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United’s iPhone App – How to Change Your Flight for Free

Home » Blog – A Digital Nomad » Travel » United’s iPhone App – How to Change Your Flight for Free

United’s iPhone App – How to Change Your Flight for Free

All airlines need to model their mobile app after United’s iPhone App and offer to change your flight for free1. When you need a United Airlines flight change, there is no better way than to use United’s Mobile App. It is one of the most useful travel tools I have…when I am flying on United that is. Recently I have used British AirwaysAmerican AirlinesSouthwest AirlinesUS Airways, and Delta’s iPhone Apps. None of these Airline’s iPhone apps are as full-featured and easy to use as the United App.

United Airlines Flight Change

The absolute best feature of the United iPhone App is the ability to change your flight for free!1 The day of your flight United’s App gives you the options for changing your flight right on the app.united-airlines-iphone-app-reservation-3 It isn’t easy to find this menu item; it is like United App developers are trying to hide it from you, but once you find it, you will see what flights are free to switch to and which cost money. Easily changing your flight is great when your plans change at the last-minute. You can also use it if you want to stay longer or leave earlier than originally planned. No calling the 800 number to wait on hold forever, no standing in the line at customer service, and best of all – no change fee!

Here is how you change a United Airlines flight for free on the United Airlines iPhone App.

I am going to assume you can download the app and get it connected with your United Frequent Flyer account as well as navigate to the Reservation Details page. On the reservation page, you will see something like the screen capture on the left. This is my already checked in view of the flight I was about to board on my way to Chicago.

You will need to scroll down to the lower half of the page to see the button “change your flight.”

At this point to see how to change your flight you need to scroll down to the lower half of the page. When you are looking at in the screen capture on the right, it seems very obvious how to change your United Airlines flight (it is the “button” right above other options.) United-Airlines-iphone-App-Reservation-DetailsBut believe me, and others I have spoken to, when you need it the first time in the airport it is difficult to find. Not sure if it is the stress of needing to make the change or the fact that United calls it “Switch to Another Flight.”. Mostly it doesn’t look like something that is clickable.

The other thing that makes it difficult to see where to change the flight, or switch to another flight, is that it doesn’t look like all the other menu items. Your eye is trained to look for menu items and avoid advertisements. United has hidden the “Switch to another flight” menu item in a large bar with a picture that looks more like an ad than a menu item.

Clicking on this, which actually looks like a header for the “Other Options” menu items like change seats, Edit bags, or share flights, brings up the alternative flights list, seen to the left. You will see I have two flight options I can change to with the ability to confirm a seat at no additional charge!1

United App Flight Check-in

Another key feature is United’s iPhone App flight check-in. Checking in for a flight is simple and easy including getting your mobile boarding pass. In addition to this, United has added features that are very useful particularly when checking in on the go. You can change your seat, up till the gate takes over the flight, even after you have checked in already. Normally upgrades are all done by the 24 hour check-in time, but not always. These last-minute upgrades are usually frequent flyers who typically release the best seats, bulkheads, aisles, and exit rows. I always check-in 24 hours in advance to get put on the upgrade standby list. Then I keep checking for better seats to open up, and they often do.

United’s iPhone App also allows you to book flights, find flight status (helped when diverted from Narita to Osaka a while back), view your Mileage Plus Account, and airport maps. The App also lists all the United Clubs (which are free to use on International flights if you have Star Alliance Gold Status).

United Airlines flight change available flights

Where’s My Flight Coming From?

United Mobile App Flight Location View

A useful feature is “Where is this aircraft coming from?”. This feature shows your plane is when you run the check. Knowing where your incoming plane is useful to find out if your flight might be delayed or if it is delayed when it might leave. Sometimes an earlier flight is still at the gate, should you take it? This will help you decide if that would be a good idea or not. Then you can use the App to change your flight, select a new seat and get your new boarding pass. This came in helpful many times, including booking a new flight when I got stranded in Tokyo a while back.

A recent addition to the homepage is the UBER button, which doesn’t do much more than find your location and launch the UBER app.

And of course, you can save paper and time using their electronic check-in.

United got it right with a full featured application; that is extremely useful when on the go.

United Airlines Flight Change

In summary, the best way to make a United Airlines flight change is through the UA iPhone App. If you have Gold or higher status, the change is normally free. Is shows all of your options, seat availability, and schedule. Everything you need to make that last minute change. The UA iPhone App has many other features, making it a must have addition to your iPhone.

1 NOTE: To get a free flight change you must be at least a gold member on United’s frequently flyer program. You can still use this feature to change flights 24 hours prior to your flight time, however you might have to pay a fee.

2017-05-25T18:08:31+00:00 Tags: , |

About the Author:

I started my career at a start-up, Sun Microsystems, and have been at start-ups ever since. Small companies are always short on people giving me the opportunity to travel extensively for both business and pleasure. Two foreign assignments in the UK led to 9+ years living abroad and accelerated the travel my family, and I was able to do. Although I have worked in Asia (including a year working for a Singapore HQ’d company), the Middle East and Africa, most of my foreign experience is in Europe, the CIS, and Russia.

