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Ticketing Guidelines

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Authorization

To receive authorization to sell United UA/016 tickets and services, a travel agency must first be fully accredited with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) or the Internatioal Air Transport Association (IATA). Contact ARC or IATA directly to obtain country-specific accreditation information.

During the accreditation process, ARC or IATA will review the agency’s information to ensure that it meets authorization guidelines. After the agency successfully completes the process, the agency is provided authorized access for booking and ticketing through the agency’s GDS.

In addition to ARC or IATA approval, a secondary accreditation process is required for some agencies, including new agencies or agencies that changed ownership and are located in a state or district listed below:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Virgina
  • Washington, D.C.

In these situations, United will contact the agency for additional documentation. For more details on this secondary accreditation process, please see the ARC Agency Handbook or IATA Agency Handbook. Authorization to sell United tickets and services is contingent upon compliance with United’s policies and guidelines for bookings, inventory availability, ticketing, refunds, exchanges, tariffs and commission. Violations or failure to meet these guidelines may result in loss of an agency’s appointment, which will prohibit participation in the sale of United transportation and services, including booking active and passive segments or claiming United segments in any computer reservation system.

Change fees and penalties
  • Change fees and penalties may vary by markets and fare basis types. Agents should always consult the fare rules before quoting change fees and penalties.
  • Once a ticket has been reissued, the new issue date will determine the change fee amount.
  • If several different fares are used for an itinerary, each segment may have different change fees. The fare with the most restrictive rules applies.
Infant tickets

Children under the age of two traveling within the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands with a parent or with an adult 18 years or older can travel on the adult's lap free of charge. Children under the age of two traveling internationally (including children traveling to Canada and Mexico) without a seat are required to purchase a ticket and are subject to infant fares and taxes. United can receive, accept and process infant tickets issued from other airlines, GDS and system providers that have an interline ticket agreement with United. For more details, visit the Traveling with Infants page.

Additional Information

  • Infants who have their second birthday during their trip (after their outbound flight) are required to occupy their own seat on a purchased ticket for any remaining flight(s).
  • Children younger than five years old are required to travel with an adult who is at least 18 years old. They cannot travel as an unaccompanied minor.
  • One lap child is allowed for each adult who is 18 years or older. An exception to this rule is made for parents under the age of 18 years.
  • Mandatory SSR: For infants occupying a seat, the car seat must be placed in a window seat on one-aisle aircraft. For two-aisle aircraft, the car seat must be placed in a window seat or a middle seat of the center section. After assigning the appropriate seat, add the SSR to the travel plan.
  • Contact your GDS with questions about whether or not an interline ticket agreement exists with United that allows infant ticketing on United-operated flights.
International conjunctive tickets

U.S. taxes exemption with international conjunctive tickets

Side trips within the U.S., when ticketed at the same time as international transportation to or from the U.S., are tax-free when the U.S. domestic ticket is cross-referenced properly on the international ticket. To qualify for the exemption, the domestic air portion must be a direct connection within 4 hours of the international transportation arrival.

Ticket documentation

Ticket documentation must be placed on both the domestic and international tickets, each referencing the other ticket. Notations should be placed in the OSI field for ARC agencies or the endorsement box for BSP agencies.

  • The domestic ticket notation should include origin or destination of the international travel, carrier name (air or boat providing the international travel) and ticket number of the document used for international travel.
  • The international ticket notation should include origin or destination of the domestic travel, carrier name (air or boat providing the domestic travel) and the ticket number of the document used for domestic travel.
    Example notation: ORDIAH/UA/0163746674838

The international ticket must also clearly show the nature and amount of tax-free connecting travel within the U.S.

Examples of domestic tax exemption:

  • A ticket is purchased in Zurich, Switzerland, for a flight from Zurich to New York, along with a connecting flight from New York to Chicago. The flight from New York to Chicago is tax exempt if the ticket is cross-referenced as indicated above.
  • A ticket is purchased in the United Kingdom for a steamship from Southampton, Great Britain, to New York, along with a flight from New York to Milwaukee. The flight from New York to Milwaukee is tax exempt if the ticket is cross-referenced as indicated above.
Multiple tickets in the same record for the same passenger

United discourages issuing multiple 016 tickets in the same record/PNR for the same passenger. Although United's technical system will support issuing multiple tickets in the same record for the same passenger, it may lead to difficulties:

  • Checking in online, via kiosk or mobile application
  • Using or refunding an unwanted ticket or ticket segments
  • Canceling down-line segments

If multiple tickets are issued in the same record/PNR for the same passenger, please be aware that all reissues, exchanges or refunds need to be finalized prior to United’s online check-in period (24 hours prior to departure).

