Rumor: Delta About to Make Changes to Same Day Confirmed Policy

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Delta’s Same Day Confirmed policy is one of the reasons I strive to maintain Gold or higher status every year- you can change to a different flight within 3 hours of departure as long as they are selling at least 1 seat in your ticketed class of service. I’ve confirmed onto flights that had 100 person standby lists because there was 1 full-fare ticket still available for sale. I’ve SDC’d to connecting flights to rack up more miles and on many occasions I’ve been able to SDC onto flights that had first class available, which saved me from flying in coach (the horror!)

However, there’s been a lot of chatter lately about a potential change to this program  Flyertalker AndyMo99 talked to a Delta insider who shared the following info (note this is not confirmed and I reached out to my Delta rep who said “no announcements have been made”):

  • The desired flight must have availability in the originally ticketed fare bucket, not just the same cabin of service.
  • Fee waiver for GM/PM/DM only applies if the desired new flight is within 3 hours (before/after) the ticketed flight. Otherwise, $50 fee applies.
  • The SDC request must be made before the departure time and on the same day as the ticketed flight. (You don’t have to wait until 3 hours before the desired flight.) With redeye flights, it can be on the same day or the prior day.

Some additional comments:

  • If on a redeye (say a 1am departure), you can move to any time the prior day.
  • You can SDC a single ticket multiple times. I can foresee GM/PM/DM doing this repeatedly to change a 5pm departure to 6am without paying the $50 fee for >3 hours.
  • Still not allowed on int’l itins.

There is a new option of “paid standby” being rolled out at the same time:

  • $50 fee, waived for GM/PM/DM.
  • The standby request must be made before the departure time and on the same day as the ticketed flight. With redeye flights, it can be on the same day or the prior day.
  • No change to routing allowed (eg connecting to nonstop)
  • Only allowed for earlier flights than ticketed, with exception for GM/PM/DM.
  • If you don’t clear the standby, you roll to the next flight.
  • There has to be availability in the same CABIN as ticketed, not just the same fare bucket.

The originally ticketed fare class would be a major blow to the program. If you buy cheap fares, the chances of a cheaper fare classes decreases greatly in the hours leading up to the flight. I just pulled up today’s remaining LGA-ATL flights on Expertflyer and T fares were only available on one of 6 flights. Right now you’d be able to change to any of the current flights no matter what your fare class, but with the new program you’d have only 1 option (the latest flight) if you bought a T fare.

Laguardia- Atlanta current fare availability
Laguardia- Atlanta current fare availability

The changes are allegedly being announced April 16, 2013 so we will have to wait and see what, if anything, changes, but they don’t look good. As a reminder, here are some of the other airline policies for same day flight changes.

Current Policies
Air Canada:  Same-day confirmed change at the airport is permitted to either an earlier or later flight on the same itinerary for a charge of $75 (Cdn) for passengers holding either an Economy or Executive cabin confirmed Aeroplan ClassicFlight or ClassicPlus flight reward on Air Canada and/or Air Canada Jazz. Same-day changes are subject to availability. Same-day standby at the airport is permitted for earlier flights within North America-free of charge-for passengers holding a confirmed Aeroplan seat on Air Canada and/or Air Canada Jazz in the Executive cabin only. Departure and arrival cities must be the same as the confirmed flight. Same-day standby must be requested at the departure city, once the member has checked in for a confirmed flight.

AirTran: $25 per segment. Customers may reserve a confirmed seat on an earlier flight to the same destination. Or, customers have the option to standby for another flight to the same destination at no charge. These options are only available at the airport on the day of travel.

American: $75 for a confirmed change for everyone.  The alternate flights must be for your same itinerary and your flight change can only be confirmed within 12 hours of departure of the desired flight and subject to availability that only phone agents can see (does not correspond to any available fare classes). Standby is free for Elite members (any level), Active U.S. Military personnel traveling on orders or personal travel, oneworld® Alliance Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby members, Customers flying on the same reservation as an American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum or AAdvantage Gold member or oneworld Alliance Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby member regardless of frequent flier status or fare type , AAirpass® members, First and Business Class MileSAAver® or AAnytime® Awards.

Delta: Free for Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallions, but not their companions. $50 for everyone else.  You canc hange from a connection flight to a nonstop/direct flight within 3 hours of the flight you want to switch to. So if you have an 8am flight and want to take an 8pm flight, that’s okay, but you have to wait until 5pm and hope there is still Y availability at that time. You cannot SDC on domestic legs of an international itinerary and a $150 fee applies to restricted Delta Shuttle fares requiring changes outside of the SDC window. You can SDC on award tickets. Standby is only for Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallions.

JetBlue: $40. You can confirm to a new flight beginning at midnight (in the time zone of the departing flight) of the same calendar day as your original scheduled flight. You must travel on an earlier or later flight the same-day. You must travel between the same city pairs.

Southwest: You pay the difference in fare for the flight you want to switch to. No official same day change program.

United: Free for 1k, Platinum and Gold, $75 for non elite/silver. The same-day flight change option will be available within 24 hours before your originally scheduled flight. The requested flight can be in any fare class and be departing within 24 hours from the time the request is made. Changes must be made prior to your original scheduled flight.

US Airways: “Move Up” to any earlier flight on the same day of your originally scheduled departure time at the airport (with the exception of flights to Hawaii and Europe). You can only make day-of-departure changes at the airport (and not by calling Reservations).
If there are open seats, you can automatically confirm your reservation for $50 for flights within the 48 contiguous United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and Alaska. Standby is free if there are no confirmable seats available.

Virgin America: $25-$50 depending on flight length. On the day of departure, if you are at the airport and there are seats available on your desired flight, you can confirm a change for a fee on an earlier or later flight. Long Haul Flights (such as New York to San Francisco) – $50. Medium Haul Flights (such as Los Angeles to Seattle) – $35. Short Haul Flights (such as San Francisco to Las Vegas) – $25.
If there are seats available on your desired flight you may also standby for no fee, however, this is not a guaranteed seat. In either case, the change must be done at the airport prior to your scheduled flight.

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