terrible class-action lawsuit.

  47. Hosea, we all do what we can. I am not a big travel blogger, but I can let my friends know what is going on in the travel world as a number of people read what I post since I travel to cool places periodically. I can reach more people posting on Facebook than by talking to them, but I will do whatever I can. What will hurt United is us talking with our money. Complaining to the DOT and Congressmen is useful, but doesn’t hurt United in their pockets. I am a lawyer and what would hurt is if every time someone gets screwed by United, that they file a consumer protection lawsuit, and they win, that would hurt United where it hurts. In both MA and CT, you can hire an attorney to represent you, and if you win, United would have to pay attorney fees. Plus they would have to pay double or triple damages. I imagine the consumer protection statues are similar in every state. And the statutes are written such that you don’t need a lawyer to represent you-you can file in small claims court. You first file a demand letter, and then if you don’t get your damages, you go ahead and file suit. Judges and magistrates are consumers just like us-so I imagine they would find in a consumer’s favor for something like this-ESPECIALLY for anything applied retroactively.

  48. @Richard You stated ” United is going to put 25 hours explicitly into the contract of carriage moving forward…you would be stupid to agree to it. Caveat emptor. If United attempted to apply the rule to tickets purchased previously, they would be in for a terrible class-action lawsuit.”

    It’s now official and confirmed on United’s website. I looked 2 of my 5 scheduled flights have already been changed more than two hours. This is reality, so any new on the class action lawsuit?

  49. “United is Satan’s airline.”

    Most people don’t know this, but Satan has Global Services status on UA. It’s his airline of choice.

  50. Once again, this is irrefutable evidence that airlines own our a$$e$. They can do whatever they want, and we have to take it like a b¡och. We should all complain to every single agency and government office we can. It’s our civic and moral responsibility. Consumers need more (any?) protections from airlines.

  51. 1) Vote with your dollars. Send a strong message to United that this policy is unacceptable by not flying them!
    2) Considering that it is now acceptable in this country to lie from the highest office on down I guess major corporations are making their own alternative facts: “ accommodate customers by offering more options to rebook their flights.”
    3) For years consumers have needed some type of protection against the airline industry but it’s always voted down. I’m sure they won’t start now but write your congressman anyways.

  52. Someone please help,

    United sent me a notice of a schedule change that entirely throws off my connection to another airline on the same reservation.

    my original date of travel was supposed to commence 4/27/20. Then I’d connect to a morning international flight on 4/28/20. Now United has pushed the flight back to 4/28/20 and so it will be impossible to connect to my Ethiopian Airlines flight.

    what should I do?

  53. Just dispute with your credit card. You aren’t getting what you paid for (transportation on a particular day). Case closed.

  54. This does not sound reasonable, esp as it may throw off people’s schedules and plans.
    They should give you a choice, we will rebook you within 24 hours OR you can opt to cancel or get a credit for future UA flights, but the choice should be the passenger’s.

  55. How does one define stupid?

    I think this change captures the total essence of STUPID (and why not throw unethical into the mix while we are at it)?

    If there was ever a chance I would fly UA the probability is now 0.

  56. Lucky stop trying to be a rebel rouser. Less than 1/10 of 1% of flights have a schedule change therefore it impacts very few. Stop trying to get more clicks.

  57. I was about to book three flights, two international, for travel in a couple of months. I was attracted to United’s generous change policy as it gave me options in uncertain times. Now I won’t book until much closer in, and not on United because of this new 25 hour angle. If United thinks they have a cash crunch now, just wait until millions of other people hedge their bets.

    United should be doing everything possible to get us back in the skies. Or do they think they can reply on another big taxpayer bailout to see them through?

  58. @Jr – Have you heard about COVID-19?

    It’s real, and it’s a thing.

    Everyone knows where you pulled your 1/10 of 1% metric.

  59. @Jr **rabble**, not rebel.

