Flight Loads: How To Check Airport Standby Position For United Airlines (UA)

by Kerwin McKenzie on February 8, 2016

A few airlines allow you to check your position on the standby list using, an App, their Web site and/or airport gate flight displays. This series will highlight these in order to ensure that you have a better standby experience.

 

Alaska Airlines | American AirlinesBritish Airways | United Airlines

First, download the United Airlines App: Apple IOS | Android | Windows or Go to this page on the United.com Web site. You can also start at United.com and navigate to Travel Information > Flight Status and Information. Then let’s look at using the App first:

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - Homepage United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – Homepage

 

Once you install and load the App, you can click on the Flight status link to check the status.

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App- Check- in United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App- Check- in

 

Note: You will see the flight loads when you check-in using a non-revenue reservation. You will need your confirmation number and last name for this option. The Application also shows you your position on the standby list as well. I know that as a United employee and its Express partners you will see the actual flight loads. I’m not certain what you see if you are from another airline.

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - Search for Flight United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – Search for Flight

 

Enter your flight number and choose your travel date then click Search. If your flight serves multiple airports, then enter the airport from which you are departing. Typically that field can be left blank as you will be asked to differentiate the flight on the next screen if your flight traverses multiple airports. Showing airport standby list only works for flights that are operating yesterday, today and tomorrow.

 

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - Select Departure United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – Select Departure

 

This is the screen you will see if you are searching for your flight number using the departure and the arrival cities.

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - Select Specific Flight United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – Select Specific Flight

 

Once you receive your list of flights, choose the one one which you will be flying by touching it.

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - Flight Status Details United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – Flight Status Details

 

This takes you to the Flight Status Details page as shown above. An important feature on this page is the “Where is this aircraft coming from?” link as it will tell you if your inbound flight is delayed.

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - Flight Details - Seat Map United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – Flight Details – Seat Map

 

The Seat Map tab shows you the seats that’s been assigned in all cabins of the airplane. Note, it does not show the flight loads; also its only the assigned seats it shows not the booked ones. Bear in mind that many unassigned seats may show but the flight could be full.

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - Flight Status Details -Stand by List United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – Flight Status Details -Stand by List

 

This is your most important screen as it tells you where you are on the standby list. It will also tell you whether your cabin is Full or has Available seats. This particular example, does not, but usually you will see it. Full is burgundy and Available is in Green. Full can mean overbooked just so you know. Once you are cleared, you will see a seat number next to your name and if you refresh your boarding pass, your new seat will show up.

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - Flight Status Details - Upgrade Standby List United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – Flight Status Details – Upgrade Standby List

 

The Upgrades tab is the only place you will see any load information. It will show the Capacity of the cabin, the booked and the check-in numbers. These are usually very accurate and matches the First Class/Business class seat maps. Once you are cleared, you will see a seat number next to your name and if you refresh your boarding pass, your new seat will show up.

 

United Airlines (UA) Standby list - App - View Boarding Passes United Airlines (UA) Standby list – App – View Boarding Passes

 

If you click on the icon under the date in the upper right hand corner, you will be able to see all your boarding passes and itineraries. You can choose to view them as well.

 

 

Now for the Web site.

 

United Airlines Standby list - Website - Homepage United Airlines Standby list – Website – Homepage

 

Click on Flight Status from the home page of United.com. The above screen will be shown. Now enter either your flight number and dates or your city pair and dates.

 

United Airlines Standby list - Website - TimeTable Results United Airlines Standby list – Website – TimeTable Results

 

Once you enter a city pair, you will see the screen above. Choose the flight on which you will be traveling.

 

United Airlines Standby list - Website - Flight Status United Airlines Standby list – Website – Flight Status

 

You will then be presented with the flight status information for that flight.

 

United Airlines Standby list - Website - Flight Standby List United Airlines Standby list – Website – Flight Standby List

 

The Flight Standby Tab shows you all the names on the standby list; those with a seat will see their names on the left side with a seat assignment next to it. You can tell if the cabins are full by the words “Full” and “Available” next to the appropriate cabin.

 

United Airlines Standby list - Website - Upgrade Standby List United Airlines Standby list – Website – Upgrade Standby List

 

The “Upgrade Standby List” tab will show all the passengers waiting for an upgrade to the forward cabin(s). You will also see the capacity, booked and check-in numbers as well. Note that some airplanes do have First, Business so you will see that reflected here.

 

United Airlines Standby list - Website - SeatMap United Airlines Standby list – Website – SeatMap

 

Here you will see the actual seatmap of the flight in question. Use the key to advise the types of seats available. Note that this shows seats that are assigned. It is not necessarily an indication of how empty the flight is. So don’t use it for that purpose.

 

At the airport you will be able to see the same screens as the Web site on the screens that are at the gate.

If you like this information please share with your fellow passriders as well as leave a note below and let me know what you think.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar James February 9, 2016 at 3:58 am

I have found that United’s totals are sometimes very far from accurate. They will show a full or oversold flight and then there are 15 open seats when the door closes. Not sure why this is. They however never seem to be fuller than advertised, but often less so…anybody know why this could happen? 

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avatar Kerwin McKenzie February 9, 2016 at 4:50 am

Hi James,

Thanks for your note.
You see this discrepancy as there are misconnects that don’t make the flight. This happens with all airlines.

Kerwin.
http://www.Passrider.com
http://www.Facebook.com/Passrider

Reply

avatar Alexander Houston May 25, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Is there a way to see if misconnects are going to happen. Something has been happening in the system where a flight will show oversold by 27 people. Years ago this would mean no passriders would get out for the rest of the day as the 27 overbooked rev passengers would be rolled to the next available flight. I managed to get on the next flight. How could that be possible? United has made it difficult to truly predict how available a route is. It seems like every flight now is overbooked by at least 4. 

