United Airlines Baggage Policy

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About United Airlines

United is a prominent airline and offers the utmost convenience to all its passengers. Keeping that in mind, it has created a United Airlines baggage policy which each passenger must adhere to. But scrolling through the website can be a hefty task. So, here comes a guide explaining everything you need to know about this airline. 

It is a major flag carrier airline of the USA and is headquartered at Willis Tower in Chicago. It was founded in 1926 and is a founding member of Star Airline Alliance. The airline has secondary hubs across seven cities of the nation with its primary hub at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Being the third largest airline of the world, it serves 238 domestic destinations and 118 international destinations in 48 countries worldwide.

Baggage Allowance Policy

Before packing your luggage, it’s best that you learn about the United baggage allowance guidelines of the airline. Below mentioned key points of United Airlines baggage rule will help you learn about the allowed items in your luggage. 

  • There is a separate baggage guideline for basic economy ticket fares. Hence, if you’re booking this fare, make sure you read all the terms. 
  • Your carry-on baggage must fit in the overhead bin or under your seat, if the size exceeds, then it will have to be checked. 
  • You can also carry a personal item bag along with carry-on luggage, provided that it meets the allowed limit. 
  • The basic economy ticket will also have to pay a checked baggage fee, as applicable according to the destination. 
  • The checked baggage allowance in United Airlines is different for all types of fares. If your luggage exceeds the checked baggage limit, it will incur an excess baggage fee. 
  • You can bring your pet cat or dog onboard. The airline also doesn’t apply any weight or breed limit.

Carry-On Baggage Allowance 

There are certain exceptions with what you can bring onboard and what is prohibited. There are certain restrictions for Basic Economy tickets as well. Hence, take a thorough read of the following guide: 

  • As per United Airlines baggage allowance weight limit guidelines, you’re allowed to take one carry-on bag and one personal item bag. However, if you’re booking a basic economy ticket, then there will be some exceptions.
  • Your carry-on luggage must fit in the overhead bin. All wheeled and non-wheeled bags must not exceed the dimensions of 22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm. 
  • The personal item bag  must fit underneath the seat in front of you. The maximum dimensions for this bag must not exceed 22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm. 

Other allowed items 

In addition to your one carry-on bag and personal item, you can bring the following items onboard:

  • A jacket
  • An umbrella
  • Reading material
  • Food or merchandise that you buy in the airport
  • Assistive devices (such as a collapsible wheelchair, cane, crutches, medical device for prescription medications, or portable oxygen concentrator)
  • FAA-approved child restraint system or safety seat
  • A diaper bag
  • A breast pump
  • A camera
  • A pet carrier

Exceptions of carry-on baggage for Basic Economy 

There are some exceptions for taking United Airlines carry on baggage weight allowance. Read the following statements for more clarity: 

  • In accordance with United Airlines baggage policy, the Basic Economy ticketed passengers are allowed one personal item, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, or laptop bag, that will fit under the seat in front of you. 
  • This bag can be no larger than 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches. Assistive devices, wheelchairs and medical devices, including breast pumps, are also permitted. If your carry-on bag exceeds the size limit, you’ll need to check your bag. You’ll also have to pay the applicable United Airlines checked baggage fee and a USD 25 gate handling charge.

Whether you can take cabin luggage, will depend on the destination you’re traveling to. Here’s how it is classified: 

Traveling to / fromPersonal item allowedCarry-on bag allowed 
Domestically in the U.S.YesNo
Central AmericaYesNo
South AmericaYesYes

Fragile Items 

  • If an item is too fragile or bulky to travel as a checked bag, you can buy a ticket for it. You can then carry the item on board and place it in a seat as cabin baggage.
  • United Airlines will allow a customer to purchase a ticket for an item, approved by a United agent, which is too fragile or bulky to be handled as checked baggage. These items can be carried on board and transported in a seat.
  • Examples of cabin-seat baggage may include large or valuable musical instruments, media cameras, artifacts, garment bags and similar items of a delicate nature or unusual size. Guitars are not considered cabin-seat baggage and customers traveling with guitars should continue to follow carry-on baggage guidelines.