United will not change a ticket status and will not be responsible for the use or refund of an unwanted ticket or ticket segment, a partially used ticket, or any ticketing problem that results from issuing multiple tickets in the same record/PNR for the same passenger.

eTicket parameters
  • Maximum name length: United accepts name length of 49 total characters (FAMILY/GIVEN TITLE).
  • PNR ticket name match: The first 23 characters, inclusive of FAMILY NAME, '/' GIVEN NAME TITLE of the PNR and ticket must exactly match.
  • Duplicate or exact match first 23 characters: If the first 23 characters of multiple names in the same PNR are identical, the ticket will be inhibited. Agencies should divide or create a separate PNR for each customer on the ticket.
Same flight cabin buy ups

The following are guidelines for customers who want to buy up to a higher cabin on the same flight for the same day of travel.

The change penalty associated with buying up to a higher fare and cabin will be waived for agency-issued tickets if there is no change to the flight and date.

To process the exchange:

  • The add collect must include the fare difference between the fare paid on the original ticket and applicable fare of the desired higher cabin.
  • NONREF/0VALUAFTDPT/CHGFEE must appear in the endorsement box.

Although the change penalty is waived for this transaction, the change penalty, nonrefundable value and fare rules associated with the original fare will apply for subsequent reissues. Tickets reissued without the endorsement may be subject to a debit memo.

Taxes

Diplomat: Foreign diplomats on the U.S. State Department accreditation list arriving into the U.S. holding a diplomatic passport are exempt from YC, XA and XY taxes on tickets. To avoid debit memos, “Diplomat YC/XA/XY exempt” must appear in the OSI field for ARC agencies or the endorsement box for BSP agencies. Additionally, if requested by United, agencies must be able to produce proper documentation stating the traveler has State Department accreditation and a diplomatic passport. Agencies must keep this documentation for the specific period of time required by U.S. tax laws.

  • Taxes: North America refundability -- The chart below provides guidance on refundabililty for the most commonly used taxes in North America. For specific instructions, please refer to the fare rules of the ticket.
Code Description Refundability
AY U.S. security tax
  • Refundable
CA Canadian government security surcharge
  • Refundable only if unused
  • Goods and services tax (GST/XG), Quebec sales tax (QST/XQ) and harmonized tax (HST/RC), if applied to the CA tax, is refundable
RC Harmonized tax (HST)
  • Nonrefundable on a nonrefundable ticket
  • Refundable on a refundable ticket
  • Refundable on a wholly unused ticket, if not applied to a new ticket (if there is no cancellation fee)
  • Refundable on SQ, if airport is located in a HST province (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario)
SQ Airport improvement fee
  • Refundable
  • Goods and services tax (GST/XG), Quebec sales tax (QST/XQ) and harmonized tax (HST/RC), if applied to the SQ tax, is refundable
US U.S. international departure tax
  • Nonrefundable on a nonrefundable ticket
  • Refundable on a refundable ticket
  • Refundable on a wholly unused ticket, if not applied to a new ticket
US U.S. international arrival tax
  • Nonrefundable on a nonrefundable ticket
  • Refundable on a refundable ticket
  • Refundable on a wholly unused ticket, if not applied to a new ticket
US U.S. domestic tax
  • Nonrefundable on a nonrefundable ticket
  • Refundable on a refundable ticket
  • Refundable on a wholly unused ticket, if not applied to a new ticket
XA Animal and plant health inspection fee
  • Refundable
XF Passenger facility charge
  • Nonrefundable on a nonrefundable ticket
  • Refundable on a completely unused refundable ticket
  • Refundable on a wholly unused ticket, if not applied to a new ticket
XG Government goods and service tax (GST)
  • Nonrefundable on a nonrefundable ticket
  • Refundable at 5% on a refundable ticket
  • Refundable on a wholly unused ticket, if not applied to a new ticket (if there is no cancellation fee)
XQ Quebec sales tax (QST)
  • Nonrefundable on a nonrefundable ticket
  • Refundable at 8.5% on a refundable ticket
  • Refundable on a wholly unused ticket, if not applied to a new ticket (if there is no cancellation fee)
XY U.S. immigration fee
  • Refundable, if the customer did not travel or did not enter the U.S.
YC U.S. customs fee
  • Refundable
YQ Fuel surcharge
  • Surcharges will follow the refund rule of the fare
ZP Flight segment tax
  • Nonrefundable on a nonrefundable ticket
  • Refundable on a refundable ticket
  • Refundable on a wholly unused ticket, if not applied to the new ticket
Transferability

