US Airways Shuttle change fee?
November 18, 2010 1:02 PM   Subscribe

I have a US Airways Shuttle ticket. If I show up to the airport earlier that same day, what are the chances I'll be able to switch the ticket to an earlier flight at no charge?
posted by decoherence to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
Earlier that day? Pretty slim, but possible. Before that? Decent. Do what hal_c_on says.
posted by valkyryn at 1:06 PM on November 18, 2010

Presumably you mean the bus-like service btwn Boston, NYC and Washington DC.

I don't use the US Airwarys shuttle, but I use the Delta version pretty frequently, and I always buy a ticket for the last flight of the day, and walk onto whichever is leaving next when I get to the airport. i.e. ticket for 8.30 PM, arrive at La Guardia at 6, get onto the 6.30. Never been charged.

the only caveat is that this doesnt work on Thursdays, because flights are almost always full.
posted by darsh at 1:11 PM on November 18, 2010

Never been a problem for me for NYC/DC and vice versa, but that's on a fully refundable ticket. Not sure if there would be an issue if you have a cheaper fare.
posted by slide at 1:20 PM on November 18, 2010

If there is an earlier flight that day with open seats you can get on it and there will be no charge. You are essentially switching to standby but there are open seats then they give you one. I do not think you can switch without a fee on the day before or earlier, this is a day of flight thing. I have not done this specifically with US Air, that I can remember, but have done it for years with many other airlines.
posted by caddis at 1:40 PM on November 18, 2010

I did this exact thing last week, if there's room on the plane, they should put you on.
posted by frankdrebin at 1:53 PM on November 18, 2010

The U.S. Airways web site explains their policy:

We allow you to 'move up' to any earlier flight on the same day of your originally scheduled departure time at the airport (with the exception of flights to Hawaii and Europe). You can only make day-of-departure changes at the airport (and not by calling Reservations).

If there is an open seat available on any earlier US Airways operated flight that departs on the same day as your originally scheduled departure, you may change to that flight and we will automatically confirm your reservation for $50 for flights within the 48 contiguous United States and $50 for flights to Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and Alaska. This lower confirmation fee replaces the usual $150 change fee, plus any differences between your old fare and new fare, for non-refundable tickets.

If there is not an open seat on an earlier flight that departs on the same day as your originally scheduled departure, you may stand by for that flight at no charge. Standing by at no charge is not permitted if we can confirm that there is an open seat available for that flight. Seats on completely booked flights may become available if passengers with confirmed reservations don't show up for the flight. Unlike a confirmed reservation, flying standby does not guarantee that you will get on the particular flight that you want and may involve waiting for two or more flights before a seat is available to you.

posted by phoenixy at 1:59 PM on November 18, 2010

I tried to do this last year at DCA on a US Airways Shuttle flight and was originally told I could stand by at no charge. When the earlier flight was boarding, the gate agent told me in no uncertain terms that I couldn't do this without paying the $50 fee. A supervisor was even less helpful. She was unmoved by the fact that there were numerous empty seats on the plane and surely it is of more value to the airline to fill those seats now so as to free up seats on later flights. The original employee's statement that there would be no charge meant nothing either. After some discussion, it was clear that I wasn't getting on that flight without paying $50 (I had a connection after this, so paying wasn't particularly worthwhile) and the flight was leaving anyway, so I gave up.

US Airways has it's own breed of uncaring, spiteful employees. You may be just fine as the above posters mentioned, or you may have to pay $50. There's really no telling when it comes to US Air.
posted by zachlipton at 2:17 PM on November 18, 2010

I do this often. If there is room you will likely be able to get on an earlier flight, even if you have a cheap ticket.
posted by jessamyn at 2:18 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

One way to play it is to make them want to help you. Show up early, and check in like normal. At some point they will say "you know your flight isn't until later, right", where you say "aww, nertz, I thought I booked this one. what a bonehead. oh well, I have plenty of work to do, I can wait." They will probably put you on the flight rather than contemplate the image of you sitting there for hours.
posted by gjc at 4:11 PM on November 18, 2010

The thing is you do not need to play games like this. They offer up the last day change freely. You do not need to wait for them to ask first, you can ask first. If there is a seat they will accommodate you at no charge.
posted by caddis at 3:41 AM on November 19, 2010

But it says in the quoted policy that they will charge you extra if there are seats available. So do we believe their stated policy or the agent's willingness to break the rules upon request?
posted by gjc at 8:03 AM on November 19, 2010

I believe it's a discretionary thing. My experience has been that I've done this often [more than 2-3 times?] and never been charged. I don't know if this policy is new-ish or if I was overwhelmingly lucky or if I have a face that says "don't charge me extra please" but since in the absence of airport workers we're going with anecdata, that's mine.
posted by jessamyn at 10:48 AM on November 19, 2010

update: had to pay $50, as per the stated policy linked to above. as the us airways policy says, if there are open seats - which there were - you'll get charged. seems kinda paradoxical but that's how it went. thanks for the input.
posted by decoherence at 9:24 PM on November 29, 2010

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