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Right now two people, (1) and (2) have a booked round-trip itinerary from A → B → A.

I am hoping to add a stop to person (1)'s travels, and not to person (2)'s. (1) would travel from A → X → B → A and (2) would travel from A → B → A. (2) would travel on the already booked round-trip flight.

What would be the best (cheapest) way to add a stop to an existing reservation for one passenger and not the other?

Secondarily, is there a way to not change the existing round-trip reservation (as to avoid United's $200 change fee) and to retain return leg for (1)? In this scenario, (1) would not be flying from A → B, only the second leg, from B → A. (2), however, would fly the whole round-trip.

Alternatively, is there a way to avoid United's change fees if I booked the A → X → B itinerary with them? (I would be booking two more flights with them; maybe they would waive the fees?)

  • 1
    In your second scenario, not flying the outbound leg will result in the airline cancelling the return flight. – Traveller Feb 21 at 19:34
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    Pretty much any scenario you pose here requires United cooperation, and thus their change fee comes into play. Unfortunately, the situation is that you want to change the ticket, so the change fee applies... – Moo Feb 21 at 21:54
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The good news: You can consider each person separate, even if you bought the tickets together.

The bad news: if a person doesn't fly any leg of the ticket, the rest is typically considered void and lost. So if (1) doesn't fly his first leg, his complete ticket is gone. Your only option option is to work with United, and change that ticket to fit the new plans (and pay the fee).

Next time, when you pick an airline, consider their fee structure and your change risks, and potentially pick another airline with less or no change fees.
Note that your argument (buy even another ticket) doesn't matter to them - change fees are not covering the cost of the change, that is zero or near zero, it is simply a revenue-generation mechanism that lives from people's plans changing. They take it because they can, not because they need to cover expenses.

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I think I managed to avoid the change fees. Here's what I did:

  1. I split the existing (round-trip for both passengers) itinerary. Now, (1) has their own itinerary (and confirmation number, etc.) for the A → B → A trip.

  2. I cancelled the round-trip flight for (1). This meant that, as of this stage, (2) is flying on the round-trip flight alone and (1) is flying nowhere. This accrued "future flight credit" equivalent to the original expenditure on (1)'s ticket. United offered the information below about change fees.

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  1. I booked a new one-way flight for (1) from B → A on the same flight that (1) and (2) were originally flying on. (This will be the last leg of (1)'s multi-city trip.)

  2. I booked flights for (1) from A → X → B, the first legs of (1)'s multi-city trip.

This resulted in three itineraries:

  1. The A → X → B trip for (1).
  2. The B → A trip for (1).
  3. The A → B → A trip for (2).

As far as I know, this resulted in $0 in change fees. With that in mind, I have yet to use the "future flight credit" on another flight, and I may encounter fees at that stage.

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    It's predictable that there are no change fees on the purchase of new and separate tickets, for which you paid. I'd expect that if or when you use the "future flight credit," however, a fee will be imposed as you will then have changed (1)'s original round-trip A > B > flights to something else. – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 23 at 23:40
  • @DavidSupportsMonica My thinking exactly. I would not be surprised if the fees are imposed when I try to use that credit. – unitedchangefeesbad Feb 24 at 4:14
  • Here's another recent thread on this subject: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/154431/… – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 29 at 17:25

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