    And this pertains to all travel henceforth. Do you firmly believe that the next several weeks and months of travel will follow the same statistics as the rate you quoted?

  60. Is it coincidence I got an email just tonight with a five hour schedule change on an international United flight?

  61. As a loyal (captive) AA multi-million mile flier I want to personally thank Oscar for making AA look good – at least until AA shoots the same hole in their foot.

    Sadly, the average flier doesn’t read Lucky and has no idea this is happening or how to deal with it when it does. At least its a step up from dragging people off the plane and knocking their teeth out and killing dogs in the overhead.

  62. As a professional who travels, this creates for me a situation where flying UA is an unaffordable business risk. A 24 hour flight delay translates into lost revenue. So the message from UA is: “If your time is valuable, do not book flights with us.”
    And… I literally just had started to move my travel in UA’s favor.

  63. @SEM
    You make a great point about the United-Continental merger, one that remains a total head scratcher. Continental was a damn good airline; United not so much. Then the merger with Continental’s leadership, and they adopt United’s crappy customer service policies. That’s when I moved on to Alaska.

    Meanwhile, the contract of carriage is one you “signed” when you bought the ticket. How does an airline think they have a right to change that contract after the fact? Or did we sign a contract that gave them precisely that right? United is obviously bleeding cash, and I’m starting to wonder if they’ll come out of this downward spiral. Seems like a good time to buy airline stock, just maybe not United.

  64. The sad reality in the current environment is that you have to build in bigger buffers between flights no matter how inconvenient it might be. Sure, it may mean you’ll be slowed down a bit, or a lot, and more down time than normal, but things are not normal.
    James (remember him?) did a great article on this topic here a long time ago before Covid-19 was a thing, and at the time it seemed to be an abundance of caution; not now though, it’s a necessity!
    Find your own workarounds, assume nothing, and keep your blood pressure in check. I notice many commentators here today seem to be in heart attack country, spluttering about lawsuits, class actions, blah blah blah.
    How very American….

  65. This is why the United States is terrible. No airline would get away with this nonsense in the European Union.

  66. The suggestions made regarding contacting your Congress representative is laughable. I am not sure what you have missed in the last three years but this group is certainly not concerned about the consumer or the people in their districts. Well ok, if you think corporations are people too then I fall back to this administration and Senate could care less about you when put up against big business. To rub salt into this wound, don’t be surprised when more of your tax dollars are bailing out the greedy airlines.

  67. United is reducing frequency on many international flights from daily, hence the change of policy. It is a hedge, reducing costs/making routes temporarily more profitable, with a downside, upsetting many customers. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

  68. @JR: “Lucky stop trying to be a rebel rouser. Less than 1/10 of 1% of flights have a schedule change therefore it impacts very few. Stop trying to get more clicks.”

    Your statistics are completely wrong, due to Covid-19. Schedule changes are going to be the rule rather than the exception for the next few months as the airlines respond to changes in demand. In fact they’re already the rule, with huge numbers of future flights changed or canceled over the last few days.

    As for “stop trying to get more clicks” – yeah, do you also tell newspapers to stop trying to get more readers? Politicians to stop trying to get more voters? Supermarkets to stop trying to get more customers? I’m just perplexed at the logic here.

  69. I was supposed to fly to Israel with a stop in Frankfort Germany. United operated by Lufthansa has cancelled the flight on March 23rd. I bought be travel insurance but United will not make an “official” announcement yet? It’s on the news people! No flights going to Israel if you land in Europe! So what’s the hold up? I want a full refund as the insurance states but I can’t get the “proof” I need to process the claim!! WTF?!?!

  70. Typical (awful) United. At least they are consistent. Will continue to avoid at ALL COSTS.

    Incidentally, our son just cancelled an AA flight. Because we bought his ticket two months ago (PRE-Corona virus spreading), they charged him the $250 penalty. I think this is horrible. What they are saying is that we should have known ahead of time… REALLY? I think they should be refunding everything if they cannot deliver or it’s not safe to travel. I do feel for the airlines, but they should have insurance for such events. Anyway, they took over half of my son’s ticket away because he had to cancel his trip. It’s just not right.