The following restrictions apply for cabin baggage:

  • Must not exceed 165 pounds (75 kg).
  • Must be packaged or covered in a manner to avoid injury to other passengers.
  • Must be secured in a seat adjacent to the owner.
  • Must be properly secured by a seat belt to avoid shifting during flight.
  • Must not restrict access to, or use of, any regular exit, emergency exit or aisle of the cabin.
  • Must not obscure any customer’s view of “seatbelt,” “no smoking” or “exit” signage.
  • Must not contain dangerous goods.
  • Must be reserved in advance with applicable charges paid.

Things to keep in mind

Help make the process of United Airlines baggage smoother, when going through security at the airport. Please pay special attention when packing the following items:

  • Liquids, gels, aerosols

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has some restrictions for packing liquids, gels and aerosols in your carry-on bag. These items must be in containers that measure 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less. They must also be inside a single quart-size or liter-size clear, sealable bag. Some exceptions apply, including liquids like baby formula and medicine. There are also exceptions for packing duty-free liquids in your carry-on bag.

  • Powder based substances 

The airline recommends you place any items that resemble powder in your checked bags. The TSA does not allow customers traveling to or within the U.S. to pack powder-based substances greater than 12 fluid ounces (350 ml) in their carry-on bag. Exceptions include medically prescribed powders, baby formula, human remains and duty-free powders. However, you must seal those in a tamper-evident bag.

  • Musical instruments as carry-on baggage

You can carry a violin, guitar or other small musical instrument on board if it’s in a hard case. These instruments will count as a carry-on bag if placed in the overhead bin. If placed under the seat in front of you, they’ll count as a personal item.

  • Nursing mothers 

Travelers can bring a breast pump on board as one of their special items. Visit our page about traveling with children to learn more.

Checked Baggage Allowance 

As per United Airlines baggage policy, the standard checked bag’ dimensions must not exceed 62 inches. This includes the handles and wheels. The baggage weight limit depends on your cabin class and whether you have any MileagePlus membership. If the maximum size or weight differ based on your cabin and MileagePlus status, we’ll apply the larger limit.

Weights limits by class of service 

Class of service Maximum weight per bag
United EconomyPremium Economy50 lbs
United BusinessUnited FirstUnited Polaris Business Class70 lbs

Weight limits by MileagePlus status

MileagePlus StatusMaximum weight per bag
Premier SilverPremier GoldPremier PlatinumPremier 1K70 lbs
Star Alliance™ Gold70 lbs in Business50 lbs in Economy

Checked baggage policies for Basic Economy

Basic Economy fares have the same United Airlines checked baggage policies as standard Economy tickets. You can check your bags and pay the applicable service charge in the airport lobby, when you’re picking up your boarding pass. For Basic Economy fares on trans-Atlantic flights, you’ll be required to pay for your first checked bag. For Trans-Pacific destinations, Basic Economy can take one free standard checked bag.

Checking boxes instead of bags

The United Airlines baggage policy says you can bring one box instead of one bag when there are limits for checked bags. The box can weigh up to 50 lbs and measure up to 158 cm. For destinations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, this box can only measure up to 107 cm with 50 lbs weight limit.

Sports equipment

The airline doesn’t accept the following sports equipment when there are limits for checked bags:

  • Bicycles
  • Hang gliders
  • Pole vaults
  • Surfboards
  • Wakeboards
  • Windsurfing boards

Exceptions of checked baggage

Type of tripClass of serviceNumber of bags without chargesMaximumsize per bagMaximum weight per bag
Personal travelAll classes of service3 bags158 cm70 lbs
Military dependent with travel ordersAll classes of service2 bags158 cm70lbs
Official businessAll classes of service5 bags292 cm100 lbs

Exceptions of checked baggage for some destinations

DestinationNumber of bags without chargeMaximum weight per bag
San Salvador2 bags70 lbs
Havana2 bags70 lbs
Santo Domingo ManaguaSan Pedro SulaTegucigalpa2 bags70 lbs
Guatemala City2 bags70 lbs

Oversize, Overweight, and Excess Baggage Allowance 

If you plan to check oversized, overweight or extra bags with United Airlines, keep the following in mind:

Oversized bags

United Airlines baggage limit does not accept bags that measure more than 115 inches (292 centimeters).