21 Comments

  1. Gerlinde de Broekert February 20, 2014 at 7:22 am

    I’ve been playing with my united app, but your blog helps. When I’m in a foreign country I rely on Wi-Fi , I need to get some data plan for emergencies.
    Thanks Mark

  2. How to Deal with a Flight Change August 23, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    […] the way to the hotel to rebook my flight for the 5:25pm flight the following day to SFO. I used the United iPhone App to find the flight and available seats first, but wanted to talk to a human to confirm the change […]

  3. Hani December 13, 2014 at 6:09 am

    I’m currently in Israel, and I fly back on United Air to Saint Louis on Dec.29. I have a 2-hour layover in Newark, but would love to extend the layover until the next day since I have a friend that lives in Brooklyn. Would it be possible to do that with the app?

  4. Marke Clinger December 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Potentially. I have found that you need Gold status on United to get the free changes. However, you can check the app within 24 hours of your flight. When you get to Newark check the United APP to see what your options are.

  5. Sheila Franklin September 30, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I am having difficulty finding where to change a flight on the app. I am not quite within the 24 hour window of my scheduled flight and thus have not checked in. This may be well be why I can’t find it. I do not see the screen shots you refer to in the post above and am wondering where to find them. Thanks so much! It is a great post BTW.

  6. Marke Clinger October 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    When you bring the United app up you will see several menu items displayed near the top of the app just under the United Logo. This will scroll to the left by swiping. Look for My Reservations. A box with your reservation overview will appear, click on that and then a menu will appear on the bottom. Click on Reservation Details. This will show your current reservation.

    You will need to be within 24 hours of your flight to see the Switch to another flight button.

    Thank you for your comment.

  7. Sheila Franklin October 2, 2015 at 5:37 am

    Thanks so much! I did find it once I hit the 24 hour period but it would not let me do it for free…might have been the fare category I was in but there was no free option…when I clicked on change my flight-it gave me options but all had the fee. Wondering if it could have been a “bug” in the app that was now fixed or like I said above-could well have been the fare category. Appreciate the reply though and the other tips on the app!

  8. Marke Clinger October 6, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    There could be two reasons for the fee showing up. One as you point out could be the fare class of your ticket. I have had this happen only once. The other is that you must be Gold or higher level to make the change for free. You would think that UA would want to get people out earlier in the day to avoid the congestion at the end of the day. Allowing travelers to change for free to lightly loaded planes or at the start of the day seems like it would make sense. Since it is all electronic it doesn’t cost them anything.

  9. Kevin October 8, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Hi- I can’t seem to find it. Do you know if the feature was removed from the app?

  10. Marke Clinger October 25, 2015 at 6:27 am

    You can still change your united flight on the app.

  11. Spiny December 2, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Hi, This page is wrongly titled. Can you please include that the change is free only for Elite customers and not for non-elite consumers, who are the majority?

  12. Marke Clinger January 1, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you for the clarification. I have added the gold membership or higher requirement for free flight changes to the article.

  13. Joyce Blom January 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    HI When you make flight changes, how do you get a receipt? Is there an easy way to do this with the App?

  14. Marke Clinger January 16, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Hi,

    Normally when you make a flight change you are sent an email with the receipt. Be sure you have an email associated with your United Mileage Plus account.

    Marke

  15. John July 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Just wanted to share my experience:

    I’m a Star Alliance Gold member (on Aegean Airlines) and I was able to change two separate flights for $0 each on a recent itinerary IAD-DEN. I paid $143 for the deep-discount class roundtrip fare, so it appears that *G status might get you the free changes as well.

  16. Marke Clinger October 12, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    John,

    Thanks for the comments. It is definitely worth getting to Gold status on Star Alliance to get the free flight changes.

    Marke

  17. Coco November 18, 2016 at 3:22 am

    Hi,
    I m in 24 hour window, do I have to check in first to see the change flight option in iPhone united app?

  18. Wende n November 28, 2016 at 12:24 am

    I think United removed this feature. I have used before but it’s no longer showing up as an option. This is as of November 2016

  19. Marke Clinger December 15, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    It is still there. Looked at it today to change a flight for tomorrow. It was there for a while, then it wasn’t. I am not sure why it is available part of the time and not at other times. I ended up calling United to get the change done.

  20. Nick81 December 15, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    I spoke to someone at United and they explained why the option to change is sometimes not there. In my scenario, each time I booked a flight that had multiple legs with a different fare class, I would never see the option to change the flight for free.

  21. Marke Clinger December 17, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Hi,

    Thank you for the clarification.

    I also found that if United doesn’t have an alternate flight in your flight class then the button won’t appear. I have seen some suggestions that 3 hours prior to departure United opens up the fare buckets. This would explain why sometimes the option to change flights comes back.

    I am flying tomorrow, I will test it out.

    Marke

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