  71. @Chris

    At least you got an email. Reading all this made me start to worry about making the connections on the 10 international trips I have planned and purchased with UA through July 2020. On checking them one by one, turns out THREE (30%) of those flights had schedule changes, but all were matters of hours, not days’ difference. I note that although I am a 2M miler, 1K, I NEVER get an email telling me about any schedule changes. And my settings indicate that I have requested them…but they never are sent or arrive.

  72. Etihad charged my wife two thousand dollars to move her flight 2 weeks earlier as she did not want to get stick in europe, she is the ONLY person in business on the flight!!!

    I told her to talk to customer service after but we will never book with them and I told her to get her company to change their policies.

    I would not mind but no one is flying, this is not costing them a penny

  73. I havent flown United in 3 years, this just reaffirms my decision to avoid them like the Corona-er, the plague. They truly are worse than Spirit now.

  74. Adding protracted delays in crowded spaces is not a Covid19 appropriate policy, so UA is putting revenue protection in front of passenger safety.

    One would think United would be encouraging those still willing/able to travel, but instead it is doing the opposite.

    I’m a 1K who is still flying and this change makes multi segment trips completely unpredictable. I am abandoning UA over this and will not return. As to my existing bookings…..

    @Dennis
    The logic is likely that 25 hours allows UA to cancel an international flight and consolidate the pax to the same flight on the next day.

  75. UAL waived all change fees this month to try to help its customers while also trying to stay alive as a company!!! Your flight MAY be rebooked on a flight the following day, which is frustrating, but you can change it (or cancel it) for a flight that is good for you …for free.

  76. How on earth does UA thinks this works with business customers? I know that a lot of them/us are grounded, but this is nuts to play chicken with your target audience. Reputation loss is fast and drastic Going to take them a while to turn that one around. AA won the lottery for now with this one.

  77. What a total nightmare this will be for business travel. I often have separate reservations on consecutive days.

  78. To me they’re not United. They should be called Divided. They’re separate you from your families and where ever you’re trying to get to.

  79. Here’s why it’s 25 hours despite what united says. Many of the united current and expected future international schedule changes involve moving flights from daily to a few times a week. So your Tuesday flight gets canceled, they move you to the same flight on Monday or Wednesday exactly 24 hours earlier or later and they met their 25 hour requirement and you can’t use that as an opportunity to cancel. This also obviously works for 100% of their domestic flights as well since they can always get you to a domestic destination within a day. The continuous lies are getting tiring. Classy as usual.

  80. @Dan: “UAL waived all change fees this month to try to help its customers while also trying to stay alive as a company!!! Your flight MAY be rebooked on a flight the following day, which is frustrating, but you can change it (or cancel it) for a flight that is good for you …for free.”

    The problem with this “logic” is that the whole reason why UA put you on a flight 25 hr later is because after the schedule change, *there was no other US flight that arrived earlier than that.” So tell me: what UA flight that’s “good for you” would UA put you on, if a 25 hr schedule change doesn’t work for you?

    Now, if UA allowed customers to credit their ticket price to other airlines’ tickets, that wouldn’t be so bad – then your argument would make sense. But of course they don’t allow that, so it doesn’t.

    Let’s face it. In reaction to a global health emergency, UA is trying to protect its financial health by forcing its customers to do what it wants, or pay a huge price. That is the wrong way to keep afloat during the crisis. It is myopic, short-term thinking that is going to backfire.

  81. I am looking at United flights LON-NYC, the fares are through the roof – at $2000 one way – are they cancelling all flights and only want the top fliers? Norwegian flights are around $350 for dates I’m looking at.