United/016 tickets are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged for another ticket issued in another passenger's name.

Ticket validity

Unless the ticket indicates otherwise, tickets are valid for transportation for one year from date of initial use, or if unused, for one year from date of purchase.

Nonrefundable tickets: voluntary change

  • If a customer wants to make a voluntary change to the itinerary on a nonrefundable fare that allows changes, the customer must cancel the ticketed flight reservations prior to the ticketed departure time.
    • If the ticketed reservation is not canceled prior to the ticketed departure time, the ticket will have no value.
    • If the ticketed reservation is canceled prior to the ticketed departure time, the ticket will be valid as follows:
      • Wholly unused tickets - travel must begin within one year from the original ticket issue date
      • Partially used tickets - travel must be completed within one year from the outbound travel date, unless otherwise specified in the fare rule
  • When the ticket is reissued, any fare difference and applicable change fees must be paid.
  • Customers who do not show up for a flight without canceling the ticketed reservation will lose the value of the remaining coupons.
  • Please refer to the specific fare rule for complete details.

Nonrefundable tickets: refunds

Travel agencies cannot issue a refund for a nonrefundable United ticket unless specifically instructed to do so, even if the passenger has a physician's letter stating they cannot travel due to their own illness or a family member’s illness. A refund application should be completed and forwarded to United with supporting documents.

Unused tickets

Refundable tickets may be refunded by the travel agency that originally issued the ticket, up to one year from the original date of issue. Note: An expired ticket has no value.

Waitlist

Overview

Effective August 13, 2014, United introduced a simplified waitlist policy to provide a cleaner, more streamlined process when customers request to waitlist for an alternate flight or class of service. Waitlists added prior to August 13, 2014, will follow the previous policy. For customers requesting a change to an existing waitlist or a new waitlist, the new policy will apply.

Guidelines

All customers are eligible to request a waitlist on confirmed ticketed revenue, award, domestic and international reservations. The following guidelines apply:

  • Valid only on United and United Express® flights. Waitlists are not permitted on partner or codeshare flights. Confirmed and waitlisted segments cannot exist for the same cabin and same flight.
  • Wholly waitlisted PNRs are not permitted.
  • Booking codes Y and higher are eligible.
  • Alternate flights:
    • For non-stop flights, only one waitlist is allowed per direction. Alternate dates and times are permitted.
    • For connecting flights, only one leg of the connecting flights may be waitlisted and the segment must be within legal connection time. Alternate dates are not permitted.
  • Upgrade requests:
    • Waitlists for upgrade requests are permitted only for confirmed flights.
    • Upgrade waitlists are not permitted within 24 hours of departure. Customers who are waitlisted prior to 24 hours are automatically added to the airport upgrade standby list upon check-in.

Waitlist priority

Waitlist priority is based on MileagePlus® status

  1. Premier® 1K® or Star Alliance Gold
  2. Premier Platinum
  3. Premier Gold or Star Alliance Silver
  4. Premier Silver or general members
  5. All other customers

Revenue clearance

Waitlist revenue clearance is subject to all fare rules and restrictions. If the customer is ticketed and a seat becomes available, the customer is required to pay applicable change fees and fare difference. If the waitlisted class of service carries an advance ticketing restriction, the requested flight needs to clear by the advance ticketing deadline.