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 Airways, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, US 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. 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.) But 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).
Where’s My Flight Coming From?
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.
1NOTE: 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.
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.