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avatar Kerwin McKenzie July 30, 2016 at 10:26 pm

You cannot see this misconnect information unless you have access to the backend system Alexander.
Sometimes when passengers misconnect, they have to be rebooked as the next flight won’t work for them. Also sometimes they have to be booked on other airlines in order for them to get to their destination.

Predicting the show factor on a flight is still not an exact science I’m afraid :-).

Kerwin
http://www.Passrider.com.
http://www.Facebook.com/Passrider

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avatar Christian diaz July 24, 2016 at 3:46 pm

My friend is an employee at united and I am his primary buddy which means I can fly on standby on available flights. My question is when I pick a flight it’ll say my position on the standby list and how many seats are open. I get confused when I see a flight with 30 open seats but it says only 3 are available. What does that mean? 

Reply

avatar Kerwin McKenzie July 30, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Hi Christian,

Thanks for the question.
It could be that the agents have blocked the seats for airport check-in or some seats are being held.

Kerwin.

Reply

avatar Duncan July 28, 2016 at 11:17 pm

on the UAL app, what is the difference between the blue seats and the white seats?  Are the blue assigned but not checked in or is it the other way around?

thanks

Reply

avatar Kerwin McKenzie July 30, 2016 at 10:21 pm

Hi Duncan,

Great question. The blue seats are the extra legroom seats (Economy Plus) which you can purchase or are assigned to frequent fliers that are Gold status and above at no charge.

Thanks.
Kerwin.
http://www.Passrider.com
http://www.Facebook.com/Passrider

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avatar jill cholewa August 15, 2016 at 7:59 pm

We have purchased two discounted first class seats from SFO to Maui.  How soon can we choose our seats?

Thank you.

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avatar Doris December 11, 2016 at 6:15 pm

i would be considered a passerby and want to fly out of Savannah to Colorado Springs on 12/23 and return on 12/26. I am a little worried about being on standby because I have a standing appointment on 12/28. What are your predictions and/or experiences traveling standby around the holidays.

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avatar Janice December 21, 2016 at 2:38 pm

For United, I would ideally like to fly First Class. Can I sign up for standby for First Class AND Economy (just in case I don’t get a first class ticket)? If I do this, would I “check in” for both standby tickets?

Or if I only sign up for First Class standby, and I don’t get a First Class seat, would they automatically give me an Economy seat if available?

Reply

avatar Ron January 11, 2017 at 2:10 am

Janice-

There are basically three types of stand-by travel.

Involuntary standby customers – Customers who did not travel on their original flight because a flight is canceled or an itinerary is changed by United.

If you had purchased a first class seat for the original flight, then the airline will try to place you in the same cabin. If loads do not permit this on the new flight, you can request a refund through the airline website.

Voluntary standby customers – Customers on eligible fares who are voluntarily standing by for a different flight from their original flight.

Again, this depends on your original purchase. If unsuccessful you can request a refund.

Passriders – 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.

I think this may be the root of your question. As a Passrider, you can request, and pay, for any cabin classification. However, you are placed on the standby list without cabin priority. In other words, you are waiting for a seat, whether it is in premium cabin or not. As space available seats are cleared by the gate agents, you will be assigned a seat depending on your status/seniority/cabin request with the airline.

So, at the core of your question, if you prefer/hope for a premium cabin and are flying as a Passrider, make that request. It will automatically place you on the standby list for all cabins. If Economy is all that is available, you can request a refund for the change in cabin.

There is a gray area that could benefit you if you requested premium cabin, the other Passrider passengers did not do so, and there are only premium cabin seats available. If you requested and paid for the better cabin and they did not, there is a chance you could trump them on the stand-by list even with less status/seniority. Rare, because of potential revenue passenger frequent flyer upgrades, but possible.

Just note that you do not need to double book standby for each cabin class on a flight. Start with what you prefer and can afford. The gate agents will sort it all out based on a strict hierarchy of boarding priorities. Then you can seek a refund if necessary.

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avatar Keegen Frost January 4, 2017 at 2:33 pm

When booking a flight using United Airlines standby list there are two areas that I can not find definitions for.

PS and SA and F/C/Y are directly underneath which means (F)First/(C)Business/(Y)Economy. So what does the PA and SA stand for?

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avatar Connie January 7, 2017 at 11:54 am

What does it mean when I go to details on the flight and it has the normal pass riders but there is also something called group with say 33 or 40. I fly standby quite frequently as a parent of an employee but I do not understand what group means

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avatar Ray February 12, 2017 at 7:09 pm

I have the same question. What does “Group” mean?

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avatar Jen February 1, 2017 at 4:43 am

PS is positive space and SA is space available. I don’t know all the rules, but PS seems to be for employees traveling for work or someone may be traveling for family emergency. SA is normal standby. PS gets seats ahead of SAs.

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avatar tamara March 2, 2017 at 1:33 am

Hi Kerwin,

I am an airline employee who has booked a ID90 ticket on your airline for 23 and25 of March.
How can i list myself and check the load before i proceed to the airport?

Reply

avatar Kerwin McKenzie March 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm

Hi Tamara,

Thanks for your note.
It’s necessary to contact United at 1-866-FLY-EPASS to list.
Ask them about the Loads as well.

Kerwin.

Reply

avatar Laurie Peralta March 18, 2017 at 1:51 am

What is a “held” seat?

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