Wouldn’t it be nice to leave a little early if you booked a late flight? Or perhaps your meeting at the office is running late and you’d like to catch the last flight of the day. With Same-Day changes, it is possible – this type of flight change mostly applies to US airlines as other airlines around the world do not really have a similar concept available.
What is Same-Day Flight Change?
As the name suggests, a same-day flight change (SDC) is when you change your flight to another flight on the same-day. Different airlines define same-day differently – some define it as same calendar day while others define it as a 24 hour period.
If you’re booked on a flight and there are other available flights and you’re flying on an eligible itinerary, you may be able to use the Same-Day Change feature to switch to a different flight for a lower cost or no cost at all.
Rebook Flights vs. Same-Day Change
The difference between these two is that when you go to change your flight, you are re-pricing the entire itinerary and the change may cost you a significant fare difference plus a possible change fee.
When you take advantage of the Same-Day Change feature, most of your other fare rules are disregarded and instead you can swap flights within a similar timeframe for a fixed cost and don’t need to rebook the whole ticket.
How Do You Request a Same-Day Change?
When you’re checking in for your flight on the website of the operating airline, you may see a link that says “change flights” or “view other flights”. You will only see a link if your itinerary is eligible. If you’re flying in Basic Economy or internationally, you may not be able to make changes.
The link could also not show up if there are no other flights that qualify for a change to, or if they are full.
What Airlines Offer Same-Day Changes?
Most US airlines offer this feature and a few other international airlines may as well, but their policies are most likely not as generous.
How Much Does a Same-Day Change Cost?
A same-day change is usually free for some elite members and perhaps those traveling in a premium cabin.
Otherwise, a same-day change could cost as little as $25 up to $75 per flight, and in some cases it could be more. Every airline has their own rules and some airlines may only allow you to make a change if your exact fare class is available on another flight, while other airlines may allow you to make a change as long as a physical seat is available.
How is “Same-Day” Defined?
Every airline defines “same-day” differently. For example, with United Airlines it usually is 24 hours. That means if you’re flying on Monday night, you could swap to a Tuesday afternoon flight – pending availability.
Other airlines, like Alaska Airlines for example, usually only allow you to swap flights on the same calendar day – so you usually wouldn’t be able to move flights to another day. Every airline has their own policies so be sure to read about them before booking your ticket if you’re planning to take advantage of this feature.
Other Same-Day Change Notes
While every airline has their own rules for some-day changes, some airlines are more flexible than others. For example, I find that United Airlines has the best policy – not only can you move flights to a different day, but you may also be able to swap a connecting flight for a nonstop flight. Other airlines may not allow this and instead would only let you same-day change to a similar routing.
Some tickets are not eligible for SDC and every airline has different criteria.
Same-Day Standby may be available if there are no seats on the flight you want to change to. This would work on flights before your flight as you wouldn’t want to miss your confirmed flight to standby on later flights without knowing if you’re getting a seat.
All in All
I’ve used Same-Day Change a ton of times and it really helps me plan out my trips better. It’s always nice to switch to a different flight for a low fee or no fee if you want to modify your travel plans last minute. SDC is also useful for potentially getting upgrades since you can monitor availability on flights and then SDC to a flight that has more premium seats on the day of departure – which could increase your chances of sitting up front. More airlines should introduce the ability to SDC your flights because the flexibility offered by this feature is amazing.