Overweight bags

They do not accept bags weighing more than 100 pounds. However, musical instruments and assistive devices are exceptions. The airline will accept musical instruments and all assistive devices up to 165 pounds.

Extra bags

United only accepts extra bags if there’s space available on the aircraft. Assistive devices don’t apply as excess baggage and are gladly accepted for free.

United Airlines Baggage Policy for Infants and Children 

Here are a few things you should keep in mind while traveling with your child or little baby on United Airlines flights: 

  • Children under two can sit on a parent’s lap during flights to any destination.
  • Infants younger than seven days old are not allowed to travel with United Airlines.
  • The United Airlines baggage policy says that you’re allowed pre-boarding for families traveling with children less than two years old. A gate agent will announce when it’s time for you to board.
  • Alternatively, infants can also have their own seat if you bring an approved car seat with its FAA certification.
  • Children in car seats should sit in a window seat with the car seat secured to the seat itself. Your child should be in their seat during takeoff, landing and turbulence.
  • Children older than two will need a ticket and their own seat on the plane.
  • In case your flight is delayed make sure you have extra diapers, formula, bottles and other essentials in the bag you bring onboard.
  • Standard strollers, folding wagons, and car seats can be used to get to your gate and then checked for free. They’ll be returned to you on arrival. Collapsible strollers can be stored in-cabin. Car seats can be used onboard your flight too, as per United Airline baggage policy.
  • The airline provides free onboard bassinets in United Polaris business class and in Economy on some international flights. They can be used anytime during the flight when the seatbelt sign is off. Contact the airline and make a pre-reservation. 
  • When traveling with an infant or child of any age, you can carry

– Diaper bag

– Breast pump, milk or formula

           – FAA-approved car seat

           – Compact folding stroller that meets carry-on bag size guidelines.

Charges to carry a lap child 

Lap children must be under the age of two. Whether they require a ticket and how much it will cost depends on where you’re traveling.

Travel DetailsTravel Requirements 
USA domestic flightsFree, no ticket required
Flights between the U.S., Canada & MexicoTicket needed, but you only pay for the taxes on it
Other International flightsTicket needed, and charged a partial fare based on the destination

United Airlines Pet Policy

Traveling with pets in-cabin is only allowed for cats and dogs when there’s space available. Here’s what you need to know about United Airlines baggage policy for pets, regardless of which type of furry friend you have:

  • While there are no weight or breed limitations for pets under United Airlines baggage policy, they must travel in either a hard-sided or soft-sided carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. There can only be one pet per carrier, and they must be able to stand up and turn around while inside.
  • The hard-sided pet carrier must be of the dimensions- 44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm. While for soft-sided carriers, the dimensions must not exceed- 45 cm x 27 cm x 27 cm. 
  • Make sure to have full paperwork and proof of vaccination ready with you while traveling with your pet. Also remember to make a reservation for your pet, when you’re booking your flight. You can make a booking with your pet, only from the official website.
  • There is a charge of USD 125, for each way, when flying with a pet. There is also a USD 125 fee for each layover of more than four hours for flights within the U.S. and more than 24 hours internationally. You cannot use travel credits to pay this fee.
  • Once you’re on your flight, there’s only one rule you need to follow. Your pet must stay in their carrier with the door closed, and under your seat at all times.
  • Where you can sit with your pet depends on the type of plane you’re on. Keep in mind that while you can only bring one pet with you, each plane limits the total number of pets allowed on the same flight.

United Airlines Special Baggage Policy


It’s free to check your wheelchair or assistive device in addition to your United Airlines checked baggage. This includes manual and electric wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, and canes. They can be folding, non-folding, or collapsible. If you have a powered wheelchair or a non-folding manual wheelchair, it most likely will need to be checked and transported in the cargo area of the plane. 

Electronic Devices

  • Travelers may use small, lightweight portable electronic devices in non-cellular or “airplane” mode on United-operated flights. Cellular service must always be turned off prior to departure. 
  • Within the U.S. (including U.S. territories), travelers may use permitted small, lightweight portable electronic devices in non-cellular transmitting mode at all times.
  • Between the U.S. and an international location, travelers may use permitted devices except when departing from or arriving into the international location.
  • Outside of the U.S., permitted devices may only be used above 10,000 feet, unless flight attendants have announced that permitted devices can be used throughout the flight.

