Flight Standby List FAQs

This summer, we began automatically assigning seats to travelers on the standby and upgrade lists. If you’ve signed up for day-of-travel notifications and receive a seat assignment or upgrade, we’ll send a text message or email asking you to refresh your boarding pass on the United app to view your seat assignment and wait to board.

This new process will help travelers practice social distancing at the airport, keep track of everything on the United app and enjoy more free time before boarding.

Learn more about how we automatically assign seats through the video and questions below. For questions about the upgrade list and eligibility, visit our page about upgrades.

  • We’ll automatically assign your seat if you’re on the upgrade or standby lists about 30 minutes before departure for domestic flights and 60 minutes for international flights. Sign up for day-of-travel notifications at booking, check-in or through your MileagePlus account, and we’ll text or email you to let you know we’ve assigned you a seat.

    You can also keep track of everything on the United app. To see your seat assignment there, just refresh your boarding pass.

    We’ll also display your seat assignment on the screens near the gate, where available.

    • If you haven’t checked in: Please contact us. We can update your booking by indicating you don’t want to be considered for an upgrade.

    • During check-in: A single traveler can’t decline being added to the upgrade list. If your reservation contains more than one name, we’ll give you the opportunity to opt out of being added to the upgrade list by selecting ‘no companion’. 

    • If you’ve already checked in: Please see an agent at the airport to have your name removed from the upgrade list.

  • If you’re using the United app, you can change your seat if we assign it an hour or more before your flight departs. If you receive a seat assignment within an hour of departure, you won’t be able to change your seat on the United app.

    If you still want to change your seat after you receive an assignment, please see a gate agent and they’ll try to help you out.

  • Yes. Customers traveling on individual, single-party reservations will be able to indicate their personal seat preference (window or aisle) through the United app. The automated process will accommodate each customer based on their personal preference and seat availability during the time of assignment.

  • If you haven’t boarded your flight 15 minutes before it departs for domestic flights and 20 minutes for international flights, you may lose your seat assignment.

Other standby questions

  • For your privacy, we only display a portion of your name on the list. Specifically, the first three letters of your last name and your first initial will be displayed. For example, if your name is Mary Sample, your name will be shown as "SAM, M." on the list.

  • Customers standing by are prioritized by the Premier® status of the traveler. Specifically, the published Premier status that has the highest priority is Premier 1K®, followed by Premier Platinum, Premier Gold, Premier Silver members, other MileagePlus® program members, and then all remaining customers.*

    If there are multiple members with the same Premier status, the fare class originally purchased is used to determine priority. In the event there are multiple members with the same Premier status and fare class, we’ll then determine priority by Chase United MileagePlus Club cardholders, United Corporate Preferred participants, and lastly by the date and time they were added to the standby list.

    Coming in 2021: In 2021, all United customers, including customers who purchase Basic Economy tickets, may fly same-day standby on an earlier United flight. Customers with Basic Economy tickets will be placed on the standby list after all other ticketed customers and then follow the same prioritization for members on the waitlist mentioned above.

  • The standby list will continually be updated and prioritized as customers check in and request to be added to the list.

  • Some of the most common types of standby customers are:

    • Involuntary standby customers – Customers who did not travel on their original flight because a flight is canceled or an itinerary is changed by United.
    • Voluntary standby customers – Customers on eligible fares who are voluntarily standing by for a different flight from their original flight.
    • Pass riders – United employees or their eligible dependents standing by on a space-available basis. Pass riders are prioritized last, and are only assigned seats after all other standby customers are accommodated.
  • Eligible customers can add themselves to the standby list at an airport kiosk by selecting "View Flight Options" when reviewing their itinerary or by contacting a United airport representative.

    If you've requested to be added to the standby list, but do not see your name on the list, please check with a United airport representative. This issue can only be resolved at the airport.

  • If you're eligible for a premium cabin upgrade, you may initially be assigned a seat in United Economy®. In this instance, you will automatically be added to the upgrade standby list at a relative priority to other customers standing by for an upgrade.

*Some standby customers with an unpublished Premier level may receive higher prioritization.