  82. Ben, I appreciate your voicing these issues. Honestly though, I am not sure why I (or anyone for that matter) pens their frustration against the airline industry. It will do little good unless public opinion becomes so strong and an airline adjusts their policy or if FAA or DOT steps in and forces them. Sadly public safety and so called ‘family’ is not the driving force here – it is money.
    In the case of the 25 hour schedule change policy, would not the new apply to tickets purchase from here on out not to tickets purchased under the old policy/contract?

  83. Apologies if this is a duplicate but just pointing out that they cannot do this to flights involving Canada. Under the Canadian APPR, there is a right to a refund, under ss. 17(2), if:

    (a) the flight is cancelled;

    (b) the flight is delayed by more than 3 hours.

  84. I hear all the bad and angry comments towards UA – but what I don’t hear is the solutions that are needed! WE NEED CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS IN PLACE FOR AIRLINE PASSENGERS!

    Airlines shouldn’t be allowed to make these contractual changes like this!

  85. Discovered this morning when I checked our reservations to Italy for 4/28-5/11 trip booked mid-Feb. They NEVER sent notice that they changed our outbound flight time (12:00p to 6a) and layover airport (Dulles -1hr layover to Newark with 6 hr layover). Submitted full refund request since we 1)Can not leave before noon 2)Are returning via Venice 3)Italy is totally shutdown now 4) my doctor advises me (60+yrs w/ health conditions) NOT to travel due to Covid19, 5)Can’t use a voucher because rescheduling time off restrictions. We’ll see what they say

  86. How do you submit a full refund request. I cancelled my flight to Israel because our tour was cancelled and UA is only issuing a credit that must be used in the next 12 months. I have cancelled my tickets and received the credit. However, does anyone know if I can appeal that? And if there are circumstances where I can receive a full refund if the actual flight gets cancelled?

  87. My flight for June was missing its final leg of the trip. I called United this morning and the customer service rep was unwilling to budge and refund me DESPITE GETTING ME TO THE WRONG CITY.

    I seriously argued with this guy for 5 minutes about how ridiculous it was that I couldn’t get a refund for a flight to a different place. He put me on hold and found a flight to my destination with an extra layover and 12 hours later, getting me there at midnight.

    I told them it wasn’t acceptable and just disputed with Chase. Screw United.

  88. UAL just cnx my EWR to FCO and moved it back a day. So I’m now in their trap. I have an origination flight in from ATL to connect. All the same itinerary. They did nothing to resked the ATL leg. I’m going to wait until right before the flight is scheduled to see if they’ll allow me to cancel. If not there’s a slight workaround I know about only because I am friends from high school with a UAL res agent. She said I can use the existing reservation to book the cheapest flight possible and UAL will send me the fare difference as a flight voucher.no change fee. We will see. Nothing but a pathetic cash grab by UAL.

  89. Just filed 2 DOT complaints (one for me and one for my wife). Schedule change EWR-AMS on 5/1, which has us leaving 3:10 earlier, which I can’t (and quite frankly don’t want) to do at this point. When I booked the ticket, this would have justified a refund, but United unilaterally changed the terms and is now putting up a fight. Come at me United….

  90. I filed a DOT complaint regarding three tickets for my family that had a flight canceled, with the only possibility of rebooking being the same flight the next day (i.e., 24 hours later). A representative from United Customer Care called a few days later, and was very nice about it, telling me that she would go ahead and process my refund request. Before the end of that same day (today) I received emails from United saying that my tickets “don’t qualify for a refund.” No other explanation was provided. Seems like United is somewhat paying attention when a DOT complaint is filed, but that doesn’t appear to be enough to change their policy.

  91. Will avoid them int he future. Booked a NONSTOP flight Washington DC to Geneva Switzerland. The “rescheduled” – not a cancellation in their view – to a totally different flight on UA to Frankfurt – make me change to a smaller Lufthansa plane and continue to Geneva. No refund because this is not a significant change ?!? since arrival and departure time are similar.
    I am beyond furious

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