Devices that are permitted for use:

  • electronic games
  • personal computers (May only be used above 10,000 feet)
  • entertainment players
  • recorders (audio and/or video, such as tape/CD/MiniDisc/MP3 players and camcorders)
  • calculators
  • shavers (in lavatories only)
  • cameras
  • aircraft power ports for laptops (May only be used above 10,000 feet)

Devices that are NOT permitted for use:

  • powered air purifying respirators ( battery-operated and plug-in)
  • electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers
  • personal humidifiers (battery-operated and plug-in)
  • heating devices, such as blow dryers, bottle warmers and curling irons
  • TVs
  • radio receivers and transmitters
  • remote-control toys

Sports Equipment

To make your journey seamless, United Airlines baggage policy accepts carriage of sports equipment on all flights. However, specific guidelines and packaging requirements may apply to these items. 

The airline will accept them as checked bags, provided that you pack them in suitable containers that are within the size and weight limits. 

Oversized and overweight items will be subject to standard fees for oversized and overweight bags. 

The following items are allowed as sports equipment: 

  • Archery equipment
  • Baseball equipment
  • Bicycles
  • Boogie/skim/speed boards
  • Bowling equipment
  • Camping equipment
  • Fencing and kendo equipment
  • Firearms
  • Fishing equipment
  • Golf equipment
  • Gymnastic equipment
  • Hang gliding equipment
  • Hockey or lacrosse equipment
  • Javelins
  • Kayaks or canoes
  • Kiteboards
  • Life jackets
  • Oars
  • Paintball equipment
  • Parachutes and parasails
  • Pole vaulting equipment
  • Pool cues
  • Scuba equipment
  • Skating equipment
  • Ski and snowboard equipment
  • Surfboards, wakeboards and paddleboards
  • Tennis equipment
  • Wave ski
  • Windsurfing equipment

High-Value, Fragile, and Perishable Items

If you’re traveling with high-value, fragile or perishable items, the United Airlines baggage policy recommends keeping them in carry-on bags or personal items instead of checked bags. These items will count towards the amount of carry-on and checked bags you’re allowed to bring onboard.

If you choose to pack high-value, fragile or perishable items in your checked bags or as checked bags for travel within the U.S., the airline is not liable for the loss, damage or delay in delivery of such items. For most international destinations, our liability for destruction, loss, delay or damage to checked and carry-on bags is limited.

Below are the examples of some items considered high-value, fragile or perishable. 

  • Antiques, artifacts and heirlooms
  • Antlers
  • Art
  • Backpacks not designed for travel
  • Business equipment and samples
  • Cameras and other photographic equipment
  • Chinaware, glass, ceramics and pottery
  • Collectibles
  • Computer hardware and software
  • Drones
  • Electronics
  • Eyewear and other vision devices
  • Flowers and plants
  • Garment bags not designed for travel
  • Irreplaceable items
  • Jewelry
  • Keys
  • Liquids, including alcohol, perfumes, and Zamzam water
  • Medicines and medical equipment
  • Money, gift cards and gift certificates
  • Musical instruments
  • Natural fur products
  • Perishable items
  • Precious metals and stones
  • Religious items
  • Tools
  • Silverware, knives and swords
  • Sleeping bags and knapsacks
  • Watches
  • Items made of paper, including blueprints, maps, manuscripts, business documents, historical documents, photos, books, negotiable papers, etc.

Baggage Policy For Lost Items, Damaged, and Delayed Bags

  • United Airlines baggage policy says that if you leave something on board in the aircraft, the airline recommends you fill out the “lost item form”. Make sure you provide a detailed description of the lost item, including the brand, color, size and any distinguishing features. For example, if you’ve lost your laptop, provide the serial number for it. 
  • If there’s something wrong with your checked baggage and you wish to report it, then visit the airline’s official website to know the current status of your bag and let them know your issue.

If you’re still at the airport;

  • Then you can also go to the Baggage Service Office near the baggage claim area. There the concerned agent will search for your bag status and give you a file number for further steps.

If you’ve left the airport, then;

  • As per United Airlines baggage policy, for flights within the U.S., and nation’s territories including Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, you should return to the airport or call the Baggage Recovery Center within 24 hours of your arrival.
  • As per United baggage policy. for international flights, you should return to the airport or call the United Airlines Baggage Recovery Center within 7 days of arrival to report damaged bags, or within 21 days to report delayed or lost bags, or missing items.
  • Bags that don’t arrive with you at your destination are considered delayed. Passengers whose bags were delayed somewhere other than where they live may submit a claim for reimbursement of expenses, along with receipts, for the period during which their bags were delayed. 
  • If the bags aren’t found after five days, the customer may also submit a claim for their lost bags. Reimbursed expenses will be deducted from the total compensation paid, if your bags are permanently lost.

It’s possible your United Airlines checked baggage shows signs of wear and tear because of normal handling. The airline is not liable if you have a damaged bag because of:

  • An existing defect with the bag
  • The bag’s poor quality
  • Overpacking the bag
  • Ordinary wear and tear

Prohibited and Restricted Items 

As [per United Airlines baggage policy, Some items that you use daily can be dangerous at a high altitude. Below listed are the guidelines explaining prohibition and restriction on such items as per United Airlines baggage policy: 

Dangerous items we don’t allow on board

Federal laws don’t allow you to pack hazardous materials in your checked or carry-on bags. Some common examples include:

  • Bags that are self-balancing or self-riding
  • Camping equipment that contains fuel
  • Defense sprays like mace, pepper sprays and tear gas
  • Explosives like fireworks, gunpowder, flares, flare guns and novelty items
  • Ready-to-eat meals (MREs) with a flameless heater
  • Shock absorbers
  • Smart bags with non removable batteries
  • Tasers

Restricted items

According to United Airlines baggage policy, personal items such as deodorant, hairspray, nail polish, perfume and certain medicines have some restrictions. If you’re packing them in your carry-on bag, each container should not be more than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters). You should also place them in a clear, quart-sized bag. If you’re packing these items in your checked bag, each container can’t be more than 16 ounces. There’s a limit of 70 ounces total for each traveler. The list of restricted items are:

  • Avalanche packs
  • Batteries
  • Dry ice
  • Dry shippers and liquid nitrogen
  • Firearms
  • Gasoline-powered tools and equipment
  • Household items
  • Recreational self-propelled vehicles, hoverboards and riding suitcases
  • Life jackets
  • Lighters, matches and e-cigarettes
  • Mobility devices
  • Powered air purifying respirators
  • Scuba tanks
  • Smart bags
  • Stun guns


  • How early can I check my luggage, if I am traveling with United Airlines?

    United Airlines allows passengers to check in at least 3-4 hours prior to the scheduled departure of all flights.

  • What is the checked baggage allowance on United Airlines? 

    United Airlines will allow free checked baggage of up to 70 lbs, depending upon cabin class and destinations.

  • What is the United Airlines baggage fee?

    United Airlines charges a baggage fee of USD 25 from Basic Economy ticketed passengers for checked baggage. 

  • What should I do if my baggage is delayed or damaged?

    According to United Airlines baggage policy, if you are at the airport, you can go to the United Airlines baggage counter and report about the issue. If the luggage is delayed or damaged and the airline is responsible, then they will reimburse you.

  • What is United Airlines carry-on baggage policy ?

    United Airlines baggage policy allows you one piece of carry-on bag and one piece of personal item bag, but with exceptions for Basic Economy tickets.

  • Can you check more than two bags in United Airlines?

    United Airlines will allow checked baggage, depending upon your fare type and flight’s destination. 

  • How can I pay the United Airlines baggage fee?

    United Airlines allows you to pay your baggage fee both at the airport counter and online via the official website.

  • Can I carry my pet on the United Airlines flight? 

    Yes, United Airlines only allows household pets dogs and cats in the passenger cabin. The pet must be kept in a pet carrier, under its owner's responsibility. 

  • What is United Airway baggage policy for infants?

    As per United Airlines baggage policy, infants are allowed one piece of diaper bag, breast pump, FAA approved car seat, and a foldable stroller. 

  •  Is United Airlines a good airline? 

    United Airlines is a certified airline and ranked one of top airlines in North America. It promises unmatched reliability and great comfort while traveling, besides ensuring great customer services.

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